Skill required for a Bottlehead build?
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SRBakker

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Hi all -

I’m toying with buying a Bottlehead kit to play with, specifically a S.E.X., next time they go on sale.

I’ve messed around with some DIY before, but just cables and such. I do not feel that I am particularly great at soldering.

I’m curious what the skill level required would be? Is this something worth trying to learn on, or should I mess with something simpler first?

Thanks in advance!
 
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LarryM

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As long as you're patient and methodical, you'll be OK. I'd recommend studying up on soldering first, however. Check out You Tube videos. Good solder technique is a must.

My first kit was a Bottlehead Foreplay: I took my time on it and it turned out fine. The BH folks claim their kits can be built over the course of a few evenings, but my experience is that it takes longer than that. But it's a pleasant project to spend a week or so of evenings on.
 
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SRBakker

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As long as you're patient and methodical, you'll be OK. I'd recommend studying up on soldering first, however. Check out You Tube videos. Good solder technique is a must.

My first kit was a Bottlehead Foreplay: I took my time on it and it turned out fine. The BH folks claim their kits can be built over the course of a few evenings, but my experience is that it takes longer than that. But it's a pleasant project to spend a week or so of evenings on.
Thanks, that's good to know. I've been working on a keyboard which I think should serve as decent prep. Now, if only Bottlehead would hurry up and have a sale!
 
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HiFan

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Thanks, that's good to know. I've been working on a keyboard which I think should serve as decent prep. Now, if only Bottlehead would hurry up and have a sale!
Dave from EEVblog recently posted videos on soldering skills. His tutorial on this is among the best (in correctness).
 
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carlman14

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I'm a little late here... but I agree with the other comments. As long as you can follow directions and have basic soldering skills, you'll be ok. The manuals they include with kits are VERY detailed, so you just have to be sure to read all of it as you're going along. For reference, I had never done anything like this before, and I finished a crack build in a weekend. The folks on the bottlehead forum are also super helpful and supportive. So if you get stuck, they are always willing to help!

Just wait until you build your first kit... then you'll get sucked into the rabbit hole of mods. It's super fun.
 
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DenverW

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He's right about the mods! I'm doing pretty much all of them and having quite a bit of fun!

I haven't done a SEX kit, but I did a crack. The instructions are excellent, and I only had a few times of getting confused. Most of it was me not understanding the wording of something, such as screwing in a nut on the other sit of the panel. Be very slow and methodical on the instructions. Once I ended up soldering something early, when the manual just said to attach. No biggie, but little mistakes take more time than just being slow and careful. I would mark off each step as I did it. Unit worked on first try. Later I added the speedball upgrade, which initially had a few high voltages but was fixed after I reflowed some solder. The guys on the bottlehead forum are very quick to respond and pretty helpful.

I would say, if you haven't don't anything like this to perhaps do the crack kit first. Its a great test run on soldering, and if you do speedball later it will get you familiar with soldering and putting together PC boards.

Also, make sure you have a few basic tools around, such as wire cutters and stripper, something to do measurements for wire length, needle nose pliers, magnifying glass, permanent black marker, as well as the right type solder and station. I'm happy I did the kit just from what I learned from doing it.
 
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Darkblade48

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I'm also a bit late to responding to this post, but I'm working on a SEX myself, and the instructions are very thorough.

As mentioned, as long as you can do some basic soldering, you will have no problems with the kit. Just take your time and slowly work through it. I'm working on it excruciatingly slowly, as most of the prep work (painting, priming, etc) took several days to get just right.
 
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PointyFox

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The biggest mistake you can make soldering is overheating a part.
 
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