Intro: Guitar Effects Custom Pedal Board
For the budding musician, a looper pedal is supposed to be great for learning how to play, practice and jam with. I found a great deal on a used pedal and thought it would be perfect as a gift to my nephew who plays guitar. But knowing me, a pedal is a pedal, you need a pedal board to go with that. As everyone finds out, you just can't have one guitar effects pedal. This pedal board has room for a few more stomp boxes to expand a growing arsenal of sound.
Time is tight. See how you can make a personalized guitar effects pedal board.
Step 1: Timber...
This is a relatively simple woodworking project.
This was also using the various bits of wood strips I had leftover from previous projects.
1x2 stock for the rim.
1x3 stock for the two main support slats.
1x4 stock for the back power strip mounting plate.
1x6 stock for the upper name/logo slat.
The width of the inner pieces is 18 inches. Everything is marked off from that. Use a scrap block as a spacer to get the 3/4 inch gap which most musical instrument cable plugs I had can pass through.
When the inner pieces are laid out, cut pieces for a rim to go around them.
Now is the time to figure out where you need to drill your pocket hole screws to attach everything together.
Step 2: Don't Screw Around...
I'm a big user of pocket hole screws. They make constructing things like this so much easier so you don't need extra pieces to reinforce corners or joints. You just have to be more exacting in your cuts to get all pieces to fit square or all the same size like the rungs of a ladder. Me, that's means having some wood filler handy to patch up "little" gaps.
Every holiday season, if you are serious about woodworking, drop hints that you need more clamps. Yes, you can never have enough clamps.
I wanted the inner slats to be recessed a tiny bit so I used a piece of spare paneling/mdf wainscot as a thickness gauge. This gives the look of an amplifier front. You could also make an entirely flat panel face for your pedalboard if desired.
Start the assembly with making some sub-assemblies. The top and bottom edges can be glued to their respective neighboring pieces. There is not enough wood depth to use pocket hole screws for the front edge.
Lay everything out and start building. Pocket hole screws don't really need glue but I do put some glue on the wood joints just to be sure.
Step 3: Raise the Bar a Little...
The pedal board is a flat frame of slats.
It is very rigid but I glued on two pieces from 3/4 inch square stock on the back to connect the main support slats. It's really more to have something to tie on to or route the cables through.
To make it more ergonomically correct, the platform needs to be raised a bit in the back so you have something like a sloping footrest.
I wanted to add a piece where I could mount a surge protector/power strip in the back of the pedal board.
I came up with this design by trying out a few things with the scraps of wood I had. I could attach riser wings to the back piece and use that as support to raise the pedal board. I marked the angle that needed to be cut from the riser blocks so that the pedal board can attach more securely. A few more pocket screw holes to drill...
There is a gap created by "piggybacking" the pedal board where cables from the power strip can pass through. It turns out you can also use that part as a carrying handle for the pedal board.
Step 4: Crank It Up to 11...
Prep for painting by knocking down all the sharp edges with sandpaper and smooth all joints. Wipe with a damp paper towel to clean off the sanding dust.
I got a can of black stain/polyurethane because I wanted some of the wood grain character to show through. Regular enamel paint would have covered it a lot easier. Because this combo stain/poly was water-based, it took about 4 or 5 coats to get it dark enough to cover evenly. Good thing it dries faster so I could apply more coats quickly. Try to sand between coats to knock down any blobs or drips that appear.
I put two screws in the back bracket so that I could mount the surge protector/power strip. It comes in handy to plug in the wall warts and power supplies for your various pedals. Most power strips have mounting or hanger holes built in to the back. I also got this power strip because the outlets are oriented side by side instead of top to bottom so it might be easier to plug in a bunch of adapters without the wires that come out of the adapter getting in the way of the next.
To personalize this, I used E-6000 glue to attach the brass strip at the top and the 3D printed nameplate to the top panel. I had in mind the Marshall amplifier look (Ooooo... the Marshall amplifier logo font to rock that wall of sound vibe..). Create a graphic text design. I converted the GIMP jpeg file to .SVG. You can pull that into Tinkercad to extrude it. Output as .STL into your 3D printer slicer and generate gcode to print. Note that the brass strip and nameplate are off to one side. I did that because: 1) I did not have a single long brass strip that fit the entire width of the top. I could have spliced two strips together but the seam wouldn't have looked nice. And 2) I wanted to leave room for when he gets a wah-wah pedal or something else that might be bigger and not fit the below on two slats. It all works out.
I did have some black amplifier metal corner protectors to add but the rim on the pedal board was too small to fit where the mounting screws landed. Also I think it might be a 1/4 to 1/2 inch radius roundover on the edges to fit the cap. I guess I would have had to take the router out for a spin. You could paint a white stripe around the inside edges for that white trim banding or piping that goes around the grille cloth.
For final details, I attached 4 rubber feet at the bottom corners so that the unit wouldn't slide when used on hardwood floors. I also put on some rubber split loop cable clips on the bottom to help with cable management to tie down the tangle of cables that will appear.
I got some of the heavy duty industrial strength velcro strips to attach the effects pedal to the board. Some people use tie-wraps or they have metal tab extenders that attach to the unit's feet and let you screw the unit to the board. I'll let him do the velcro'ing so he can figure where he likes to place the pedal when using it. or