Introduction: Cheap DIY Modular Synth Case
A guide to build a really cheap Eurorack case for starting to play with modular synths.
It took me more or less an afternoon so it's quick to build and no special tools are needed.
First of all, I've found some curtain rods in a shop near home and I discovered that they were just right for M3 screws (standard used in eurorack stuff). It's actually 2m long and with this length is possible to obtain a 2 row 3U 97-98hp case (Each rail is 49cm long). Moreover there's a bit of space left between the two rails, I'll put in the near future some 1U stuff like utility modules.
Check out Doepfer's spec website, really useful for eurorack standard : http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a100m_e.htm
This is how much I've spent on this:
-Curtain rails 13 euros
-Angled supports 2 euros
-Various screws 2 euros
-Mdf panels 10 euros
-Brown paint 6 euros
-transparent paint 8 euros
As you can see it's really cheap indeed. A normal 2 row 3U 84HP case (without the 1U space like mine has) would cost at least 100-200 euros. Mine is only about 30!! Moreover, it's really good-looking and funny to build!
Step 1: Preparin Rails
As you can see there's not so much to do and to explain.
I cut each rod49cm long to make the rail and then I put a metal angled support like the on in photo and screwed all together (Note: I scrapped the end of the rod to obtain enough space for the support).
Step 2: Building the Wooden Case
I then fixed the external rails to the mdf case and glued all together. The case is made out of MDF. I waited about a day and mounted the remaining rails in the correct position (Note: they have to be 12.8cm far from the external rails).
Step 3: Final Corrections
After waiting the glue to dry, I took some modules I own and put them on the case to see if I mounted rails in the right position. Then I drilled some holes on the rail to slide into it my M3 bolt. The hole will be covered by a module so it won't be visible.
I finally painted the case with brown color (sorry I didn't take a photo on that).
"A bit of history of the briefcase". The funny thing is that my grandpa was an IBM computer mantainer in 1960. He used briefcases to transport HDDs and technical stuff he used. After leaving work in 70s he left those briefcases in the attic and he forgot about them for ages.
A year ago I discovered them in my grandpa's house and decided to fit in those a cool modular setup. I actually own four of those and they're all gonnna be modular synth cases.
Therefore that's why there's a little space between rails, I built this case to fit perfectly in the briefcase shown in photo
6 years ago
its all about those rails- do you have a manufacturer?
Reply 6 years ago
I found them in a common hardware store. They're just curtain rails (you know, when you have a curtain and you need it to slide on something, that thing right there). I'm lucky cause I didn't want to spend thousands of money in modular cases
Reply 2 years ago
Think I found the curtain rail on Amazon. Can't find it at any hardware store. Can anybod confirm this will work for Eurorack?
Reply 1 year ago
It likely does not matter that much. The main thing to consider is the gap. Does the gap support the same size screw you will be using to mount your modules with? I would suspect you want sheet metal screws with a somewhat wide pitch. Not sure what the standard size screw is but it should not be to hard to figure out.
Personally I would go with something metric and Hex or starpoint over Philips.
After that its just making sure you have the dimensions right. The fact that folks are trying to charge 300 to 1000 for a basic box is simply fraud. Even with a power supply and back-plane these things should not be that expensive. You need +5, +12 GND and -12. Plenty of high amperage versions of that around.
Switching power supplies are dirt cheap thanks to the PC market. The Back-Plane is ribbon cable based and the connectors are super plentiful.
I happen to have started my own box using an old case for an 8 inch Celestron telescope. Its probably too large at the moment but I doubt I run out of space anytime soon.