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My Do-It-Yourself IKEA Pedalboard Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Armchair Bronco, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    Well, after several weeks of hard work, I've finally finished my first pedalboard and I thought it was time to start a build thread to show what I've been up to in my spare time. I decided to base my first DIY pedalboard on the well-known IKEA GORM design (who comes up with these names?). So I headed out to the local IKEA in Renton, WA and paid $4.00 for a GORM shelf and another $4.00 for two side boards. The dimensions of this thing are just slightly larger than a PedalTrain Jr.

    Here's the initial layout I had in mind. I used some paper cutouts for pedals I hadn't bought yet.

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  2. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    A friend of mine at work used his table saw to cut the side boards to size.

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  3. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    I marked the location for some screw holes so I could use the original iron bolts to hold this thing together.

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  5. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    I decided to go with a bright orange spray paint finish for this pedalboard to match it up with my Orange Tiny Terror and my orange-Tolex covered Avatar 1x12 cab. It's an acquired taste, but I like it. I pre-sprayed the areas where the iron bolts would go (along with 4 thick washers) so I could install these pieces when I glued everything together, and then mask off the black bolts when it was time to start painting.

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  6. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    On one of the rare sunny weekend days in Seattle, I managed to spray the top and back of the board before the sky turned black. The semi-circular cutouts you see are for the thin but quarter-shaped round 1/4" connectors I decided to use for cabling. I made three cutouts, with the one at the top extra deep because of the narrower gap at the top of the board

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  7. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    You can see the masked-off bolts in this photo.

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  8. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    Here's my first test fitting after applying the paint. It looks good (and by now, I'm only waiting on my KORG Pitchblack as the BOSS FS-5U has arrived).

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  9. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    Now it started raining and I was unable to finish painting the underside for nearly a week. This left me with a lot of time on my hands. After playing with the pedals on the board, it looked like the bottom board was flexing a little so I decided to add a stabilizing board to the center of the pedalboard. Here I'm attaching the fitted stabilizer to the underside of the board with some Gorilla glue and some giant bolts and a jar of jelly for some weight.

    Adding this stabilizer introduced a major design flaw (Design Flaw #1) into my board. Can you see what the problem is? If not, you'll find out later.

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  10. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    Finally! The sun peaked out long enough one morning (a Tuesday or Wednesday, I think) for me to quickly do the underside. I needed a 30 minute window, and Mother Nature gave me 35 minutes before the rain started up again.

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  11. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    Later that night, I decided to get started putting Velcro on all my pedals. Here I am applying the plasticky/hook side to the bottom of my pedals. But then...I started thinking: "Hummm, should I be using the hook side or the soft/fuzzy side for the pedals?" I started a thread on HCEF and was told that the hook side is the conventional side. But then some folks said that with the soft side, I'd be able to take my pedals off and use them on tables or floors without scratching things up. Also, all my BOSS pedals had really bumpy bottoms and the soft Velcro side seemed like it would fit better.

    So, reluctantly I ripped off all the hook side Velcro from my pedals (Design Flaw #2) and started over.

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  12. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    After that, I put the hook side Velcro on to the board. Even though this is the unconventional way to do it, I was happy that I decided to do things the way I did. Cutting the Velcro was really easy on my rubber cutting board using a metal ruler with both inches and centimeters. I also bought a box of 100 single-edge razors for less than $7.00 and I made sure to use new blades frequently.

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  13. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    After that, it was time for another test fitting. Now at least my pedals can defy gravity if I turn the board upside down!

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  14. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    So: back to Design Flaw #1. Remember those cutouts I made early on? I did this because of the thin but wide format of the connectors I decided to use.

    Here are some close-ups of me showing how to insert a connector through the cutouts.

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  15. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    The flaw was that with the stabilizing board running down the center of the board, I wouldn't be able to get my speaker cables over to the right side of the board! Doohh! What an idiot! So, I had to cut out some squares from the Velcro on the right side, break out my Dremel tool again, and make new cutouts. Then I had to do some touch up repainting and cut out 3 Velcro patches. This set me back a day.

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  16. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    Next it was time to break out the soldering iron and start making cables. I practiced using a scrap piece of 12" cabling; after 45 minutes I figured out the right way to solder the cabling to the thin connectors. I also had to use my hand drill to slightly enlarge the hole for the center cable. Each cable was cut to minimal length and the connectors were attached with the cables making a natural twist relative to the pedals they would be attached to.

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  17. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    After making the cables, it was time to install some rubber feet. I looked high and low for some black rubber feet, but the only ones I could find that were rugged and tall enough were white (and they hung out over the edge a centimeter on each side). Oh well, function over form in this case.

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  18. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    Then, it was time to attach a power strip. I used a combination of Velcro and some plastic tie downs. These fit nicely through the holes on the end piece of wood. I used a 1 Spot 9-volt adapter for every pedal except for my Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man which requires a 24-volt adapter. To make that adapter fit, I had to drive out to Frys in Renton, WA and buy a $3.49 Power Strip Liberator. Finally, I attached the EXH adapter with Velcro and a tie down of its own.

    Then I spent some time carefully folding and tucking all of the loose wires and I secured everything with some black electrical tape.

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  19. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    Yeah! I'm done. Here's a shot of my completed pedalboard in its new home -- in my guitar practice corner just in front of the rosewood liquor cabinet that sits between my SG Classic and my rack of guitars and my Avatar 1x12 and Tiny Terror. I also spared no expense on cabling and made new thicker cables for my guitars and for connecting the pedalboard to the amp. (I was amazed how much better they sounded compared to the Monster cables I was using previously.)

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  20. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Tele-Meister

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    And here's an action shot of me doing my thang with my right foot while playing my Fender Jaguar Classic Player Special HH in the foreground!

    This was a great project that took much longer than it needed to, and on which I spent more than I should have (although I still came in much lower than the $100 cost of a PedalTrain Jr. plus $170 for a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power +). I figure I spent under $100. But I also kept myself out of trouble for a few weeks.

    Next up: I'm planning to build a couple of clone pedals from "General Guitar Gadgets". I'll start things off with a ProCo RAT clone! I figure there's room for at least 3 new pedals on my board!

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  21. laundromatt

    laundromatt TDPRI Member

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    great write-up. i've got a pedaltrain myself (a birthday gift), but i'm sure it'll be helpful to someone else out there.

    looking forward to your clone build. i saw the other thread where you were deciding between GGG and BYOC. i'm interested in seeing how things turn out for you.
     
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