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Old 02-16-2007, 11:49 AM   #1
TwoString
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TwoString's Massive Pedalboard Tutorial Thread (WARNING - LOTS OF PICS)

NOTE - Due to the many requests I have received from people wanting to know how I built my pedalboard, I will be posting several tutorials on various pedalboard styles in this thread. To show the builds, I will be using computer generated models for the most part. If you have any questions or information to provide, please PM me so that I may put it at the top of the thread and make it a part of the tutorial itself. If there are any objections to me doing this, please PM me and let me know. I am creating and reserving the first ten posts or so on this thread to make sure that the tutorial information is placed first in the thread. I will delete any excessive posts once I run out of information to post.

Post 1 - Pedalboard Overview (tools, materials, links, etc)
Post 2 - The "Fancy Plank" Board
Post 3 - The Pedalboard Case
Post 4 - The Expandable "Bookend" Board
Post 5 - Trailer-Trash Style Board
Post 6 - Wiring
Post 7 - Reserved if needed
Post 8 - Reserved if needed
Post 9 - Reserved if needed
Post 10 - Reserved if needed

UPDATES - 2/22/2007 @1100 - Post 3 completed - read through if you'd like and if you have any problems following one of the tutorials, let me know what the trouble is and I'll try to make corrections to make it easier to understand.

4/13/2007 @1150 - I've been ignoring this tutorial for a long time. I'm trying to add a few items here and there, but I apologize that I have not really had the proper amount of time to invest in finishing this. Working on the bookend pedalboard tutorial and wiring tutorial and will hopefully have them posted soon.
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Last edited by TwoString : 04-13-2007 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:49 AM   #2
TwoString
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Post 1 - Pedalboard Overview (tools, materials, links, etc)

Tools (links to come)
Wood Saw - used to cut plywood to size
Wood Router - used to route channels in pedalboard (if desired)
Hacksaw - used to cut aluminum channel (if desired)
Screw Driver - used to attach risers, pedal mounts, etc
Files/Rasps - used to smooth sharp edges on wood and aluminum
Drill - used to drill holes in pedalboard and aluminum channel
Materials (links to come)
Plywood
Laminate
Aluminum Channel
Drawer Handles
Tolex
Amp Corners
Amp Handles
Hinges
Draw Latches
Rubber Feet
Links

Parts
www.stewmac.com
www.odyssey-parts.com
www.tchweb.com
www.starcase.com
Pre-Fab Retail Case Companies
www.pedaltrain.com
www.pedalpad.com
www.skbcases.com
www.coffincase.com
www.gatorcases.com
www.furmansound.com
Custom Build-To-Spec Companies (Some Pre-Fab Available)
www.pedalboards.com
www.stompin-ground.com
www.nycpedalboards.com
www.nhmpedalboards.com
www.trailertrashpedalboards.com
www.petecornish.co.uk
How-To
www.generalguitargadgets.com
Switching Systems
www.radialeng.com
www.voodoolab.com
True-Bypass Boxes/Strips
www.looper.com
Power Supplies
www.voodoolab.com
www.godlyke.com
www.visualsound.net/1spot.htm
Wiring Solutions
www.georgels.com
www.planetwaves.com
www.stompin-ground.com
In/Out Boxes
www.pedalboardjunction.com

The "Rules"

1. Always have a plan before you build. This includes the actual layout of the pedals, your wiring solutions, the size of the pedalboard needed and any anticipated changes/additions to the rig after the completion of the pedalboard. Make as many drawings as you can before you purchase hardware for your build. Also, it helps to test your layout in a practical jamming/gig situation to make sure your pedal placement suits your needed before you build, as you can make any changes needed to the layout without being limited by space considerations that you might run into after the pedalboard is built.

2. Pick a design philosophy and stick with it. Do not try to change everything in the middle of the build unless you have drawn it out and know it will work. I've seen too many people realize in the middle of a build that the space between the main pedalboard surface and the underside of a riser is too small to fit a power supply. See rule 1 to avoid this problem.

3. Do it right the first time and invest in quality parts. This includes any wiring solutions you will be including in the board. Although velcro is reusable, speaker cabinet carpet is not. From my experience, you've got about 10 attachment and reattachment cycles maximum before the carpet wears out too much to hold the pedals. The fortunate part of this is that carpet is cheap and easily replaced. The unfortunate truth is that it takes some time to do this. Also, buy good cables from the start, and whenever possible, have them made no longer than the exact distance you need to cover. This will help to cut down the chances of having to troubleshoot odd noises and inductance issues from having to coil cables up on the board.
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Last edited by TwoString : 04-13-2007 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:50 AM   #3
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Post 2 - The "Fancy Plank" Board



Description - This board is pretty much a plank of plywood with a few add-ons. Plastic laminate or carpet is typically glued to the top of the board, and aluminum channel is added around the edges to provide protection for the board and the laminate/carpet surface. Handles can be added to the sides of the board to make transporting the board easier. Rubber feet are usually attached to the bottom to keep the board from sliding on stage during performance. The board can be stored in a bag or case (keyboard gig bag, ATA flight case) should one be needed.

Materials Used
Plywood
Plastic Laminate - used to cover desks - available at any hardware store
Aluminum Channel
Drawer Handle - Only the fancy ones on this site, go to the hardware store.
Rubber Feet
Screws
The Build

1. Cut plywood to size. You will want to follow the rules for laying out and planning the board. Take into consideration the overlap on the aluminum channel...you will need to plan ahead and allow enough room between the perimeter of your effects layout and the edges of the board (1" is a safe measurement).

2. Glue the laminate to the surface of the board. Contact cement is preferred, but you can use any glue as long as it will bond properly to the smooth laminate. You will need to allow proper time for the laminate to dry. At this point, if you'd like to use carpet instead of laminate, the same rules apply, but you'll want to use a glue that will properly bond to the carpet without soaking through it and ruining the velcro-like surface. I've had decent success with 3M heavy duty spray glue. After the glue is dry, cut the laminate/carpet flush to the edges of the board.

3. Time to test fit the aluminum channel. Cut it down to size for each side of the board, allowing for an extra 2 inches to be cut off the ends. You may find it easier to fit the channel if you file the edges of the board/laminate at an angle, allowing the channel to wedge into place. If you used carpet, you can use blue painters tape to cover the top edges of the carpet surface. Wrap the tape over the side to get the same ramp-up surface as described above. Test fit the aluminum channel...it should be a little difficult to apply to the board, but it will squeeze on. Make your cut marks on the aluminum channel using the board to mark the proper size. You should now have two lines at each end of the channel that mark your cut-off points. To account for the thickness of the channel, measure the thickness and offset each cut-off line by that much (example - if the channel is 1/16" thick, you will need to measure and mark another line 1/16" closer to the ends of the channel). Remove the channel from the board.

4. Beginning at the closed edge of the channel, just at the second cut-off line, mark a 45 degree line sloping in towards the opening of the channel. This is your cut line. Repeat the same for each piece of channel for each edge of the board.

5. Using a miter box and a hacksaw, you can begin to make your cuts. Cutting at a 45 degree angle, you'll want to allow for a bit of error. It's best to clamp the aluminum in the miter box, and mount the miter box on a very stable surface. The pieces should end up just a hair longer than required. You can file off any excess material if clearance becomes an issue, but it's always best to file down than cut off too much.

6. After the aluminum is cut, you can place it back around the board. Carefully match up each corner, and when you've got the best fit, tape all of the pieces in place.

7. Using a drill, drill screw holes in the aluminum. You can drill down from the face, from the edge, or even from underneath, it all depends on the finish you want. If you'd like to avoid using screws, you can even use the handles to hold the aluminum in place wherever you use them (simply drill through the entire board and both sides of the aluminum channel and bolt the handles through these holes).

8. To finish the board, you can use a file to file down any sharp corners. Steel wool will buff out any scratches or marks in the aluminum.

9. To mount the pedals to the board, you can use velcro tape (velcro with a sticky backing). The sticky tape side will hold to the laminate fairly well. If you used carpet, then just attach the hook side of the velcro to each pedal. You will want to remove the rubber feet/backing on any pedal that you are attaching to the board (tape will typically not hold to rubber).

The exploded view below shows each part (no screws or feet shown). You can see how each part interfaces with the board in the detailed diagrams below.

Exploded view without laminate/carpet

Exploded channel detail

Attached channel detail

Completed board without laminate/carpet
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Last edited by TwoString : 02-16-2007 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:51 AM   #4
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Post 3 - The Pedalboard Case



Description - This board is probably one of the best to build. It integrates the pedalboard into a case design and is easier to move around (no need to purchase an extra bag or case to carry it). In this design, the sides are glued to the top and bottom of the case. The edges may be rounded over for a more finished appearance, and the entire case can be covered with vinyl or another material.

Materials Used
1/2" Plywood
Wood Glue
Amp Handle
Rubber Feet
Breakaway Hinges
Draw Latches
Screws
Vinyl/Tolex/Covering (Optional)
Amp Corners (Optional)
Velcro/Carpet/Laminate (for the pedal mount surface - optional)

Tools Used
Power Saw (jig saw will work, table saw is best)
Wood Router (For rounding the edges and cutting with templates)
Drill
T-Square
Scissors (to cut the tolex or covering)

The Build

1. If planned properly, this entire case can be built from a single sheet of 4'x 4' plywood. You will need to follow the rules for lying out and planning the board. Take into consideration that when taking the final measure for the pedalboard layout, you will need to add and extra 1/2 inch to each side of the base (or bottom in the diagram below) in order to have enough wood to glue the sides to and still allow room for your pedal layout.



2. After the layout is drawn on the plywood, you can begin to cut. You don't have to cut out each piece as it's own, it's often better to cut out only 1 of each piece, then rough cut (leave an extra 1/8" outside of the layout lines on the board) so you can precision shape with the router using the other pieces as templates (for example, you can carefully cut out the bottom then use that as the router template to cut the top, as both pieces need to be as close as possible to each other in their dimensions). If you have access to a table saw, use that instead of the router.

3. After all of the pieces are cut out, pieces them together to make sure everything will match up correctly. If you have a little overhang on a few pieces, don't worry, you can cut all of them flush with the router after gluing.

4. Starting with the top, glue the long rear side to the top. This will be your guide for gluing all of the remaining sides, so make sure you use the T-Square for this. It is also best to use a straight, flat surface to make sure the side is flush with the top's rear edge. You can do this by feel, but you'll want to be accurate before you clamp everything down. When you feel that everything is square and where it should be, clamp the side to the top to dry. Clamp with enough tension so that there is no gap between the side and top - you will get a lot of glue squeezed out from the joint while doing this. Clean up the spilled glue with a damp cloth while the glue is still wet.

5. After the glue has dried, unclamp and inspect the joint. The joint should be solid and should not move under moderate pressure. Check the piece again and make sure the side is square to the top. Once everything checks out, it's time to move on.

6. You can start gluing the shorter sides to the piece at this point. You can do one at a time, or if you've got enough clamps and work quickly enough, two at a time. When working with these shorter sides, as well as all of the following sides after the first piece is glued, you will want to make sure that the other sides are square not only with the top, but also square with any other sides you have glued down. This is important - if you don't do this, there's a good chance that the top will not line up with the bottom of the case. Follow the same check, glue, clamp, check process outlined in step 4.

7. The top is finished. Unclamp and check all the joints and make sure everything is square. Rewind and follow steps 4 through 6 for the bottom of the case. Unless you feel like everything is working out, ALWAYS check, recheck and check again to make sure the pieces for the bottom are lining up properly, and most importantly, that the bottom is matching up with the top (when the top, or lid, is sitting on top of the bottom, or tray, just as the case will appear when it is put together and closed).

8. After everything is dried, you can now begin the hardware installation. Begin by lining up the lid on top of the try (the top on the bottom). When the sides are flush with each other, test-fit the hinges and mark the appropriate mounting holes. It is best to measure the drill bit and wrap tape around it to make sure you don't go all the way through the side when drilling the mounting holes. 3/8" should be deep enough. Mount the hinges and test the fit to make sure the lid lifts and releases properly. Close the lid and keep the hinges on to keep everything in line to mount the latches. Follow the process outlined in this step to mount the latches on the front of the case.

9. Position and drill the mounting holes for the amp handle. Make sure the handle is positioned in the center of the "top side" of the lid (the side with the latches). The position of the handle is important for balance. Sometimes it is better to have the handle located closer to the tray side of the case, since all of the pedals will be mounted to this portion of the case and all the weight will be concentrated here.

10. With the latches and hinges secure, you can begin rounding over the edges of the case. a 1/2" round over is best for this, since most amp corners follow this round. You should be able to clear the latches and hinges okay, but if not, finish the routing as much as possible on the rest of the case before unlatching the two sides. It's typically easier this way. Drill the mounting holes for the amp corners and test fit.

11. Install the rubber feet. You will typically want feet on the bottom of the tray for stability when the tray is deployed for pedalboard use, as well as feet on the hinge side of the case for stability when the case is sitting upright during storage and transport.

12. At this point, if everything fits, you can remove all of the hardware and cover the case with vinyl, carpet, tolex, or any other material you choose. You can also paint the case should you not wish to cover it. If you choose to cover the case with material, it is best to use contact cement. At this time, you can also glue laminate, carpet or Velcro inside the lid for the pedal mount surface.

The exploded views below should give you a good idea about how all the parts fit together on this build. I am a bit limited for picture space here, but if there are any questions about a specific area, I can post more detailed pictures in future posts.







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Last edited by TwoString : 02-22-2007 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:52 AM   #5
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Post 4 - The Expandable "Bookend" Board

(NOTE - While I have seen several boards of this design, I have yet to build one myself. This tutorial is based on my experience with other boards of this design as well as a couple of design changes of my own. Consider this tutorial a virtual prototype and build at your own risk)



Description - This board is a little more complicated than the other designs because of the exact tolerances needed to fit the plywood center sections into the hardwood ends, but after those pieces are done, the center sections are simply a matter of making a square cut. The end product should be sturdy enough to stand up to lots of abuse since the center spans are reinforced with aluminum extrusion, and if the hardwood ends are replaced with aluminum structures of the same design, this should result in a pedalboard that you can stand on without any problems. If you need to expand the board at any point, the end pieces are still usable...simply re-cut longer boards and aluminum extrusion to span the center section. This board does not incorporate a case or lid of any kind, so a separate case will be needed or the design can be altered to include a lid.


Materials Used
1/2" Plywood
3/4" to 1" hardwood planks
1/2" aluminum "U" channel extrusion
Rubber Feet
Screws
Velcro/Carpet/Laminate (for the pedal mount surface - optional)

Tools Used
Power Saw (jig saw will work, table saw is best)
Wood Router (For routing the channels in the end pieces)
Drill
T-Square
Scissors (to cut the carpet/velcro)

The Build







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Last edited by TwoString : 04-13-2007 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:52 AM   #6
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Post 5 - Trailer-Trash Style Board
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:53 AM   #7
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Post 6 - Wiring

In this post, I'll cover some of the "rules" I've learned as far as pedalboard wiring is concerned. This is not the be all end all of wiring guides, but just a few concepts I've picked up along the way. Most of this should really be common sense.

1. Invest in quality. Most budget cables are poor quality and have a tendency to fail. Purchasing something like the Planet Waves Cablestation Kit or George L's Pedalboard Kit is not a bad move when building a pedalboard.

2. Use only what you need. Having a 10' power cable to span a distance of 6" is just asking for noise issues. You can have custom power cables made easily to fit power supplies like the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power unit.

3. Keep your signal cables as far away as possible from power adapters, transformers (wall warts) and power lines. If you need to have a signal cable cross paths or run close to a power cable, make sure they do not run parallel to each other. This causes inductance noise.
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Last edited by TwoString : 04-13-2007 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:54 AM   #8
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Post 7 - Reserved if needed
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:54 AM   #9
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Post 8 - Reserved if needed
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:55 AM   #10
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Post 9 - Reserved if needed
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:55 AM   #11
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Old 02-16-2007, 04:41 PM   #12
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thanks a lot for this, i look forward to when it's completed.
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Old 02-16-2007, 04:44 PM   #13
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Can't wait to see it finished.
I've been re-considering doing another board, make it more professional and easier to swap around pedals.
I'm curious about how you get the aluminium and get it on there too.
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Old 02-16-2007, 05:02 PM   #14
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great thread. youve inspired to me to make a pedal board and buy more pedals lol
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Old 02-17-2007, 09:04 AM   #15
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My pedalboard is so basic in comparison! Very nice tutorial!
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:16 AM   #16
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Bump - Just completed Post 3 for the pedalboard case. Review and let me know if any changes need to be made for clarification...or if you have any info to add.
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Old 02-22-2007, 12:23 PM   #17
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I'm not following this, but i am still building a pedalboard. I Intend to cover it with either tolex or carpet, with maybe a tweed box. Cool build, great tutorial, should be stickied.
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:03 PM   #18
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great tutorial, should be stickied
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodenbandman
I'm not following this, but i am still building a pedalboard. I Intend to cover it with either tolex or carpet, with maybe a tweed box. Cool build, great tutorial, should be stickied.


What are you having trouble following? I know it's difficult given the fact that I don't really have the room to post detailed pictures of each and every step, but if you PM me or post here the problems you are having following the tutorial, then maybe I can make some changes to make it easier.

Just trying to make this thing as good as it possibly can be.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:41 PM   #20
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Good thread man, this should definately be stickied. I have a diy pedalboard, although I might build another one once I get a few more pedals (about a year then).
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