Today we finally finished up the Holey Vengeance Pedal Board. Well for now at least. There are a couple of details I’d like to tweak, but I’ll leave those for a future post. Most of this phase consists of building the channel strip on the back of the board. It all honesty, this is just an add-on. I did not originally intend for this to be part of the board, but the inspiration for it struck me out of nowhere. As a result it doesn’t fit the layout of the board as well as I’d like and the sizing causes a couple of issues. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it does create some issues that may need adjustment in the future.
The purpose of this strip is to ease connection of the board to an amp and to avoid constantly plugging in and out of the actual pedals to prevent wear and tear on them. There are two loops here. Each loop run from the amp or instrument into a series of pedals and back out of the pedals into the amp. This is designed to allow for one loop to connect a set of pedals to the front of the amp and the other loop to connect a set of pedals into the effects loop of the amp. There is also a toggle switch that bridges the two loops together. This is for the occasion when the amp I’m playing through does not have an effects loop. The bridge basically shunts the first pedals loop directly into the second pedal loop and runs them all in series directly to the front of the amp. This way I simply flip a switch and connect the output to the amp to a different jack to change whether I’m running two loops or just one.
Right now I don’t have a good schematic of the circuit. All I have is a drawing I made by hand at work. I’ll attach a proper drawing once I get a chance to draw it into a computer.
First of all let’s take a look at the housing of the strip.
The center hole is drilled to 1/2″ for the toggle switch. The outer holes are 3/8″ and spaced 1″ apart. These are for mounting the 1/4″ jacks.
Next I mounted all the jacks and switches on the outside of the strip. This provided a convenient way to hold them in place and also allowed for accurate spacing so I didn’t have too much excess wire between parts.
This is what it looks like after soldering all the wiring into place.
Next I figured I would go ahead and cut the back plate for the strip and get it painted so it could dry while I was working on other things. I had to make the back plate deeper than planned in order to allow plenty of room for the jack tips inside.
I just used my router to carve a slot down the center of the back piece after cutting it to the correct size. I painted that and set it aside to dry.
Next I needed to shield the strip to keep interference out of the signal chain. I’m using aluminum duct tape, which you can buy at most any home improvement store.
Notice how I folded the edge back on itself. This tape has a plastic backing, which is non-conductive. I folded the edge over so this piece and the piece under it would have a metal on metal connection where they overlapped. I would have soldered the edge together if I was using copper foil, but aluminum does not accept solder so that was not an option here.
This is the inside of the top half of the strip after I finished shielding it. I overlapped the edges of the shell as well so when the top and bottom halves are pushed together the shielding will make contact and complete the cage.
The inside of the strip is very tight so I wanted to do something extra to make sure no part of the jacks touched the shielding and grounded out when they weren’t supposed to.
It’s hard to see here, but I attached some self stick closed cell foam I bought from the crafts section at Wal-mart to the sides of the cover. I left the top with the holes bare metal so the jacks would touch it when installed. The foam on the sides prevents the jack tips from brushing the metal by accident.
Here is the shell with all the guts installed.
Here is a top view.
I was thinking of printing labels for all the jacks but decided to just hand label them with a paint marker.
The connections are not as complex as they may appear. The white lettering is for the dual circuit. Basically you have the following.
Inst. In – The guitar or other instrument plugs in here.
To PS1 – Out to the first pedal in the first set of pedals.
From PS1 – In from the last pedal in the first pedal set.
To Amp – Out to the face of the amp.
FX In – The send of the effects loop connects here.
To PS2 – Out to the first pedal of the second set of pedals.
From PS2 – In from the last pedal in the second set of pedals.
FX Out – Connects to the receive of the effects loop.
This functions as two separate loops when the switch is flipped to Dual.
When flipped to the gold Sing. (Single) position, the To Amp and FX In jacks are bridged inside the strip. It’s just like plugging a patch cable from To Amp into FX In. This connects the two loops one after another. The following changes are made to the circuit.
To Amp and FX In become N/A, which means they are not used at all.
FX Out becomes To Amp and connect directly to the face of the amp.
This allows both loops to be run as one long loop directly into the front of an amp. This is convenient for amps that do not have an effects loop. I can avoid switching cables around to change the way the loop runs and just flip a switch instead.
Next, I shielded and padded the bottom of the housing just like I did the top part.
The strip itself was finished at this point. All I had to do was press the two halves together to complete the shielding and clamp them onto the board.
To attach the unit, I decided to use U Bolts. The first thing I had to do was determine their position and drill the holes for them.
One bullet hole on each end lined up perfectly. I just drilled another corresponding hole across from each one to slide the other leg of the U bolt through.
On the back, I slid the metal retainer plate into place and threaded the nuts into place with a socket until the unit was firmly clamped. Then I used a rotary tool with a cut-off wheel to trim the extra length off the bolts.
The stainless steel bolts can kill a carbide wheel really quickly.
Once the bolts were cut and ground smooth I reinstalled the foot I had to move since it was exactly where the metal retainer had to lay.
Here is the finished product.
That completes the Holey Vengeance build for now. I’d like to detail a few issues I have with it though.
First of all, I was planning on the channel strip sitting a lot lower than it does. The bottom half was not really planned for, but I could only find a limited number of materials to try and make the strip from and it just wasn’t quite deep enough. The addition of the bottom half adds about 3/4″ to the height of the strip. This makes it difficult to have enough room to attach the cables to the strip. I can only use right angle connectors here. Straight plugs can’t plug into the strip due to the shelf putting them at an angle for insertion. Right angle plugs work fine though. I’m considering adding a hinge system to the shelf to allow it to tilt out of the way to make connections to the strip easier, but I have to think on that one a while.
The other issue is that the board has warped a little during production. It rocks the slightest bit when on a flat hard surface. I’ll have to shim the feet with some washers to level it out. This was almost bound to happen since the board is constructed of a single flat bottom piece.
Other than those issues I pretty happy with it. I may add some black rope wrap to the handles to give it a beefier grip.
That’s it for tonight. Once the paint cures completely I’ll get the pedals in place and take a few follow up photos. Until then, thanks for reading.