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DIY Pedal Board design

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Okieactor, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    I'm struggling with a few issues as I move towards a pedal board build. I made a prototype, which was too small, too deep, too much slant, took up too much space, etc., etc... I put it in the old SC.

    Starting from scratch. Any opinions on these questions is appreciated.

    1. Slant vs. flat. I want to make pedals accessible, but I also want to be able to store the board under a dresser, which I'm going to raise with 2x4s under the feet. Nifty space to store pedals. I have: Rat, Bad Monkey, DS1, SD-1, Crybaby, Tu-2, and 2 multis, a Digitech RP150 and a Boss ME-50.

    2. Size. How big should I make it?

    3. Layout. I was using graph paper, figuring boss pedals at 5" center to center, etc. Then I was using the Pedaltrain software that let's you lay them out. Is that accurate, dimensions wise?

    4. Design: I originally wanted all the wired, both signal and power to come through holes in the board, so that they would all be right where the pedals would sit. That way if you want to change pedals, you unplug one, and replace it with another. The other route would be to have a maze of cables all over the top of the board, signal and power running wherever they need to. But if you want to have them running underneath, your board has to have space under it for the wires and power adapter.

    5. To include multis or not? I like certain things that are built into the multis. The RP150 has usb out. The ME-50 has compressor/sustainer, different reverbs, tap tempo effects, etc. But they take up space. The ME-50 is like 16"x9", huge.

    Anyway, what are your ideas on board layout and design?
     
  2. Kungpow!

    Kungpow! TDPRI Member

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  3. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

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    I made some risers from 1/2" plywood (5/8" or 3/4" would work better) cut out to the shapes of common pedal boxes, with soft velcro on the bottom and hard velcro on the top. That way I can put any pedal in the back row and have it raised up enough so that I'm not mashing the pedals in the front row when stomping on them. This is more flexible than having a tier because the wah or volume pedal can go anywhere (so long as you drill recesses for the feet on those puppies). If you're starting from scratch you might try 3M Dual Lock instead of velcro. If you've already got a boneyard pile of effects with velcro on them then you're stuck with that stuff.

    As for the size, I've made a few to fit inside of toolboxes which can be used for carry cases with a little foam. there's one of those riser blocks under the Carbon Copy, but the shelf on the left with the Univibe and Phase 90 is set to the height of thetop of the Pedal Power Plus. That shelf sits on hollow threaded rod as spacers (the kind you use for nipples in chandeliers) but you could use Bic pen barrels, too. leaves room for the power supply plugs underneath and uses the top of the PPP as an upper tier.
    [​IMG]
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  5. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    I kind of want to use zip ties, not velcro, which will require drilling, probably.

    Also, I love the cases, but I find them kind of inconvenient when you're using them. I want something that fits on a a plate, flat and stable, and maybe with a hinged box that I can build to make it into a case, but where there are no edges to stick up or get broken if you stomp on the edge instead of the stompbox.

    I like the ikea, but it's not quite what I'm looking to do.
     
  6. mlweidl

    mlweidl Tele-Meister

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    i make all my own boards and what i do is lay out all my pedals on the ground with all the patch cables and everything. Once you have it all set up just on the floor take some measurements and add an extra inch on just to have a little space. My pedal board if 20"x13".

    So after i have all them measurements just grab some ply wood 1/2" thick at the least i just use what ever i can find and cut the back piece about 2.5" inches high(lower if you only have one tier of pedals) then put a .5"x.5" ledger a half inch from the top or so depending on the ply wood thickness so u have something to drill the top piece onto. Then just cut your top piece and throw a line of screws into thte ledger and your done. U and jump on it and it wont break. then i go to home depot and buy some industrial carpet and gorilla glue it one side at a time and staple the bottom on. Then you can drill holes where u need for zip ties or if u wanna go velcro just throw the hook side onto the pedal and throw it straight on to the carpet.

    ill draw a ghetto paint picture just so u get the idea
     

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  7. Jeff_K

    Jeff_K Friend of Leo's

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    Search on "Ikea Gorm" here and see some great boards...and couldn't be much easier. They are cheap, solid, and look great. Heck, the velcro costs more than the board and paint!
     
  8. ibobunot

    ibobunot Poster Extraordinaire

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  9. Beerts

    Beerts Tele-Meister

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    this is how I made mine and it works great
    [​IMG]

    the top tier is at a 10 degree angle and that seems just right to me
     
  10. mlweidl

    mlweidl Tele-Meister

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    +1 way better than my idea
     
  11. johnnylaw

    johnnylaw Tele-Holic

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    Tail Wags Dog:

    I have a cool Anvil briefcase. So, I cut a 1/4" ply into the appropriate size rectangle, glued a 1"x1/2" strip along one long edge. This puts the board at a slight angle, and provides room beneath for subterranean daisy chain power cable runs. The patch cables meander among the pedals on top of the board. I drilled holes through the ply to route zip ties which secure all pedals except the tuner which I sometimes pull when travelin' light.

    This entire rig sets into the Anvil briefcase. I put a couple of nice cabinet pulls on the board to facilitate extraction, and a sheet of foam inside the briefcase so the hardware is buffered.

    This functional little powerhouse contains a volume pedal, tuner, compressor, hot boost, overdrive, and delay. There's just enough room left over for a Malekko Chicklet. Gots me to thinkin'...
     
  12. ce24

    ce24 Friend of Leo's

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    Aluminum cases from RONDO work absolutesl great and they are on about 30.00

    Cheers
    ce24
     
  13. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    Got it built. MOstly. Pics coming soon.

    Built it flat. If I have problems accessing the 2nd row I can add a level later.

    One thing that looks sweet that most people don't build into their plywood boards is an aluminum edge. I don't know what it's called, but it comes in strips and is a 90 degree lip that you cut with 45 degree angles on all the ends so it goes all the way around. It looks sweet, very professional.

    +1 on laying out pedals on the floor and measuring from there. I tried using graph paper and drawing it out based upon measurements, but it's not the same. You need to know where jacks come out of specific pedals, like the Bad Monkey's jack is at a slightly lower place, and further forward than Bosses, so the gap between pedals can vary a little.

    +1 about Beerts' board. Looks very good and clean as well.

    +1 on the pedal board planner, except for a couple things. It doesn't give you a true layout. Some of the pedals are def not to correct scale and it doesn't account for realistic cable paths, no way of telling exactly how close you can get pedals to each other. Still a lot of fun, I have a mock-up of my final design that I duplicated on this thing, but I had to import it into paint and add my multis, which it didn't have. I'll post that next to the real deal when the real deal is done.
     
  14. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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  15. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    [​IMG]

    Sorry, once again for my crappy webcam. I built this in 3 nights. Paint one night, handles and feet and cut the aluminum on night two. 3rd night I got the right screws I needed. Total parts cost was about $50 with paint and zip ties and everything.

    Haven't zip tied it all down yet because I want to play with layout before I drill holes. I also have white spray paint and stencils for the underside. Not sure what to write yet. The cables are an unholy mess, but I'll get it straightened out eventually.

    For those of you who might actually care (and I pitty you, but...), it's a Rat, a Boss ME-50, a Digitech RP150, the lead channel/reverb footswitch to my CLassic 50, Modded DS-1, Bad Monkey, SD-1 (not YET modded), Crybaby, and TU-2).
     
  16. hou35male

    hou35male Tele-Meister

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    Where did you get the aluminum for the trim?

    RJ
     
  17. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not a pro, so ignore all my opinions!

    1. Slant vs. flat.

    Doesn't matter. You can always raise the back of the board, you don't need to buy one tilted.

    2. Size. How big should I make it?

    Enough for everything you have plus a few more that you might get. If it's getting too big, you can always have two smaller boards that you can connect.

    3. Layout.

    I have no idea. Why wouldn't it be?

    4. Design:

    I have a maze of cables all over the top of the board. No one's ever complained.

    5. To include multis or not?

    I don't believe in multis. Too much complication. I like to think about notes, not gear settings.

    Now let's hear from more folks who know what they're talking about!
     
  18. forgivenick

    forgivenick Tele-Meister

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  19. rcole_sooner

    rcole_sooner Poster Extraordinaire

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  20. forgivenick

    forgivenick Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. Still looking for a good keyboard case, but it seems most good cases run as much as a pt-pro with a soft case or more. Might be having to make something again!

    On another note, the construction seems pretty durable. I tested it last night when my strap came off my lp. Ten pounds of mahogany right on the corner of the red pedalboard. Needless to say, the lp took the brunt of the collision, mostly on the binding. No controls, tuners, nor neck were damaged afaict. The pedalboard barely has a scratch on it.

    BUY STRAPLOCKS IF YOU DON'T HAVE THEM ALREADY! I wish I would have for this lp. My other guitar has them and I take it for granted everyday.
     
  21. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Several years back, I found myself working regularly with three vastly different projects that called for dedicated boards/signal chains for each.

    I bought a bunch of posterboard, and started by cutting mock boards in 5-6 different sizes that I felt I could live with. I then cut models at actual size of all the peds in question (not three dimensional of course, but pertinent 'bird's eye' POV dimensions) and included within the cutouts accommodations for George L's right angle plugs, as well as the power jack plug. I labeled them "BOSS" or "Klon" or "Hammond/Voodoo Lab-sized box with side-mounted jacks" or "Hammond/Voodoo Lab-sized box with rear-mounted jacks", or whatever. Because there were lots of optional overlaps as to potential tandems, I cut duplicates of the more esoteric peds, and several templates of the generic boxes.

    This allowed me to very quickly lay out any combination that seemed appealing, make some assessments, do some trial and error sonically with the various circuits (the real stomps - dimensions notwithstanding), and go back and forth before committing to the actual board sizes and layouts. At the time, the flexibilty of the quick study was a big deal regarding time frame. I needed to put the boards together for the projects in fairly short order, and wanted to nip the overwhelming nature of option anxiety in the bud straight out of the gate. This approach saved me the trouble of ripping peds up from existing boards until I was more locked in with what I wished to accomplish, from both sonic and logistical angles. For the sonic trial and error tests with different stomps, I just used longer patch cables if they were on different boards.
     
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