music, guitars & other obsessions

Making Some Pedals – Finally

I ordered a bunch of parts for various pedals that I wanted to build, but kept putting the projects off because of the PCB. I even thought about getting a CNC machine to fab them. Well, after more than a year of procrastination, I finally make some boards with the laserjet heat-transfer paper and etching solution. Surprisingly, they came out ok considering it was my first attempt. Sure, the boards were bare looking, and do not have any solder mask or parts layout printed on them, but they worked just fine. Drilling the holes was pretty easy with the small bench drill press as well, no problem with alignment or drill bits breaking (yet).

Here are some shots of the boards:

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Now that I made some boards, instead of putting them into separate chassis as I originally planned, I am looking into the possibility of incorporating many of them into a modular multi-effects board like RG and Mark Hammer have been promoting. Not only does it save me the hassle of drilling, finishing, printing graphics for multiple pedal boxes, which is very time consuming and not something I am very good at anyway… the multi-effects approach can potentially provide much more flexibility in signal routing, and sound shaping.

Since I already have a busted Boss ME-10 multi-effects pedal, I am thinking about using its MIDI function and switches (which seem to be functioning still) and integrating it with the multi-effects. This would make for a very interesting project.

Alternatively, I could just stuff all the boards into one large chassis, and wire them up as JABE (just a bunch of effects), in which case, I think an old mixer would make a decent host chassis, since it contain all the knobs and jacks already. I just need to strip it down and re-populate with the PCBs and wire them up. I can also re-do the graphics for the front panel, so the knobs are clearly distinguishable from one another.

But before any of this could happen, I need to finish making the PCBs, so far I have only done three, so I got about 10 more to go…


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