Building Custom Multi Effects Units

This project started when my flatmate said he could get whole sheets of PCB’s etched through his IT course from $8 a sheet. We couldn’t resist.

The idea was to have two units that housed 8 effects and theoretically saving us $$ on enclosures and parts ( that didn’t end up being the case in the end).

When went on to General Guitar Gadgets ( our go to source of DIY pedals builds at the time ). We ended up with; A Big Muff, 3 knob Tone Bender, Octavia, Orange Squeezer Compressor, Marshall Blues Breaker, Range Master Treble Booster, Silicon Fuzz Face and a Phase 45.

Version 1

The first version of these 4 in total units were pretty rough. The bare steel didn’t adhere paint like the cast alloy cases we were used to. Not to mention our dodgy wiring. We constantly had hum and power issues trying to mix up positive and negative ground circuits in the same unit.

Version 2 

A few years later I decided to rip them apart, got them powder coated and made up some matching pedal stickers for the top labels. The labels are the same stuff they use to sign write cars. They turned out pretty damn cool.

The Tidy Up

And in a box they sat for two years. I came to the realisation that I wasn’t going to use them anymore, so I went on a mission to tidy up the the insides and run clean power rails. Where needed I actually swapped the circuits out for better ones. The Germanium pedals got swapped for an LPB-1 and a newer tone bender with a voltage inverter.

One day i’ll most likely end up fixing my flatmates ones who had the same design flaws.

Materials:

  • Custom folded steel chassis
  • White powder coating from a friend's fridge factory ( cost me a box of beer )
  • PCB’s layouts from general Guitar Gadgets and parts from Jaycar or Smallbear
  • Custom stickers by myself and printed at the uni printshop.