building a big "dummy box" W.I.P.

dawson

Well-known member
Hello.
When I posted a build report on my PPCB Deflector build, I got a lot of questions about my pedalboard/box pictured below:
6XIhhbS.jpg

XnnCEEd.jpg

Anyhow, this build^ is a working prototype, but it has a couple super lame flaws that I'm going to solve with my next build. Since there was some interest in this Euro-rack-inspired build style I've been working on, and since documenting my progress makes me work harder, this thread is going to follow how my current build is going.

Before we get too far with the project at hand, let's take a look at how I've been building these things a little differently. Here's what one of my effects looks like all by itself:
dHkQn5L.jpg

My face-plates are originally 125B "bottom plates" sold separately from their enclosures at a low, low price, that way, if a build isn't nested in one of my large wooden boxes, I can still use it alone by plugging it into one of these universal "dummy boxes." When they ARE being used in a larger box, they can plug straight into each-other's miniature connectors, cutting out 1/4" patch cables and opening up all sorts of possibilities- one of which is illustrated by this here pick-holding-triple-order-switcher:
WZYKlrz.jpg

The pick-holding-triple-order-switcher is very cool to have included but it adds a lot more planning to the signal chain.. also, there's a little splitter that spits the signal out of an AUX jack from anywhere in the chain- and over to the right are the "patch cables" I made to span long distances inside the box. Here's my sketch for a signal chain including the order switcher:
6IlVatX.jpg


So, back to the current project- I started out by taking the measurements from the first^ project and made this 2D plan in Photoshop. It started out as just the "top" view but by the end of designing it looks like this: (sorry for lo-res)
7Dk49V7.jpg

After I figured out all of my measurements, it was time to set up the chop saw and brand new (used) router table. I wish I would've started taking pictures earlier, but really, all you're missing out on before here were a bunch of pine rectangles.. Anyhow, here are all of my main pieces just about ready to glue:
hSHwwSu.jpg

As you can see, my main upgrade from the prototype is a steel bottom that will be removeable instead of fixed- this way, I can screw all of my pedals in place without worrying about wires, then remove the bottom and wire everything up..seems obvious but I wanted the prototype to be sturdy, so before realizing how unnecessarily fiddley and potentially damaging to the circuits the fixed bottom was going to be, I built it sturdy. *I also hadn't found the metal scrapyard yet, during the time of the prototype build.

I'm using the same in/out/aux jack from the prototype:
POT6KM9.jpg

All powered by a 1-Spot Pro switching power supply which I'm very excited about. Bracket thanks to calipers, Fusion 360, and my trusty old Robo 3D printer:
b9oQXFy.jpg

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This power supply will most-likely need to move between different sizes of boxes from time to time so I figured it worth the PLA to design and print a router template for the power jack hole.^

Right now, this very moment, the angle for the volume pedal is gluing up so I've got time to write all of this up:
Cod5E0b.jpg

Thanks for reading!
 
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BuddytheReow

Breadboard Baker
Dude, that's pretty awesome! I'm starting to get back into woodworking myself. I replaced all the baseboards in my house about a year ago, so now the wife wants me to make shelves, TV stand, etc.

Those pedals are a tight fit! I'm assuming all the jacks are top mounted. How easy is it to swap one out?
 

dawson

Well-known member
Dude, that's pretty awesome! I'm starting to get back into woodworking myself. I replaced all the baseboards in my house about a year ago, so now the wife wants me to make shelves, TV stand, etc.

Those pedals are a tight fit! I'm assuming all the jacks are top mounted. How easy is it to swap one out?
Thanks for your interest! I've added more about the circuits themselves to the original post.^
I'm now remembering there's even more to add but I'll get more pictures of those missed details during the final assembly.
 

fig

Well-known member
Great Googly-Moogly that is incredible! Well done!

A few months from now, I'll be in Japan or some other hole in the wall backstage, waiting for the warmup band to finally finish, when one of their crew turns to me and says "Hey mate, have you seen the new Dawson RackBoards?"

Love it!
 

fig

Well-known member
If you think the above is a joke, think again!

I just received an email from the Fart Pedal dude. He's going for $200K! He reached his initial goal within 3 days......for a fart pedal.....am I coming in clear? I said..
 

dawson

Well-known member
Super excited to follow along with you and think this is just too cool. Do you mind going over the order switcher part?
Thanks, Double "F!" So, the order switchers do as they're called- with the flip of a switch, I can do the same as if I unplugged a pedal or group of pedals, then plugged them back in, but in a different location in the signal chain, thus instantly altering my pedal order. I say "instantly.." the flip of the switch is "instant," but as you see with my wiring diagram, the planning takes much more time- I believe the wiring diagram above was the fourth draft and it took me around an hour to fiddle myself there, maybe more.
I hope that made sense?

Great Googly-Moogly that is incredible! Well done!

A few months from now, I'll be in Japan or some other hole in the wall backstage, waiting for the warmup band to finally finish, when one of their crew turns to me and says "Hey mate, have you seen the new Dawson RackBoards?"

Love it!
Ha! That's a fun thought.
When certain types of people see my prototype, they immediately ask how much somebody would have to pay for one, then I have to explain to them that in order to use a set-up like this, a guitarist would have to completely commit to effects made by me that fit under my plates, not to mention the long, long wait times of obligatory procrastination needed to authentically create one of my circuits and high, high prices of American labor. I'm really not sure if I'd have any takers- heck, I had to sit with the idea for the better part of a year before I was ready to set aside my factory-made pedals and commit to developing this thing and I'm still not certain it's a great idea. Regardless though, your support is greatly appreciated, and if an opportunity appears to build circuits and racks for a living, that's the day I'll put in my 2-week notice at the ol' die casting foundry.

"Dawson RackBoards"
I've got a "name" I've been developing for this build style- think I'll unveil it when I get the logo finalized and cut out a stencil.
 

dawson

Well-known member
If you think the above is a joke, think again!

I just received an email from the Fart Pedal dude. He's going for $200K! He reached his initial goal within 3 days......for a fart pedal.....am I coming in clear? I said..
Fu- d- Do you really think? I've toyed with the idea of sending pictures of this new box to a couple pedal companies to see if they might want me as an entry level assembly guy but I never considered much more than that.

This is inspired stuff to be sure. Thanks for sharing and great work.
Thanks for reading!
Sharing with you all and getting feedback really fuels the progress on big projects like this.
 

fig

Well-known member
Fu- d- Do you really think? I've toyed with the idea of sending pictures of this new box to a couple pedal companies to see if they might want me as an entry level assembly guy but I never considered much more than that.

You will never know unless you pursue it. You will wonder if you do not.

 

mitch

New member
@dawson So many awesome ideas combined here - I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more! As somebody who likes to mess around with pedal order, this looks like a dream come true.

I've been toying with the idea of making some sort of order switcher to mount on/under my board (for moving delay/reverbs before/after dirt, etc.) but despite ~25ish successful builds, I'm still very much in the "paint-by-numbers" stage and haven't tried to figure out how to do it. Looks like you've pretty much nailed what I was envisioning - especially with the added off-board "audition" slot. Could you share some more info about it?
 

dawson

Well-known member
@dawson So many awesome ideas combined here - I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more! As somebody who likes to mess around with pedal order, this looks like a dream come true.

I've been toying with the idea of making some sort of order switcher to mount on/under my board (for moving delay/reverbs before/after dirt, etc.) but despite ~25ish successful builds, I'm still very much in the "paint-by-numbers" stage and haven't tried to figure out how to do it. Looks like you've pretty much nailed what I was envisioning - especially with the added off-board "audition" slot. Could you share some more info about it?
Ah gee, I think we just had an idea for a switching pedal that may not quite exist yet- neat!

Not sure if you're asking for more info about the order switch or the auxiliary out or both, but if you want to build a box that handles the in & out for your pedal board and also can switch your reverb and drives back and forth *in the very beginning of your signal chain, that's totally do-able. It'll take a 3PDT- I like to wire my own because they look cool but PPCB sells a little cheater board:
c6POZTa.jpg

The auxiliary jack isn't actually an audition slot- right now I've got a little signal splitter that takes my clean signal (or my signal from any other point in the chain), duplicates it, sends one signal through my signal chain like normal and spits the other signal out of the auxiliary jack. This gives me a wet/dry/stereo thing and eventually, I plan on building another box that revolves around an EHX Super Ego Synth Engine that I'm re-housing under a plate. The synth engine will take the dry clean signal and sustain it indefinitely through a ton of modulation effects which may or may not split into stereo again for a total of 3 different amps all going at once..but that's later on!

I'm going to go draw up that switching pedal you made me think of..
 

dawson

Well-known member
A couple more glue-ups, final sanding, stencil logo, copper foil outside of inner walls, boiled linseed oil exposed wood, then I get to put some effects in it and wire it up!
emmx7GD.jpg

These four black 3D printed rectangles you see here are what I call "sleds." The sleds will be screwed together with the sleds on their left & right then fastened to the wooden frame with thumb tacks. I know what you're thinking: "Thumb tacks? Is that really the best you can think of, Dawson?" Yes, yes it is- if Fig's prophesy comes true, I'm sure I could figure out something better for a production model, but for DIY, I'm plenty confident that the tacky tacks are just fine (no pun intended.) I've even held the fully-loaded prototype upside down and shook it a bit and nothing moved.

More on sleds and tacks later.
 
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Feral Feline

Well-known member
... and I'm still not certain it's a great idea. ...

It's a SUPERB idea!

I liked the prototype, love this next level. Thanks for sharing all the details; I was thinking when I saw the prototype before that it'd be fun to copycat a small fly-date board for myself (not that I've ever flown to a gig, but just for fun). I've got a Super Ego and want to do something similar with it as well... There's just so many great ideas that can be borrowed/stolen/adapted/integrated into other setups, too.

I like your quality-control inspector, who seems very studious, diligent and thus should help you avoid any build-catastrophe.



I look forward to the unveiling of the name you've given this.
 

dawson

Well-known member
It's a SUPERB idea!

I liked the prototype, love this next level. Thanks for sharing all the details; I was thinking when I saw the prototype before that it'd be fun to copycat a small fly-date board for myself (not that I've ever flown to a gig, but just for fun). I've got a Super Ego and want to do something similar with it as well... There's just so many great ideas that can be borrowed/stolen/adapted/integrated into other setups, too.

I like your quality-control inspector, who seems very studious, diligent and thus should help you avoid any build-catastrophe.



I look forward to the unveiling of the name you've given this.
Hey, it's the other Double "F" -thanks for stopping by!
There are at-least two other builders I've seen on another forum doing similar modular-style builds, though each of us have developed vastly different solutions to the problems presented by straying from the guitar pedal industry standard. Join the modular club!

How about that Super Ego? Isn't that about the best thing since..the electric guitar? I absolutely love mine but feel like I need to build it its' own personal pedal board to do it justice like I mentioned earlier. Opened it up to see if it might be an FV-1 project eventually but there's a chip in there that looks like a miniature damn CPU..oh well.

Thank you for recognizing the hard work of our quality inspector, Toots. We've got a great team here but Toots really goes above and beyond with her work on a daily basis and we're very fortunate to have her. This morning's board meeting:
m9JsjJ1.jpg
 

dawson

Well-known member
Alright- It's all sanded nice and ready for foil then boiled linseed oil. I thing I'm going to etch a plate for the emblem later- seems more congruent with the other design elements plus I'll get to skip it for now and be closer to testing!
jdrmAbi.jpg

I'm all set up to finish up in my living room with "the Hobbit" movies on- I can look up from time to time and see the cool sets and costumes and effects, but I don't really need to concentrate on it since I've read the book.
 

dawson

Well-known member
Foiled (mostly) waiting on another roll of copper to finish up:
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And oiled- I think I'm going to need another coat or two to darken the wood a bit more:
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Really wishing I would've tried a bit harder to match the grain of these pine boards, or maybe even splurge on some hardwood, but wood's not as easy to come by right now as it has in the past so I've been using what I have.

I think I'll have some sound coming out of this thing by the end of the day!
 

dawson

Well-known member
Well, Fig, I fell asleep on Saturday before I got to put the effects in the box, then on Sunday, I was in a huge rush to get everything connected before 10am band practice, all the while my camera-aka "phone" was nowhere to be found. All that to say: sadly, I didn't get to take pictures during the virgin assembly for you all..nor did I finish wiring it up before band practice-my buddies got to watch me scramble the last bits together while they had an extra-long warm-up. However, I got another roll of copper in the mail, so that plus your interest is enough reason to unscrew everything and get back in there again.

More pictures incoming!
 

fig

Well-known member
Hey, maybe you'll find your phone inside! I've enjoyed both yours and Big Monk's processes. Each a unique direction.

Nothing like a nap though. Unless you're on a gig I suppose. Not so bad if it's the drummer maybe...:sleep:
 
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