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Topics - Leevibe

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Build Reports / TRS patchbay project
« on: October 16, 2020, 06:52:43 PM »

This is a 24 point TRS patchbay that I was commissioned to do by the musician Tycho. He had spotted my Epic Looper build and liked the graphic design aesthetic. I initially turned him down because I always end up taking way too long on builds and I hate the pressure of keeping someone waiting. He changed my mind though because he was super laid back about it and was willing to wait as long as needed.

Itís kind of funny because I didnít initially figure out who it was. I noticed that he had a huge IG following, then I realized I had already been listening to, and really enjoying, a lot of his music. Throughout the whole build process, he has been super patient. Any time I updated him with progress or pics he was super friendly and encouraging. Itís so cool to interact with someone in that domain who is enjoying some pretty significant success and is humble and cool. If you havenít listened to Tycho you should!

This build was deceptively tricky. He wanted it to be half-normalled and fully point to point because he was getting crosstalk issues with his existing PCB card based unit. He also wanted it in a 1.5U form factor and he likes the look and feel of the plastic jacks and wanted green nuts on all of the inputs. Sounds pretty straightforward, no? Holy cow.

I discovered that 1.5U enclosures are not something you can just go buy in quantities anywhere close to 1. So, I had the brilliant idea of mounting a 1.5U face plate to a 1U chassis. Of course I had already purchased 50 Cliff solder lug jacks. They are not compact. Had I known how challenging this would be I would have used different jacks or insisted on a 2U enclosure.

It was scary doing all of the drilling and trying to get everything located so that the graphics would look good, the scribble strips would fit and I wouldnít run into any of the chassis hardware. In the end I had to do lots of cutting and bending jack lugs and I drew up a mounting plate that would allow the jacks to be properly located and spaced without fear that they could rotate and short on each other. I also drew up a wiring jig that allowed me to hold all of the jacks in proper orientation while I wired them. I canít imagine not having had that option.

I also had to 3d print brackets that I could mount to the sides of the chassis to screw the faceplate into. These had to be thick enough to accept mounting hardware but thin enough to squeeze between the edges of the rack rail. I had to do a lot of cutting and grinding. I basically had to take off the entire front of the chassis to make room for all of the jacks.

As for the circuit, I looked at a few different configurations before settling on one that keeps all grounds isolated from the chassis and only connected per circuit. I figured out the easiest way to visualize how I wanted to do it was to pop out one of the cards from my cheapo patchbay and build the same circuit point to point. Itís not hard to imagine having crosstalk issues with these when you consider that these cheap bays just have 24 of these sitting side by side. Hopefully he will have no such issue with this one.

The black brushed/anodized look was achieved with vinyl wrap. The graphics on the front are printed vinyl that my buddy Forest Dukes made for me. The white numbers on the back and the logo are vinyl that I cut on my cricut. The logo is the same black vinyl as is covering the chassis but I rotated it 90 degrees to catch the light different. I think it looks pretty cool.

The overall graphic design was a collaboration between Tycho and myself. Heís not only a world class musician, heís also a world class graphic designer. Granted, itís a simple design but getting things to fit AND look good is always tougher than it should be and it always looks easy in hindsight.

Anyway it feels amazing to have this one off my plate. Iím really happy with the way it turned out despite its many flaws and Iím excited to get back into some of the pedal projects that have been waiting in the queue because of this one. Thanks for looking!

Open Discussion / Confession
« on: October 16, 2020, 05:55:49 PM »
Hey all. I haven't checked in here in months. I haven't even looked at a single post! There is no particular reason other than the initial shift when covid hit putting me on a different trajectory with work and home life. It made me too busy for just about anything else. Then I just kind of got caught up in taking care of my property and enjoying yard work etc.

So, why am I calling this a confession? I'm going to post a build report. I hate not being part of the MB community for months on end and then jumping straight in with a build report. It just feels slimy and self-promoting. But that's what I'm doing. Build report forthcoming and I am looking forward to some major catching up around here.

Open Discussion / UAD Luna anyone?
« on: January 24, 2020, 12:49:04 AM »
Has anyone else been following UADís announcement of their new LUNA DAW? I lurked on a couple UAD and Gearslutz threads that mostly devolved into Mac vs PC wars and a lot of angry speculation about its worthlessness.

I have to say that Iím pretty interested in this. I doubt Iím going to stop using LPX any time soon but I can imagine this greatly speeding up tracking and possibly mixing. Thereís more useful info in this Warren Huart video than anything else Iíve seen.

Iím kind of excited about it! I recently started using an Apollo twin MkII duo and Iím on a Mac so Iíll be ready to give it a whirl when they release it. I do wish the Neve summing were free but considering that theyíre offering the whole daw for free Iím not going to complain.

The relevant part of the video starts around 11:00.

Build Reports / Signal Conditioner
« on: January 18, 2020, 08:22:19 PM »
The snappiest name I have for this one would be the ďTurd PolisherĒ but I decided to just call it the ďSignal Conditioner.Ē Itís one Iíve actually been thinking about and planning for a very long time despite the spartan graphics.

This is a really nice gate into a bloviator that I added some fun features to. One of the things Iíve run into with the gate I was using was that if I switched between guitars, like going from a Tele to my P90 guitar I would have to change the threshold setting. On this one I put bypass on a toggle switch since itís not exactly something that gets turned on and off in a set. I then used a stomp switch to toggle between 2 different pots so I can have presets. Each pot has its own LED indicator. I was able to to accomplish it all with only a 3PDT by ganging the pot wipers to pad 2 on the board and only switching lugs 1 & 3. It switches nice with minimal popping.

I used a pair of tip shunting jacks between the circuits so I can individually place them in my chain. Normally I have run a gate near the front of my chain just to kill single coil hum and then a sonic stomp toward the end. I have noticed thereís enough hiss from the bloviator that I may put them both toward the end, just before delay/reverb and have the maximizer before the gate. Weíll see. Itís flexible enough for me to route either one wherever I want.

The knobs, stomp switches and fancy toggle switch dress nut come from BLMS. I'm actually pretty impressed with these compact 3PDTs. They're the cheapies but they have a really nice feel and sound and the solder lugs are nice. I'm sure I'll use them again. The board mounting brackets were drawn in Fusion 360 and printed in bronze PLA. I would normally use PETG but I ran out. I have to admit, it's nice printing in PLA after dealing with the gooeyness of PETG. And it prints so much faster.

To add to the fun, this includes a 10 segment display that functions as a VU meter of sorts. I hung that right off the output and it doesnít switch with bypass so itís always indicating signal strength. It doesnít give me any actual calibrated measurements but itís easy to see signal strength and itís a fun light show. That was a circuit and PCB layout I came up with like 5 years ago and I finally put it into something. I canít even remember fully how I came up with it but it works!

No fancy pics this time and the video and playing are crap. I just balanced my phone on my leg and played my bench guitar through my crappy bench amp to prove that the light show works.

Thanks for looking!

Open Discussion / More love for Smallbear
« on: December 13, 2019, 05:48:36 PM »
From time to time I see someone posting about how Smallbear dropped the ball or their prices are too high. I just want to say that I love Smallbear. I put in an order last week and it showed up yesterday. I always have this experience where I open a parts order and I have stuff I don't remember ordering, so I wasn't too surprised when there were parts I didn't recognize. But then I realized they had shipped me the complete wrong order. Ugh. So, I emailed them today about it. They got back to me immediately and let me know they had already noticed the problem and shipped my order and tracking shows it delivering tomorrow.

I love those guys! I don't care if a company makes mistakes if they are willing to take care of me like that.

Build Reports / Secret Sauce GOLD edition
« on: November 09, 2019, 06:32:08 PM »
The one I built myself got enough favorable reactions that I decided to do a little run of 5 of these. I'm glad I was able to buy these cases before PPP upped the minimum order.

I thought it would be fun to do a couple in gold instead of the chrome look, so, here it is! This uses the same process I used on the original one. It involves laser printing the graphic to acetate, then using a cheap laminator to bond the metallic film to the toner. It gets stuck down to the enclosure using UV cure resin and then ET is poured over the top. It takes patience to get it all to work right but it looks nice. I haven't been able to get a picture yet that can capture the depth and shine but it's really sweet looking.

Stomptown and Jubal81 did the schematic and layout for this. I think it's a really nice board. It features the 1776 Finish Line relay circuit onboard. Thanks for letting me use this Josh. It makes it so sweet! This pedal feels like a community effort. It's great to be part of the MB ecosystem.

Open Discussion / World's biggest pedal board???
« on: September 09, 2019, 01:21:48 PM »
I don't want to be snarky, but how is this the world's biggest pedal board? Wouldn't it rightly be called "most pedalboards strung together?" It's 34 boards, not one board. What am I missing? It's still a fun idea but some poor dude is out there somewhere who really does have the world's largest board. I feel sorry for him whoever he is.

Open Discussion / New on the to-watch list
« on: July 19, 2019, 12:51:24 PM »

Open Discussion / What do you love about pedal building?
« on: June 22, 2019, 09:21:31 PM »
This time of year I'm not able to be too active on the forum or with building because of all the other stuff I have going on. Checking in to post a build report and see what's happening around here feels almost somber. Everybody who has been at this a while seems to be slowing way down or even throwing in the towel. It looks like the flame is burning out.

As has been mentioned, many have built everything there is to build. The novelty has worn off, the way people interact on the internet has morphed. Fashions come and go in the music world as everywhere else. Etc. etc.

Still, there are some essential things about building pedals that don't seem to get old for me. I just wanted to share a few of them and see if anyone else shares some of the same loves. And maybe add to the list. So, in no particular order, here are a few of the things I love about pedal building...

- a shiny solder fillet
- seeing a bypass LED light up for the first time
- a perfect ET pour
- the look and heft of a populated PCB
- parts packages arriving
- just the imagining and planning of a build
- getting boards in from OSHpark
- seeing my artistic vision realized
- hearing a circuit do what it is supposed to do
- feeling certain that is sounds better boxed than when it was being tested. It's similar to the way new shoes made me run faster as a kid or the way washing my car makes it run better.
- the look of a drilled enclosure

There's lots more stuff like that for me. What I'm saying is that much of what I love about this is in the otherwise mundane elements that are somehow satisfying. I'm curious about what those elements are for the rest of us.

Build Reports / JMK/THcustom Epic Looper - with video
« on: June 21, 2019, 06:25:19 PM »
This is my implementation of the venerable JMK/TH Customs Epic Looper. This is such a fantastic loop switcher! Not just a great DIY loop switcher, but great period. It goes as far as you can go in functionality while staying completely simple. And itís so compact! I think everyone should build one. Now, if you want something that goes way beyond epic and space isnít a concern, take a look at Marshall Artsí Eoo3 project. Everyone else, build the Epic Looper.

I went a little off the reservation with this one in terms of making it my own. Here is a list of things I did that strayed from the build report:

- soft touch switches
- separate LEDs for programs/loops (vs bicolor LEDs)
- 7 segment bank display (This actually is an option provided by Jacob and Thomas but itís a little more work to build)
- extensive use of 3D printed parts to get everything to fit and mount. I also used 3D printed drilling guides
- custom printed/cut vinyl graphics by my friend Forest at Dukes Decals.

For more info on how I built it, check out the WIP thread.

Thanks for looking!

Open Discussion / SW Episode IX
« on: April 12, 2019, 11:18:04 AM »
Haters gonna hate, yawners gonna yawn. I don't care. I can't not get excited about a new StarWars movie.

Open Discussion / Fly your Blazer flag at half mast
« on: March 26, 2019, 07:58:02 AM »
Man, this sucks. Sorry, I know this isn't a sports forum but why can't Portland have a successful big guy who doesn't get crippled?

Build Reports / Epic Looper WIP: 6/21 update - FINISHED!
« on: March 23, 2019, 05:10:22 PM »
I got PIF'd a set of boards for this a long time ago and kind of forgot about them. Recently I was thinking about getting a loop switcher and I was trying to find one that would have some programmability but still be easy to use. Anything that would make me need to refer to the manual is right out. I already have that problem with my Timefactor! I realized that I already had the solution sitting in my pile of to-build. I actually really dig the looper Marshall Arts is developing and it looks like a super fun project. I thought about going that direction but this will work better with my needs and setup.

So, as of now, I have the audio and control boards populated and the case is all drilled out and partly stickered up with graphics decals. I'll be using enclosed switchcraft jacks, which I have in hand. I purchased some knockoffs of the alpha DPDT momentaries but I don't like the click so I'm going with soft touch SPDT switches. I also found a really sweet midi jack. So far it's looking like everything is going to fit.

I've been mocking the whole thing up in Fusion 360. I used 3d printed drill templates and an angled little jig to keep my drilling surface perpendicular to the drill bit. Everything is lining up really nice.

Being a bit colorblind I plan to use the 7 segment display instead of the single RGB bank indicator. I'm also splitting the bank and manual LEDs to make it simple for myself. It isn't making the build simple though. I'm working up some printed brackets to hold the LEDs and switch PCBs in place.

7 segment displays can be tough to read if they don't have some kind of filter in front of them, so I found some thin red plastic that I super glued to thin polycarbonate. I over drilled the top and mounted this red lens in to the hole. Then I flowed UV cure resin over that and then cured it with my daughter's nail polish UV light. It worked great. My graphic will cover over the big round hole and will only expose a rectangle so it should look pretty sweet when done.

Open Discussion / NGD
« on: March 13, 2019, 08:43:06 PM »
So, a friend just gave me this guitar! I'm still stunned. I know it's just a studio, but to me it's also two other things: a Gibson and a Les Paul. Two things I've never owned. Anyway, I'm super thankful for it and I'm definitely going to build him something cool as a thank-you.

Open Discussion / Hakko T18-BR02 bent conical tip?
« on: February 14, 2019, 02:13:36 PM »
The tip on my Hakko iron has lost a lot of plating and I'm having trouble getting joints to heat. I've been using a chisel tip but I miss using conical. The bent conical looks like it would be pretty nice. Anyone have any experience with it?


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