Here's how you can make your own pedal-box for your budding DIY rock-n-roll career. You *could* buy one of these that would be lighter, but also more expensive. Why not BUILD YOUR OWN?! :)
Step 1: Background Info
DIY is very "rock-n-roll" these days, or so it seems - complete with heroes, big money, and, well, the presence of detectable groupies has yet to be determined.. But what could possibly be more rock-n-roll than...rock-n-roll itself?? And DIY-rock-n-roll must be like, the ultimate, right? Well anyway, if you're still reading, let's get down to business. This instructable is about building your own pedal-box, so you can bring all of your reverb/tremolo/thrash pedals to the show *already pre-connected to each other*. That way you don't have to spend valuable on-stage time plugging them all in after the earlier band finally clears out (time is of the essence here, because the only thing standing between you and thousands of screaming groupies is your lousy pile of cables and power supplies). So get moving!
Step 2: What You Need
Here are the materials you need in order you make your own super-spiffy pedal-container-box...
- small (1-inch-or-less per side) angle-braces
- nuts and bolts
- a handle
- a latch (we used window latches)
- paint or varnish
- velcro or carpeting
- stickers from your favorite indie rock bands
Step 3: First Step: Cut the Wood
The first step is to cut the wood into the shapes that you need for the box. I won't give exact dimensions or shapes, because you should decide for your self what size you need.. But have a look at the pictures to get a general idea of how I did it, to stoke your rock-n-roll creative powers.. I used a skil-saw (circular blade, hand-held) for most of the cutting.
If you look at the picture of the final box, you can see that the overally shape is two wedges that fit together. Note that the diagonal seam where they meet doesn't have to be a straight line - in fact, making this boundary curved may help the two pieces fit together even better (props to Ben Vigoda for that idea). You could make that seam curvy by cutting the side of the box from a single piece of plywood, and using one side of the cut for each part.
Step 4: Next Step: Drill Holes, and Fasten the Pieces Together
Drill holes that are just larger than the diameter of the bolts that you've got, so that the bolts will slip in easily but they don't have much extra room. (it's a good idea to test your hole size on a scrap of wood before you drill into your actual box pieces, in case you've got a drill bit that's too big)
Step 5: Sidenote: Angle-braces
Note: we made our own angle-braces from a long L-shaped piece of aluminum that we cut into lots of little pieces. Then, we drilled 4 holes into each one, so that it could have 2 bolts through each face into the wood. You can make your own too, or else you can probably find something just as good to buy at a hardware store.
Step 6: Attach the Latches
Now, if your DIY experience is starting to inexplicably suck, have a glass of water or two - you're probably dehydrated.
Now that you're feeling better, take heart - you're almost ready for rock-n-roll! Attach the latches to the box so that they will keep it closed when you're carrying it around. If you can find better latches than these, please post pictures - these particular ones are probably the weakest part of the current design.
Latches like these will most likely come with their own wood screws for attachment.
Step 7: Attach the Handle
Now you're really almost done! But stay focused, you've still got to attach the handle before you strap your pedals inside and toss the whole shebang into the back of the tour van. Using your same well-honed screwing technique (or bolting, as you wish) as you used on the latches, fasten the handle in place and make sure that everything is tight.
Step 8: Wrap Up - Coatings, Inside, Power, Etc..
Well, the structure is built. Have another glass of water. Think about how you'd like to arrange your pedals on the inside of the box.
But before you stick the pedals in there permanently, there are a few final things to think about:
- Painting the box? This will help weather-proof it, and generally make it more durable. On the other hand, if you like the natural wood look, a wood varnish (sometimes called "marine varnish") will let it show through. You could even put a wood stain onto it first (before varnish!) if you want it to look like dark mahogany - this is a nice touch. Stickers will also stick better to a varnished box than to a raw plywood one.
- What material you want inside the box? Your pedals won't stick to the wood itself. Coating the inside "floor" of the box with velcro can be a good way to keep pedals in place (use the soft side on the box, scrapey side on the bottom of the pedals).
- If you want to keep the inside of the box bare wood, you could use cable-ties through the bottom of the box. Arrange your pedals where you want them, then make dots with a pencil where you want to drill holes through the box. Dril the holes, and thread cable ties around and through to keep the pedals in place.
- Power - you could cable-tie or velcro a power-strip right into the inside of the box! Then all you have to do at a show is to plug it into the wall, plug your audio cables through, and you're ready to go. Think about all the extra time with the fans!