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Old October 23rd, 2012, 02:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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DIY board material

What do you guys use? I was thinking about finding some formica scraps from a counter top manufacturer or something. Reading it some people warn that they might take on too much humidity. Does anyone have any actual experience with it? I like the idea of getting some nice looking boards out of that material ie: marble, granite, wood looking top. Or do I just buck up and pay for a big sheet of garolite g10 fr4 that I will probably not make my way through in a life time?

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Old October 23rd, 2012, 02:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think the only requirement needed is
a rigid material, that is non-conductive, can be
drilled and hold onto turrets or eyelets.

I bought a "lifetime supply" of garolite a couple years ago.
I am now on my second "lifetime" supply.

garolite is good for making vintage type pickguards too.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 04:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I guess I was mainly worried about it keeping up to the heat in the chassis, and humidity problems as I live on the west coast. I have no problem with garolite, but was excited about the looks of some if the countertop material.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 05:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What do you guys use? I was thinking about finding some formica scraps from a counter top manufacturer or something. Reading it some people warn that they might take on too much humidity. Does anyone have any actual experience with it? I like the idea of getting some nice looking boards out of that material ie: marble, granite, wood looking top. Or do I just buck up and pay for a big sheet of garolite g10 fr4 that I will probably not make my way through in a life time?
Formica. Countertop material. How well would it hold up if it absorbed moisture? It doesn't absorb moisture. Hammond used to make organ circuit boards out of Formica. It says "Formica" right on them.

You're probably thinkin' Forbon. That's that black paper stuff Fender used. I use it. Good enough for Leo... good enough for me!

Mojo sells Forbon scraps by the pound. I think it's $14.00 for a pound. I don't know if I'd want to pay $14.00 shipping on top of that but if you're ordering other stuff from Mojo grab a bundle.

Garolite: It's fiberglass. Glass tends to eat up tooling. Probably not a big deal if you're only makin' a board or two. I kinda cringe at the thought of shovin' that stuff through my nice sharp saw blades.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 06:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would go with a more tougher material of I were making an amp I was making a living with, but for home countertop is just fine.


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Old October 23rd, 2012, 07:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I was considering gluing two pieces of formica together. Should be pretty tough, I think... we'll see! I'm going for it.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 07:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I epoxied two together, would be fine but it was too thick for my eyelets.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 08:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I would go with a more tougher material of I were making an amp I was making a living with, but for home countertop is just fine.
It's tougher than your typical phenolic circuit board material and as scrap it's free.

You have to bend it pretty far to break it. I always consider whackability and a design paramater. Formica has acceptable whackability.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 08:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i was planning on using 3mm turrets. think those would work? I don't have the scrap in front of me yet to tell how thick the stuff is.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 09:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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3mm = aprox 1/8 of an inch. Typical formica is less than 1/16 of an inch. 2mm turrets would work better.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 09:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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1/8" eyelets work great with Formica.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 09:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Now for cheap eyelets.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 09:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Now for cheap eyelets.
Remember, anything that is associated with building guitars or amps is traditionally more expensive. 1/8 inch copper eyelets for building turret boards are more expensive than 1/8 inch copper eyelets for scrapbooking.

be careful of the eyelet material. many eyelets are labeled brass or copper but are really anodized aluminum. solder does not stick to these.

I bought a few hundred from this place
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Old October 24th, 2012, 10:05 AM   #14 (permalink)
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As long as you have enough standoffs strategically placed about the length and width of the board, there's no need to worry about the material being super stiff of ultra-rigid. The chassis it's bolted to provides that stability. And as long as your eyelets are securely staked in place, it shouldn't be a problem.

But...A word to the wise: It is possible to burn formica, so if you're planning on doing even a moderate amount of modding, do yourself a favor and use proper glass epoxy board material and eyelets/turrets. It's a real bummer to wire everything up and have a problem later with the board. Don't ask me how I know! A 12"x3.5" piece from Hoffman is about $7.50, which in the whole scheme of things is pretty cheap. To me, it's better to have the heart of the thing be mechanically and electrically up to the task. A supply of Garolite from McMaster-Carr is a great way to go as well if you like to buy in bulk. You can buy it in cool colors and cut it to any shape you want.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 03:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I think plastic laminate makes great pedal boards. I have made a few out of them. Some with vertical grade plastic laminate and some with horizontal grade (which is the thicker, more durable). I have even used lower grade melamine.

I would not worry too much about heat. Delamination will be the biggest problem if liquid finds it's way through the edgebanding (if that's what you use). I prefer laminate sufaces with a 1mm PVC edge to match.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 06:32 PM   #16 (permalink)
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As long as you have enough standoffs strategically placed about the length and width of the board, there's no need to worry about the material being super stiff of ultra-rigid. The chassis it's bolted to provides that stability. And as long as your eyelets are securely staked in place, it shouldn't be a problem.

But...A word to the wise: It is possible to burn formica, so if you're planning on doing even a moderate amount of modding, do yourself a favor and use proper glass epoxy board material and eyelets/turrets. It's a real bummer to wire everything up and have a problem later with the board. Don't ask me how I know! A 12"x3.5" piece from Hoffman is about $7.50, which in the whole scheme of things is pretty cheap. To me, it's better to have the heart of the thing be mechanically and electrically up to the task. A supply of Garolite from McMaster-Carr is a great way to go as well if you like to buy in bulk. You can buy it in cool colors and cut it to any shape you want.
The material costs are reasonable, it is the shipping that kills it if you live outside the USA.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Yes shipping to Canada. I am already going to be ordering parts and pieces from cedist and speakers and trannies from weber. Was trying to stay away from Hoffman(a 3rd) on this one! I don't like the boards offered by either place I am ordering from so I thought I would make my own. I have bought garolite from Hoffman before and it was awesome.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 03:00 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Hey Guitjo,

Since you're ordering from CEDIST anyway, why not try their stuff.

http://www.cedist.com/products/P-HFIBER-A

http://www.cedist.com/products/S-HEYE-A

These are what I used in my Harvard build and I was happy with it. Don't know how much that would affect your shipping costs.

I'm curious to see how much lees they charge for wholesale. I have to buy retail through their Antique Electronic Supply site.

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Old October 26th, 2012, 04:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Because I'm kinda picky I guess. I just don't really like fiberboard/eyelets, and I'm not a fan of their swiss cheese turret boards with all the holes in them. I DO like the hoffman garolite boards that you can drill yourself, but I'm not ordering from them. I did get some fomica scraps today and I'm gonna do a mockup and get it nice and hot and see if everything is ok with it. The thing about the formica that I like is that I could get some nice looking marble/granite/wood or something stuff.

I cut some small pieces and contact cemented them together and will drill and install some turrets tonight, or soon. Then I'll let my iron sit on that turret for a while and see how long it is on there before I have issues.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 04:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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on most things that I've bought it is a very marginal discount. If you were building mega units it would make a huge difference. For the odd one off it doesn't make that big of a difference. I just contacted them, said that I made amps and sold them off and did some repairs and said it would really help me out. :0 They gave me the discount. But yeah, doesn't make that big of difference for me.
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