3D printing vacuum tube sockets

tubes

With the popularity of 3D printers and the current cult of vacuum tubes, it’s shocking we haven’t seen someone do this before.

[Peter] printed his own sockets for a few vacuum tubes he had lying around. After designing them on his computer, [Peter] printed them out on his local hackerspace’s 3D printer.

After printing out the plastic parts, [Peter] needed to add a few strips of metal for a conductor. He used a few pieces of an ATX power supply; a little difficult to fit, but something that works all the same.

So far, [Peter] has whipped up a few sockets for UX5 and VT76 tubes, UX6, B7G (7 pin mini), and B9D  Magnoval tubes. No Nixie sockets yet, but it’s enough diversity to build your own tube amp using the most common designs. Now if we could only make our own transformers with laser cutters and 3D printers…

20 thoughts on “3D printing vacuum tube sockets

  1. excellent work! The only way to get rare sockets in some cases.

    Only concern is i hope the resin can handle the heat of the tubes without drying and cracking any time on.

    1. No way I’m watching a 1-hour video, just to answer the questions that come to mind. Questions like: how do you vacuum-seal the valves?

      1. Also no way you’re reading the article to find out it’s not a video about sealing valves it’s a video about printing the socket.
        since you no way read articles and no way watch
        They go from start to finish with the design process. and the printing of the socket, and then finishing it up ready for use.

  2. It’s funny, I just got in a 3d printed plug shell for powering my movie camera from Shapeways, then saw this. It amused me.

  3. You’d be better off cutting out sockets from pcb layers with your cnc. Extruded plastic won’t be safe for some tubes.

  4. Why would you print and laser cut your own transformers?? They are pretty straightforward to make and cheap too….. There is some math involved, but there are plenty of tutorials about this on the web.

    1. Also, in these kind of supplies, a little DC-DC converter goes a long way as the high frequency switching allows the use of a MUCH smaller and more efficient transformer with a lot less ripple to filter out than the old school 60 Hz line transformers….. Ferrite cores are cheap and readily available and you can easily pump 1000 watts (well, VA more properly) through a transformer that ways less than a half a pound.

  5. the tubes i’ve worked with so far don’t seem to get hot pins, only the glass seems to heat up, even after several hours of operation at full power

  6. the tubes i’ve worked with so far don’t seem to get hot pins, only the glass seems to heat up, even after several hours of operation at full power

  7. I think he’ll find out that it’s not easy to make reliable socket contacts. They actually need to be designed, made from the right metal, folded carefully…

  8. the material used is pla .. the contact are pretty good at this point … never had a single failure, never had a “meltdown” even with tubes that got pretty hot.

  9. A video over 90 minutes. Clearly this needs to be broken into segments, segments that went through some heavy editing. Place it into watch later, when I can’t find anything else to sit down to watch. As it is I don’t have access to a 3D printer. A tube that requires a hard to source socket isn’t one I’d be using.

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