My thoughts on building effects


Poster Extraordinaire
May 5, 2015
This is my breadboard setup. It's not as cool as a Beavis Board but it seems to work for the time being. (I really want the PedalPCB's Protoboard, but I'm afraid I'd spend $80 building it out and not use it more than a couple times a year). This is what I use if I absolutely have to breadboard something. I also have another angle iron attachment that includes more drilled holes for switches and input jacks. I wish I'd used a scrap of wood that was wider.


One thing that makes breadboarding tedious and not very fun is building the power section of a circuit, which you really have to do before you can get onto the fun part of monkeying with the signal path of your idea. Typically, any pedal I'd work on or be interested in needs 9v, 0v and 4.5v reference. The power rails pretty much all look very similar to this:

So this weekend I took a little project board and built a permanent power filtering section to attach to my breadboard. I got the project from


The nice thing about that is that if I want to test a circuit mod, I can dive into the fun stuff. Also, it frees up about half a dozen components from the breadboard. In the example pictured there you can count how many breadboard sections are normally eaten up by just six components. Maybe this will make me breadboard more often. Who knows.


Poster Extraordinaire
Aug 18, 2015
aren't the copper-less ones just for wire wrap and not soldering? that would give me the heebie jeebies of stuff just floating around if you're soldering.

what i do with the copper perfboards is first lay the circuit out in KiCad on a 100 mil grid (the spacing of the perfboard), or get someone's perf layout with spaced traces. then i tape the printed out board to the perf, all lined up. then i cut the traces on the paper out with a razor blade, and mark them on the actual board with sharpie (i guess you could use something a little less toxic than a sharpie for marking the traces, haha). then when it's time to put the components in, i don't cut the component legs, i use the legs as "traces" of the board that i routed, tacking them down at various points.

kind of like this:


it all takes a little longer, but it has a few benefits: a) the circuit probably won't fall apart, because the legs are still holding everything and tacked to various points even if other points lift, b) i can actually use designators and know where everything is on the board for troubleshooting, and c) if i really like the circuit, i can just send the gerbers of the board to china and have a real board - especially cause i lay them out with 9mm board mounted pots so they're just drop in/secured to chassis at the final assembly.
No, on the blank ones I just twist the wires and solder them together.

The copper ones are more work, but I'd be worried about the wires touching the metal and making intermittent noise how you did it, although in practice I'm sure it's much less of an issue. I also wouldn't bother to make PC boards out of something unless I wanted many examples.


Jan 20, 2010
I really to build some kind of Beavis board setup. I have jacks hanging off the breadboard and the pots with pcb legs sticking in it that I carry from my bench to the living room where my amp is. Having a panel with pots and jacks on it, along with a bypass switch, would make things so much more convenient.


Nov 17, 2013
Northest Yorkshire
I still have a few copperless perf boards kicking about, but have used the coppered ones for the last couple of things I've made, holds the components in nicely.
I've used a wire wrapping tool to join the circuit up, looks a little ugly but works well once you get the hang of it.
I make less things now, as despite having about three pairs of glasses to hand, a jewellers loupe, and one of those big magnifying glasses on a stalk, I still have trouble seeing what I'm doing! 🥸

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