DIY or purchased effect pedal cases

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by steve42, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. steve42


    Jan 24, 2013
    I am not a big pedal user for my bass (just a tuning pedal and a multi-effect), but the guitarist in our group at church has a fair collection. He has been talking about building an effects board, but he thinks he will have to build the case as well. I would like to think he could use a commercially available case.

    I have looked at the cases on Rondo Music and some of the Pedaltrain cases, and I see pros and cons for several styles. What he wants to do is have a "ramp-style" pedal board that is hinged near the top so he can store his instrument cables under it, and then a power strip section at the front.

    I notice some players use the breakaway hinge cases so they can just set them down, open them, and set the lid aside. Others use a more conventional case and just lift the board out of it to play.

    I was thinking that a tool case like Harbor Freight sells would work for a lift out style, but I wonder if any of you (or your bandmates) have ever used a standard case inverted (placed lid-side-down) on the stage) and changed the hinges to breakaway style. I would think if they were the right size, that would not be difficult after drilling out the rivets.

    I haven't seen anyone in threads that actually saved any money building a case over the prices of the commercially available cases, though they might have wound up with a sturdier final product.

    My friend will not be traveling with it. He usually leaves the pedals on the stage, but because the church is also a school, there are times when we have to "load out" so the students can use the stage and it takes him a while to unhook and move everything. With a case, he might actually take them home because they would be easier to carry.

    Any hints would be appreciated.

  2. bassmusic17


    Jan 15, 2011
    I use an old suitcase I got at the thrift store for 3 bucks. It works great. I could probably easily convert it to a hinge case but I made a custom pedal train I take in and out that fits my power supply underneath as well as my cables just fine. If you are gonna build one just think outside the box a little bit. I have seen some pretty creative stuff around here.
  3. DagoMaino


    Feb 1, 2013
    I built my last case DIY, (for my XL board 32"x15"x9"), and building something that can manage the weight of the board and is weight conscious and allows for the dimensions I needed... it was more of a challenge than I thought when I started... My next revision will likely be building it more modular-minded into cases about the size of the harbor freight... So I think you are likely on to something. 13" deep will be good for wah enclosures, 6" high should allow for a little ramping, padding, and cable storage...
  4. negativefx

    negativefx complete hack

    Feb 18, 2013
    Fort Collins
    I used an aluminum case not intended for pedals before and found the quality to be not-so-hot. The aluminum was really thin and dented easily. The lid hinges allowed for it to be easily detached so I mounted my board to the lid. The hinges went to sh*t after only a few weeks and the case was so banged up that I just tossed it in the trash. $80 wasted. My current board is 26x18 so the harborfreight boxes wouldn't work but they do look to be a bit better quality (harbor freight? quality?) than the one I had.

    Old school hardshell suitcases work great and can be found for quite cheap at thrift shops.
  5. hennessybass

    hennessybass Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2008
    North East Texas
    I have used one of those cases from Harbor Freight for a lift out type board. The Pedaltrain mini fits in there perfect, and leave about half the space for cables and such. But that's a pretty small board - only holds about 4 pedals.

    Since you guy doesn't have to travel with the board and only moves it occasionally, I would get a Pedaltrain board and a soft case for it.

    My feeling on DIY stuff is that if you are DIY person, and have all the tools, know how, and some of the materials, then that's a good approach. Starting something from scratch usual will end up being more expensive, or a wash after you factor in tools and such you might have to buy.
  6. steve42


    Jan 24, 2013
    Yeah, the reason I was thinking about that HF case is that it is 18" wide, so if it could be inverted and adapted with breakaways, then I could make the wedge 13" wide and place a Crybaby to the right side (off the wedge but inside the case).

    I'm also thinking that I might mount 1/4" jacks into the edge of the case section so I could just insert the amp and instrument cables into them and be ready to play. If you were concerned about dust getting in them, they sell 1/4" dummy plugs that can be inserted during travel/storage.