Introduction: DIY Powered Pedal Board With Input Jacks
Please bear with me if this is hard to follow or needs clarification...this is my first Instructable. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments!
This project started as really just a combination of several ideas. I wanted a pedal board that was light but sturdy (many DIY boards I have seen are either too flimsy or WAY too heavy). Sure I could just spring for a professional pedalboard like a PedalTrain, or a Trailer Trash...but whats the fun in that? In addition, I had my own space requirements and "special" features that I wanted to include for my purposes specifically. I began to run out of room on my old DIY board, and wanted something a bit bigger...and more organized.
Before I go too far into detail, I have to say I am pretty much "ripping" the Trailer Trash style/design as far as my pedal board design...but have combined my own elements/materials. You can look at their site here: http://trailertrashpedalboards.com/, they make great stuff no question...but I wanted something slightly different and personal.
Also the forum over at Harmony Central's site proved to be a huge resource in planning out this project. You can find that forum here: http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Effects-Pedals-Multi-Effects-and/DIY-pedal-boards-lets-see-yours/td-p/14754041
Now...about this board specifically (though this plan can be be adjusted in MANY ways).
-x4 locking Neutrik jacks
-2x4 piece of 1/2" birch wood
-Sandpaper/sanding block (or circular sander if you have one)
-A dozen flat 1-1/2 phillips screws
-x2 Cans of spray paint
-Small bottle of Gorilla Glue
-Large pack of industrial strength Velcro
-Rosin core electrical solder
-x3 1 foot 1/4" right angle mono cables (you may only need 2)
-x2 screen door handle
-x1 15 foot outdoor quality extension cable.
-x1 PowerAll, or 1Spot 9v daisy chain (or any other brand you can find).
-x4 floor "grippers"
-Jigsaw or circular saw (or a hand saw)
-Drill (with a bit for boring at least 7/8" holes and a regular drill bit set as well).
-Hot glue gun
-Razor blade or utility knife
Yes you will have to solder, but it's very easy I promise...
Step 1: Getting Started
First you should acquire the listed materials, and gather at least some of the items that I am sure that you already own. A note about the wood, I chose birch because it is light and is still rigid. You don't absolutely have to use birch, but it suited my purposes. You could use plywood, MDF or whatever you would like. I purchased my wood at my local Lowes Home Improvement, as with most of these materials, and had it cut to size. Most "big box" home improvement shops will cut down your wood to whatever size for free, though they are limited as they cannot make angled cuts. Alternatively you could just cut it yourself.
You will have leftover scrap wood if you get a decent size piece, and that is what you can take home to make the angled pieces for the sides. The 2 pictures below shows the specs and needed cuts to make my board, a 24x14x3 downward sloping board.
The second picture shows the angled cuts and their specs. I cut them out of my scraps from Lowe's.
Step 2: Putting Together the Board
Once you have all your pieces cut, you are ready to start assembling the board. This step is pretty straight forward...drill your wood screws into the front panel from the top of the pedal board, and do the same with the larger back panel. After they are secured and straight move on to attach the side angled pieces. They should fit perfectly to the slope established by the differential in height between the 1 1/4" piece to the 3" piece. The first picture shows what the bottom view will look like BEFORE the sides are put on. The second shows what the bottom view will look like AFTER.
Note: After it is assembled and you are happy with the results and balance...you can apply wood glue or gorilla glue on the inside joints for added strength and stability as seen in the second picture.
Step 3: PAINT!
Paint your box whatever color you prefer. I considered many options, but I decided in the end to go with good old satin black. Keep in mind, industrial velcro usually only comes in black or white (if you are concerned about matching). You can use many types of spray paint as well, like bed-liner for trucks, metallic colors, marine paint etc. You could even cover it in amp tolex if you wanted.
Below is a underside view of the painted box.
Step 4: Drill Holes for Inputs and Top Holes for Power and Cables.
I didn't take any really descriptive pictures on this specific step, but its pretty straightforward. Using that 7/8" bit I mentioned I drilled one hole on the right side (into the angled piece) for the input. I then drilled two more 7/8" holes in the left side for the outputs. I have an A/B pedal to change amps and needed two separate outputs. You may only need one...
Now is probably a good time for you to determine your exact pedal layout on the board and where your first pedal and last pedal in the chain will be, as that will determine where your holes to access the interior of the pedal board need to be drilled.
Next I drilled two 5/8" holes into the top of the board. One in the bottom right-hand corner and one in the bottom left-hand corner. This will be for your cables coming from the Neutrik Jacks below, and the access for the daisy chain to come out.
Below you can see one of the holes for the outputs and one Neutrik jack I am "test-fitting."
Step 5: Soldering and Wiring
Now for the fun part. Soldering!
Grab one of those 1/4" right angle mono cables, and cut one of the "heads off. Carefully strip the wire and separate the "bare" wire and gently twist to the side. The wire with the coating will also need to be gently stripped (yours may look different, but every cable will have an bare wire and a coated wire). Pictures below show a properly prepared "solder" ready wire.
Now, attach the wires to the leads on the Neutrik jacks. You are going to want to loop the wire in the circular part of the lead and twist if possible. Just make sure the bare wire and the coated wire are not touching each other. Below you can see which leads to connect to which wires via a diagram...and how they look physically.
After everything is soldered, test the jack by plugging in a guitar cable to it, and plugging the other end into an amp. If done correctly, it should function like a regular cable. Once you confirm the connection works, hot glue around both connections (just enough to cover and "seal" the connections. After applying hot glue, wrap the glue in electrical tape...this ensures the connection wont short out.
Step 6: Screw in the Neutrik Jacks and Start Setting Up Your Guitar/power Cables
Run your extension cord into the box through a drill opening and plug in directly to your daisy chain. I chose to secure most of my cables with electrical tape...then hot glued them to the board. Once I settle on a power setup, I will mount the wiring more permanently. Eventually I will add a true PedalPower to the bottom. You can go ahead and take the cables you soldered to the Neutrik, and run them through the top. It doesnt matter if it doesn't look perfect on the inside, as long as it is organized so you know where everything is and where its going.
Mine are labeled A/B and the main input is in the upper right hand corner in the picture.
Note: There is no easy way to mount the extension cord directly into the box without a huge mess, so I had to rig a little peice of wood to accommodate the wire and cover the hole. It took forever to make it look acceptable, if I could do it over I would purchase a mountable power plate like one of the last included picture on this page.
***Better pictures of my power plate are on the last page***
Step 7: Adding Velcro and Handles
This part is pretty straightforward as well, simply cut your Velcro to desired size and stick it on. Mine turned out to be about 13 3/4" long. I used the "felt" side on the board and decided to use the "hook" side for the bottom of the pedals.
The handles are pretty simple as well. I just measured a little under half the length of the sides, and screwed them in to both sides.
Step 8: Feed Your Power Through and Connect the Pedals!
Place your "velcro'ed" pedals on the mat, run your daisy chain through one of the holes and begin hooking everything up! All in all I am very pleased with the results, it suits my needs perfectly and it only cost about 60 bucks! I hope this Instructable could be of some help to you guys out there looking to make a expandable pedal board of your own....enjoy!