Received the boards for an A/B box I recently designed. With a single footswitch you can toggle between A or B, switch into auto-mode to let the box do it for you, and you can turn off the LED indicators to allow your ears to decide what you like better: A or B.
New laser = smaller features!
Not audio related, but still in the realm of DIY and goofing around with electronics. I recently upgraded my diode laser, and with back-to-school in full swing I decided to 3D print a pencil jig so I can personalize some pencils for students and teachers. I’m endlessly shocked by how good consumer-grade CNC, 3D printing, and laser products have become.
StompRack? Project Introduction
The idea to build guitar pedal circuits into the eurorack form factor has floated around guitar pedal forums and message boards that I’ve frequented over the past two decades but very few people have taken the plunge. This idea first piqued my interest because I build a lot of pedal circuits that end up in a bin until I decide to put them into an enclosure. I know a lot other builders can relate to having that one moving box full of populated boards that are stuck in purgatory until the day we decide they are getting a home. Spending thousands of dollars and burning so many hours on a hobby that doesn’t produce very many fruits from your labor can become a bit of a drag. In the eurorack format, I can temporarily mount a circuit onto a piece of cardboard without the threat of damage since my feet won’t be coming into contact. This makes building and prototyping usable circuits in the eurorack form factor easier and less costly while immediately gaining the ability to make noise with your freshly built doodad.
After a recent spine surgery, this useless meat suit that I was born with makes it difficult to hunch over to adjust pedals that are on the floor. Combining my spine issues with a neurological disorder that makes me pass out when standing from crouching…my days of having boxes splayed across the floor connected with a spaghetti mess of cables are over. The need to get my pedals off of the floor became urgent and my investment into this project began. As I’ve started to build circuits into this format I’m realizing just how much more versatile it is than having a pedalboard. Having these circuits on top of an amp or on a desk makes them equally valuable on stage or in a studio, and the ability to control the bypassing of each module via midi makes it great for reamping or controlling your FX remotely.
Immediate Project Goals:
- Come up with a name for this project! (StompRack? EuroStomp?)
- Utilize 60HP and 84HP eurorack skiffs to house up to 8 pedal circuits in each
- Design an 8-channel midi foot switch to control the bypass of each module
- Design an 8-channel midi input and power distribution module to deliver power and midi messages to each module
- Design relay bypass I/O board(s) that can fit 6, 10, and 12 HP panels (closest sizes to 1590A, 1590B, and 125B dimensions)
- Adapt commercially available self-assembled PCBs into the eurorack format
- Adapt commercially available pedals into the eurorack format
- Stay within the spirit of DIY by building most of the items with the tools and resources at my disposal instead of buying commercial solutions: keep the project accessible!
The eurorack standard utilizes a bipolar 12v power supply with an additional 5v rail for digital circuits. That is where this project is going to deviate from the eurorack standard, probably to the dismay of people who are invested heavily in eurorack synths. This project is going to run on 9v for the simple fact that there is an entire world of pedal PCBs available, thousands of them, that can easily fit this format and make it accessible to people like myself who don’t want their circuits on the ground.
This project was started July 2022 and there have been several circuits added, boards designed, and progress has been made to the point that I now have a nearly finished skiff. I’ll be added updates and documentation for this here.
A Very DIY Screen Print
Here is another tutorial I dug up that was created by my wife at least 14 years ago back when we were still dating. She is an avid DIY’er with a reputation of being a crafty hacker type…with yarn and fabric instead of a keyboard and software. Before things like pre-sensitized screens were a thing it was pretty complicated to try making your own screens at home. My wife came up with this solution in the PDF linked below. At the time, this tutorial blew up on craft message boards, and over the years I’ve seen a few variations of this method. I haven’t tried it on electronics enclosures because it’s hard to use this method with that amount of detail, but some of you might be more brave than me.
DIY Screen Making Tutorial PDF
Here are some Amazon links to items listed in the tutorial.
Another high gain oscillating fuzz
So I just finished prototyping an incredibly high gain fuzz that oscillates and squeals like hell. Noise isn’t always my thing so I’ve included a circuit that tames the oscillation, but still preserves the high frequency content and available gain. It’s a miserable sounding box that even at low gain is still considered fairly high gain.
Old Sovtek Big Muff Repair
A co-worker brought in an old Russian Sovtek Big Muff that had a broken battery snap, and was just a little beat up from years of use. Back when I was a teenager Korn released their first album, and I was all about that guitar sound. I had read in an interview that, when recording at Indigo Ranch, they used a modified Big Muff. So I went down to Guitar Center and bought one of these, but it was soon stolen from the space my band practiced at. Now, nearly 20 years later, these things are a small fortune and beyond my pay grade. It was nice to get my hands on one again…even if it was just to take it apart. Enjoy the pedal porn.
SB4001 is done
Put a fork in it…the SB4001 is finished and living a happy life at Energy Command Studios. It sounds spectacular! You don’t really hear it working until you bypass it and think “WTF just happened?!?”. WARNING: Buzzwords that are subjective and don’t mean anything ahead….
The SB4001 really seems to provide a glue and cohesive feeling that is hard to describe. Engaging the “Grind” feature adds 2nd harmonic distortion which make drums sound absolutely unreal. There were only 25 DIY kits for this available, but you can buy the finished product at www.serpentaudio.com.
I’m hoping to have some sound samples (possibly a video) up shortly.
SB4001 is ALIVE!
I ended completing the build today. After 17 long hours this thing is done…for the most part. The meter lights up, reacts to an input signal, and none of that magical blue smoke was released. The final step will be calibrating it, and having my wife take a few professional shots.
I think the most tedious part was putting the damn knobs on this thing and getting them aligned. Yes, after 17 hours my only complaint is putting on knobs.
SB4001 after 10 hours of work
So after a total of 10 hours I have everything stuffed except for the switches, trimpots, and a few jumpers. The next steps are to get the rotary switches temporarily tacked on to the PCB and then temporarily mounted into the L-bracket that holds the boards. Then I’ll go through and permanently solder in the rotary switches which will guarantee proper alignment with the faceplate.
Once this thing is done I think I’m going to take a few days off from building so I can get my eyes to go back into focus. I was correct in my initial assumption that this would be one of the most involved builds that I’ve ever done.