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My DIY Pedalboard

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GMC, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    After acquiring a Boss ES-5 over Christmas, I couldn't get it all to fit in my cleared out Boss BCB60 pedal board. I had said to myself that the Boss was as big as I wanted and I'd never expand beyond that point...until I saw what ProtonLenny was doing with his Boss ES-8 and I really needed to get into the Midi switching game. I chose an ES-5 because there's a load shifting on ebay since the MS-3 came out, guitarists down sizing their board and looking for the keen price on their old ES-5's. As much as I like the ES-8...it's a bit too big for my needs and the ES-5 is a lot trimmer.

    So I started to sketch and re-sketch and then re-sketch, until I came up with this idea. A dual level, dual height board based around a 18x16" format. I made a cut out for my expression pedal and it allows me a little room for expansion too. At some point later in the year I hope to add a Hog 2 and a second H9 and there's a ton of room under the shelf.

    So here's the basic carcass made from 19mm Birch ply. It took me about a day to draw out the design from plan, cut the main boards, rout the joints, glue and assemble.
    Then it took a further day to cut out the top tier board, work out and rout out the various wire holes and sand it down.
    The pedals fit really well and I'm liking the new layout a lot. I've not quite finished wiring all the pedals yet. I've been using Evidence Audio SIS solderless for a few years now and they are mostly great...but they do come loose over time. So I've been mightily impressed by the new Warwick Rockboard flat cables...really nice and available in a lot of different lengths. So I'm migrating over to them. They also have the slim-est angled midi I've ever seen.

    I'm still waiting for the ball catches, hinges and a handle to arrive, so there's still a bit of assembly required. The hardware parts that I've ordered are hugely influenced by Schmitt boards.

    I also need to work out what finish to apply. Maybe leave it au-naturel. Or maybe some wipe on poly. I'm not sure yet. Any ideas?
    wncBass, mdalamond, Annette and 24 others like this.
  2. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Old board for reference:
    Nov 2017-010.jpg
    If I put an ES-5 in there...I'd loose most of the bottom row of analogue effects...so a 2nd tier was the obvious choice. which would also allow me to change the format a bit more. Adopting a three row approach would allow me a 18x16 format and then going 2 tiers allows me lots of expansion room...keeps my cables tidy and keeps my service items like power and hubs out of eye sight.
  3. saltydude


    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    Cool man. Definitely different and some good thought and work went into it. I’d say black but that would take away from all the nice wood work. Hope it’s easy to transport when it’s done. That would be my only concern. That and dinging up the wood in general.
    GMC likes this.
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Baltic birch is a great material, but it is a little stark to me if left natural.

    I would go with a stain or dye that is darker. Then definitely a poly or epoxy to protect it from wear and tear.
    Admiral Akbar and GMC like this.
  5. Really cool board, I like that size. Will you be adding the AdrenaLinnIII with the added control of the ES5?
    GMC likes this.
  6. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Yes that's the plan, but i'm having some real head aches getting the Adrenalinn III to beat sync with anything else. So I've parked the issue for the moment, I think I might get a midi thru box so I can stop it broadcasting it's own spurious tap tempos. There's room on the lower tier for a Hog2 (later in the year) and Adrenalinn III, along with the Source Audio hub and power....maybe a SA Manta at some point too.
    I've just got my head around the Source Audio hub and the Aftershock. It took me well over two hours to get this thing to play nicely with the other Midi pedals and work right with the ES-5. So now I have 10 dirt models and my expression pedal is sending Midi CC via the ES-5 to perform volume swells on my dirt patches. The latter stuff was a lot easier than just trying to get the hub and Aftershock to work with the ES-5 over Midi....but it's all working now :D
  7. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    My old CDT tutor at school said that every mature craft usually needs 3 design passes. 1st pass is the paper design stage. 2nd pass is the actual build with slight tweeking due to the naivety of the paper design. Then the re-work / rebuild after using the thing for a few weeks.
    So here's my revision 2. It looks similar in the photos but there was a lot of man hours involved. I've also fitted ball join snaps and spring loaded hinges for the top tier board.
    I'm loving the new Warwick flat cables, I just need three more 60cm leads and I can open the top tier fully and unrestricted. Their new flat midi cables are a work of art...except they aren't adjustable to their left / right direction...so I need to buy a 4 port midi through box and some solder-able midi plugs to modify them better. But easily the lowest protrusion midi leads yet, which is needed for multiple H9's.
    More photos to follow.
  8. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Here's a few more photos:
    Here's a shot of the sprung hinges I've used, bought on Ebay very reasonably and took a few weeks to arrive from China. I looked for something very similar to type used on the Schmitt arrays.
    These are the ball clasps. A bit tricky to line up.
    Das Jugghead and Seanbassplayer like this.
  9. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Here's the Strymon Ojia PSU. It's amazingly small and neat. _W5A2117.jpg
    My H9, Mobius, Aftershock, ES-5 all get dedicated 500ma ports, all the rest are daisy chained from one 500ma port. it seems to be working well, there's no ground hum anywhere in the signal chain. Listening via a audio interface and a pair of headphones...it's very clean sounding.
    It's a bit if a tangle in there at the moment. Next month, I'm hoping to add a 4 port midi thru box to clean up some fot the Midi tangle. I've also bought a few straight midi plugs, so i can cut and solder some of my angle plugs and make some custom midi cables. I've found that the right angled ones tend to be great at one end of the run...and all wrong at the other end.
    Soon I'll have some cable ties arrive, so I can start to order the insides better. I've also ordered a pair of in / out 1/4 jack sockets and an IEC Power socket. So I can internally wire my in / out and power and have them flush mounted to the board casing.
    More image to follow once this stuff arrives and I've fitted them.
  10. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    This is great.

    Totally purpose built - 100% custom and it looks 100% pro.

    Gentle reminder to get some color on that. Apparently I have less patience than you have workshop hours :D
    Korladis, Das Jugghead and GMC like this.
  11. Seanbassplayer


    Oct 14, 2016
    Thats really nice!!!
    GMC likes this.
  12. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Yep, I've got the black stain. But there's no point in painting it on until I've finished cutting and drilling holes.
    Das Jugghead likes this.
  13. Turtle71

    Turtle71 Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    Madison, WI
    Very Nice! You've got some skills!

    I bet it'll look really sweet once you get the rest of your cables & midi stuff sorted out.

    I couldn't build a cube out of Legos, so color me envious LOL.
    AlvarHanso and GMC like this.
  14. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    That is really, really slick.
    AlvarHanso, Das Jugghead and GMC like this.
  15. Das Jugghead

    Das Jugghead

    Oct 28, 2015
    Well done sir! I am of the "I can design and build a wheel" camp. I would rather do that simply for the experience than buy a wheel. What an excellent pedal board. Inspiring. Going to steal your approach if you don't mind.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
    GMC likes this.
  16. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    I was a bit bored today, but not in the mood for anything too major...so I customised a pair of midi cables. The right angled Hosa and Rockbass midi cables are brilliant at one end and completely wrong at the other. So I bought a set of 4 straight midi plugs a few weeks back and today was the day to solder them up. The Hosa cables are a 4 core cable and they are using the shield as the 5th. But the Rockbass cables are a proper 5 core cable. I shortened the cables too so they fit better under my board. It went well and very happy with them.
    Tomorrow I might fit the external IEC power plug and solder that up.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
    Das Jugghead likes this.
  17. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    When i planned this board, I intended to have a EXH Hog2 under the top tier. It's a huge pedal (not sure I can even call it a pedal...more of a panel!). I wasn't intending getting one until later in the year, but one came up S/H for a REALLY good price and I figured that it was a really good deal. So My new to me EHX Hog2 arrived a few days ago in great condition, only to find that my pre-planned dimensions were 1cm too narrow (to fit under the hood). There would be complications if I moved the centre panel, so I decided to remove it and carve out some space for the Hog2 to slide in. One dusty and noisy hour later...the Hog2 is in place and seated very neatly and snug. The re-cabling and re-routing of the power, midi and audio cables took even longer! It's all in and working. I can tidy up some more in a few days.
  18. Das Jugghead

    Das Jugghead

    Oct 28, 2015
    My hat is off to you sir - very well done.
    GMC likes this.
  19. pbass6811

    pbass6811 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Indy, IN
    Dude! That's KILLA'! Very well done!!
    GMC likes this.
  20. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove If it feels heavy, it's heavy. Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    Boulder, CO
    Nice Job, dude. That's some quality work...
    GMC likes this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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