New DIY stuff day (Pedals and things)

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by mnemonic, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I recently got into building pedals when my TC electronic integrated preamp stopped working correctly. I bought a BYOC kit to work on my soldering skills before tackling repairs to my TC pre, and it turns out, I really enjoyed it.

    First thing I built, after the BYOC kit, was a clone of my TC electronic integrated preamp, which I made a thread about. It sounded exactly the same once I sorted out some issues with grounding (the board was shorting out on the back of the case at first). However, I bought too small an enclosure so I couldn't fit a bypass switch.

    This was the second attempt at making a tc electronic integrated preamp clone:

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    I looked back at the pictures I posted of my first attempt on veroboard, and the soldering was embarrassingly messy. I think this one is a bit cleaner looking.


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    As you may notice it has no bypass light, so one of the switches in the 3PDT footswitch is unused. This is because I forgot to order a current limiting resistor when I ordered parts. I did eventually add one:

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    I was trying to go for a clean look on the inside, as you can see I started twisting wires together to try to make it look a bit cleaner, but that didn't last long. I'm not sure how to deal with the rats nest of wires when using veroboard.

    more to come in the next post, I hit the image limit.
     
  2. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    The next pedal is an Xotic RC Booster clone, which I saw a kit for on Fuzzdog Pedal Parts website, and bought on a whim. Its one pedal I had my eye on back when I was looking for a TC Electronic integrated preamp, as the specs seemed similar - twenty-something dB of boost, mostly clean, 2-band baxandall EQ, even the frequencies were similar. After building it, however, they don't sound much alike. The EQ doesn't cut or boost as much as the TC pre, and there isn't as much volume on tap. The gain control isn't as nice sounding as the gain on a tubescreamer either, it gets kinda woofy as I turn it up. So in a metal context, I'm not a huge fan. As a boost into a clean or slightly dirty amp it sounds good, however I prefer my BYOC FA1 clone over this for pretty much everything.

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    Next is one I just finished the other day, a clone of the Mesa Gridslammer. According to Tagboardeffects, which is where I find most of the layouts for these projects, its basically a straight up TS9 clone but with a different diode clipping arrangement, so the guy who drew the layout was nice enough to add a switch to swap between TS9 clipping and Gridslammer clipping.

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    enclosure all drilled, making sure everything fits. By the way, top jacks are far superior.

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    I couldn't find all the values of the resistors I needed in one place, so I did end up with a mix of different types. Some carbon film, some metal film, and some itty-bitty-tiny metal film. This doesn't affect the sound, it just looks a bit more colorful than usual.

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    Those giant 1uf film capacitors were a bit of a pain to jam onto the board, especially that on on the right, but they are in the signal path so I couldn't use a polarized electrolytic cap. Its bent over the resistors so as not to obstruct where the wires will go.

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    Fires up first time, and sounds awesome. Really awesome, this is a great boost. Tons of volume on tap, very clear, tightens up an amp really well. The difference bewteen the Gridslammer clipping and Tubescreamer clipping is not super obvious, but there is more distortion, more mids, and less volume on the TS setting. I prefer the gridslammer's clipping arrangement, its clearer and better tuned for metal in my opinion.

    I may take off the two-diode tubescreamer arrangement and put LED's on that side of the switch, so I could have an even higher headroom version.

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    by the way, I'm mounting the circuit boards in the enclosure with some double-sided adhesive foam tape I found for like £2 at Home Bargains (cheap store here in the UK). It works great, it sticks very well both to the aluminum enclosure and to the back of the veroboard. If you go this route, test it before mounting the board, that stuff sticks real well.
     
  3. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    next is the simplest thing I've made so far, a latching footswitch. I've been using an old Marshall footswitch to switch patches in my Axe FX, but its giant, so I want something smaller that takes up less real estate on my pedalboard.

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    basically its just a switch in a box. The place I bought the switch from didn't have any SPST or SPDT stomp switches, so I had to use a DPDT stomp switch. No big deal, I just left one pole unused.


    So with all these new pedals, I'm gonna need somewhere to put them. I was previously using a small piece of 1/4" fiberboard, just so I had something to attach them to. But thats a pretty low-rent solution and was ugly as hell.

    I always liked the look of those Holeyboard pedal boards, and I own a drill and jigsaw, so I figured I'd try making one. I found a layout online and my girlfriend was nice enough to take the image and print one out to scale, so I could just glue it to a piece of wood and trace it with the jigsaw.

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    As you can see on the back of that top level, my 'voidless' plywood left a bit to be desired.

    Here it is after several coats of clear urethane.

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    The lines are nowhere near as clean as they would have been if I had used a router or CNC, but I guess you use what you have.
     
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  4. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    The last thing I'm in the process of making at the moment is a clone of the EQD Acapulco Gold.

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    As you can see, it has an extra knob, I built it with a pre-gain knob as I heard it got uncontrollable fast. I'm glad I did, as it makes the gain control a bit more functional.

    This thing has a ton of volume and gain on tap. I was surprised how loud and distorted it got. Its a really fun pedal for doomy sounding stuff. That isn't really my forte but its super fun to just bang out droney riffs on a les paul sometimes.

    Thats it for now. I've got a list of other stuff I want to build, like an MXR custom modified badass OD, the BYOC swede, a muff clone as I've never owned a fuzz pedal, and I am in dire need of a lot of new cable, so I'll just buy a bulk of tips and cable and make my own.

    :hbang:
     
  5. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    Very cool! Nice job on everything!
     
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  6. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    That baxandall preamp is great. I've prototyped one out before with a baxandall before and after a distortion section and you could get some great tones out of it with just six knobs.

    Also nice work! Really clean soldering job.
     
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  7. Refuge

    Refuge SS.org Regular

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  8. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I hadn't actually found those layouts on the site until after I had already built it, unfortunately. Though it was my first time even building a pedal with a bypass switch on it, so adding more complications may have been a bad idea.

    I have a 30 volt power supply I use now, but when I eventually get a decent power supply for all my pedals, I'd like to ditch having a seperate wall wart for just one pedal, so I was planning to build a 33 volt charge pump into a little box, and just run that off a 9 volt tap on a power brick, into the integrated preamp. I've got some MAX1044 chips all ready, I just need the power supply now.
     
  9. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Wow you've been busy :lol: Nice work :yesway:

    Pretty much exactly what I'm doing with mine.
     
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  10. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    Everything looks awesome! I am jealous you became an expert in the time I ordered a few parts, lol. I want to make a Dr. Boogie, and a BE-OD clone, as I learn how to work with the Veroboard.

    I like the tape idea. I was actually thinking about using some of the 1" weather stripping black foam stuff. I was thinking about putting some on the back panel, and inside, so that the board was squeezed in between the layers of foam. I use that stuff under pickups, and it works really well for that.
     
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  11. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    That would probably also work well. I just bought the foam tape on a whim as I saw it in the store and it seemed perfect.

    The Dr Boogie and a BEOD look like they would be cool to make. Both are pretty big projects though from what I remember when I looked at their layouts. For the Dr boogie at least there are PCB options.

    Once I make a few more things I've wanted, I may try my hand at a BEOD.
     
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  12. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    :minions:
     
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  13. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    It seems like most of the Boogie PCB options are not made anymore. I have looked several times, and can't find anything currently being offered, so I was going to use one of the two Vero layouts available. I am not too worried about the complexity, as I have built stuff for years. I have a JCM800 clone with 4 preamp tubes I built as probably the most complex. I did that BYOC Parametric EQ also. It is really just a matter of deciding 100% what to do, and dedicating the time to it.

    As I have mentioned, I hate to build something I can buy cheaply, or is widely available. I want to stick to things that are more unique.

    I didn't think the BE-OD looked too bad, but harder than a boost. The real trick will be using grounded leads to cut down on noise, and keeping everything short and neat. Oh, that reminds me, for the messy wire issue, you might tie-strap the wires after you are all done. Just tie-strap groups of them together so it looks neater.
     
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  14. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    After posting that I took a look at layouts for both of those pedals and they're a lot less complicated than I remember when I last looked. They do both have 6 knobs though so I shudder to think of all those wires.

    I just had a look at a couple websites but it looks like the recto-style pedal pcb's I was thinking about may be something else.

    I spent my lunch reading through a good chunk of the freestompboxes BE-OD tracing thread, looks like they got it nailed. Though there sure was a fair share of drama involved. I also really want to make one now.

    Looks like a couple people made PCB's for it, I may try to grab one. If I go for the vero layout I think I'd need a 1590BBM to actually fit it all in. I'm not as skilled as other people seem to be in this circuit board Tetris.
     
  15. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    The BE-OD looks like a cool build... also don't feel bad, my TC is going in a 1590BBM :lol:
     
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  16. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    It seems to be the same height as the 125b / 1590n1, so that should be plenty of clearance. I think the 1590b or 1590bb are both a bit shallow. My TC pre is in a 1590bb, but I also have a smaller circuitboard than yours as mine doesn't have a charge pump.

    I keep seeing BE-OD clones in 125b's so maybe I will give it a try in that smaller enclosure...
     
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  17. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Yeah I am glad I went with the BBM as I have a couple WIMA caps on mine that are taller than I figured on so I would probably be in trouble with a shallower enclosure :lol:

    I am also realizing that I either need to wear a filter mask or find a different hobby... even with a charcoal filtered fan to suck off the smoke my lungs and sinuses are killing me after working on the TC for a couple hours today. Got the enclosure wired up and the board about half way done.
     
  18. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I've just been holding my breath when soldering a component, I should probably get a fan of something.

    A mask is probably a good idea. I sometimes wear a charcoal respirator when I clean my house because I use a lot of bleach.
     
  19. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    After soldering for years I guess I have inhaled enough to fry my brain. :lol:

    I have a technique also.... I tend to hold my breath during soldering (helps to hold your hand steady also), and then breath out right when I take the iron off the joint to blow the smoke out of my face and away from the board. Sounds complicated, but it is automatic after years. I do usually always run my ceiling fan though.
     
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  20. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    I ordered a few powder coated BBs, and Bs. I am thinking the Bs are MXR size. I figure anything I build with 6 knobs will go in a BB. I dont want to jack with cramming 6 knobs in such a small space, lol. Not sure if I will try to waterslide and spray them clear, or just write with a paint marker....
     
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