Picture of Proto Pedal for DIY Guitar Effects
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Designing and building your own guitar effects is a great way to combine a passion for electronics and guitar.  However, when testing new designs, I found the fragile circuit on the solderless breadboard was difficult to connect to patch cords and control the potentiometers.

The answer was simple: build a guitar pedal just for prototyping!

UPDATE:  The wire pin sockets I was using for signal in/out broke on me, so I made use of the spare holes and put in binding posts for them.  Definitely a great improvement.

Some great guitar pedal building references:

http://www.diystompboxes.com/wpress/   <- great forum

http://tonepad.com/projects.asp?projectType=fx <- well-documented projects

http://generalguitargadgets.com/ <- projects and kits available

http://www.geofex.com/ <- more good pedals and amp designs

  http://www.diyguitarist.com/<- lots of pedal stuff

  http://runoffgroove.com/ <- a good few more schematics and projects

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
You will need:

- 20 gauge aluminum sheet
- Solderless breadboard with adhesive backing
- 3x 100k ohm potentiometers (optional)
- 1M ohm potentiometer (optional)
- 4x knobs (optional)
- 2x Bolt on binding posts
- 2x 1/4" mono cable jacks
- 2.5mm DC power jack
- 9V/12V power brick w/ 2.5mm connector
- LED and holder
- 1k resistor
- DPDT footswitch
- 2x SPDT toggle switches (optional)
- Self-tapping screws
- Wire
- Solder

- Drill or drill press
- Sheet metal bender (aka brake press)
- Nibbler, notcher or tin snips
- Screwdriver
- Pliers
- Soldering Iron
- Scribing tool
- Center punch
- Hammer
- Wire cutters

TheRiz5 years ago
I think you might want to give a shout out to Beavis Audio Research, the maker of the commercial Beavis Board. http://www.beavisaudio.com/bboard/projects/ Also a great source for breadboard guitar FX project layouts!
mattthegamer463 (author)  TheRiz5 years ago
While the Beavis Board is the only real commercial Proto-pedal of sorts, the idea of mounting a breadboard to a power supply, or mounting it to a piece of wood to include extra parts/jacks/switches is not original to Beavis Audio. I also did not claim to invent guitar effect-focused prototyping platforms. The Beavis board is a nice product though, albeit slightly overpriced. Thats what DIY is for though, isn't it?
Congrats on your super cool prototype box, and for sharing it with the diy community. Regarding the slightly overpriced comment, I'd extend this challenge to all comers: try to build the beavis board in quantity, source all the parts, do the packaging, QA and support and see if you can turn a profit at the beavis board price point. Not something I'd recommend for the faint of heart :) However, that's not the point. It is all about DIY. That's why all my guides, projects, articles and in-depth how-to resources are, and always will be, free to all. Thanks for your great instructable! -beavis
And thank you for what you do!
mattthegamer463 (author)  danobeavis5 years ago
I didn't mean to offend. Being a DIY'er in general, I see anything I can make at home as "overpriced." I really like your project, and your site has some really good resources. Sorry to offend.
I see it that way too! A lot of guitar related commercial electronics is an out and out total rip off. Anyone offended by my comment is obviously having a defensive reaction due to guilt.
mattthegamer463 (author)  pfred24 years ago
Certainly anyone selling something for the DIY community is just offering a DIY-style project that is preassembled for the people who are interested but don't have the tools or the skills yet. The beavis board is a teaching implement, since it comes with projects and components, and it is a really nice and reasonable buy for the novice who wants to get into DIY guitar effects.
I don't usually try to 'turn a profit' on myself. DIY is about a lot of things, often times money not being the least of it.
To clarify: the link I posted: http://www.beavisaudio.com/bboard/projects/ has free .pdfs with both schematics & Comic-Style/Graphical layouts for breadboarding guitar effects.

If you don't have an engineering background, or can't read schematics, this information is invaluable to the hobbyist.

I do not own a Beavis Board myself as I built one using the plans which Dano Beavis makes freely available on his site! The "overpriced" comment is unnecessary. While I appreciate your instructable, especially the enclosure layout, Beavis has had information on the web about this sort of thing for several years and, more importantly, offers a source of information as to "what you do with it" once you have built this project.
mischka TheRiz4 years ago
Thanks for sharing that link!
fezrock5 years ago
Great simple idea! You're so right about pots and switches being a pain. Perfect solution. I'd post links to some other schematics websites, but I haven't dug them out of my new computer. (links didn't migrate well) Some quick searching will give you all you can handle for a long time though!
microman1715 years ago
Would be good if you linked to some of your favourite guitar pedal websites... I have had a look once before, but it would be good to learn the theory behind the pedal. That way it is easier to design them, and make new effects.
mattthegamer463 (author)  microman1715 years ago
Added on intro page. Good idea.
colin3535 years ago
OMG, I will make one of these immediately, amazing.
mattthegamer463 (author)  colin3535 years ago
Yes, since I have you my failotype unit ;) The works done for you.