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Topics - Leevibe

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Build Reports / Space Race
« on: January 20, 2019, 01:13:42 AM »
A Space Odyssey

The year was 1957. The USSR had just slung Sputnik into space to circle the globe, taunting the USA with its incessant beeps. In America, people dug their fallout shelters. In Russia, they drank vodka. The space race was on and the Soviets were crushing it.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, there was a whole different kind of space race. In this reality there was no arms race, but rather an arm-in-arm quest by the Russians and Americans to launch out into and explore space together. It is from this universe that the Space Race pedal has emerged…

This pedal is a MB Pork Barrel (CE2) into a tap tremolo. I built it for a great guy, Dillon, who plays in a band called Common Hours. He’s the guy playing the Tele.

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Dillon wanted a chorus—CE2 in particular —and trem together in one box. As we started working through ideas, I suggested the MusicPCB Tap Tempo Tremolo because of its versatility. He really got excited about that idea so we started talking about the look and style of the pedal. He really wanted something space oriented. Originally we were thinking some kind of sci-fi art and maybe a mission to Mars kind of thing. There was some going back and forth as we tried to come up with an idea we both liked and that I thought I could pull off.

Inspiration hit when he asked me if I could incorporate Russian text into the graphics in some way. (He had been studying Russian) That’s when the whole cold war idea hit me. I asked him what he thought about a pedal themed around the space race with both US and Soviet styling cues. I thought it would be fun to imagine that it was actually a collaboration. He totally dug the idea so I started searching for images of old control consoles from that era. Then I got to work in Pages trying to draw something that could fit into a 1590XX.

I realized that the MusicPCB board wasn’t going to fit, so I got to work drawing up a schematic using ideas from the Electric Druid and MusicPCB docs. Then I did the smart thing and sent my schematic to Stomptown to have him do the layout. I always love and admire his work.

Next, I got to work looking for cool aerospace looking parts that could either mimic the parts I was seeing in the reference pictures or could at least look like they fit. I found some pretty cool stuff at PC Flights and Perihelion Design. I also found some sweet non-run-of-the-mill stuff at some of the more traditional parts suppliers.

One of the goals all along was to make this thing look like it truly could be 60 years old. I learned some cool stuff by watching videos on steampunk. I was able to make the black plastic knobs look like they were metal that had some of the paint wearing away. To do this I used a “dry brush” technique. It’s really fun. You take a paint brush, put some metallic paint on it, scrub it back and forth on a paper towel until it doesn’t look like any more paint will come off of it, then swipe it back and forth across the high spots of the part you want to distress. It slowly deposits paint and allows you to build it up slowly. To create the patina, I used a brown stain/wash kind of paint. You paint it on, let it settle into cracks and crevices, and then wipe away the excess.

Another cool thing about this build is that all of the plates are machined from 1/8” aluminum. Special thanks to my good buddy Gary for cutting them for me. We went through a couple different versions. That’s why some of the pics don’t have the engraving in them. I wanted it to look like removable modules. I feel like the spray painting job was the best I’ve ever done, which isn’t actually saying much. I actually did the whole wet sanding, multiple coats thing. They came out beautiful. Then I beat them all up to look old. The lettering was filled by spraying black and then wiping off.

One of the issues Gary and I ran into was he wasn’t able to get the engraving of the Cyrillic text because it had to be smaller. I figured a decal could work but I wasn’t sure how I was going to get one that would be tough enough and wouldn’t look like a decal. Enter Forest Dukes of Dukes Designs. It just so happens that his shop is across the street from my work. It also happens that he is extremely cool and helpful. I will absolutely be looking for help from him for future projects. He is able to print onto really tough vinyl in high detail and he can cut the decals to crazy shapes. The Russian decal exactly fits the aluminum plate that its attached to.

A while back, Dillon came to me and asked if I could somehow incorporate the “Caution Explosive Bolts” text from the escape pod on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Hopefully a few of you already had it figured out) I took a couple of the best images I could find of it and did my best to exactly replicate the text. I was originally going to put it on the bottom of the pedal but he uses velcro. So, I figured out a better place to put it! It looks so rad having the in/out jacks be the “explosive bolts.”

One of the things I ran into early on with this project was, how was I going to make all this stuff fit and work? I had been wanting to use a slide pot with a needle indicator for a while and I had dreamt up different ways of doing it, but none of it seemed realistic. The same with the little earth globe thingy. By the way, there are 2 interesting things about that globe. One is cool, one is… frustrating. The globe is obviously old because it has “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” printed on it. Fitting! The sucky part is that there is a cat hair that is forever entombed. I worked so hard to keep it clean but I failed.

Anyway, as I was working out how I was going to mount and fit all this stuff, I had bought myself a 3D printer and was learning 3D modeling. One day it just dawned on me that I could print custom mounting brackets to hold stuff in place. Many iterations later I had a working internal bracket for the globe, slide pot, internal LEDs, and indicator light boxes. I also came up with a solution to fit a needle indicator, which actually uses a regular old sewing pin that I clipped to length. I also made board brackets for the Finish Line bypass boards and a bracket for the jacks and switch on the top of the pedal. 3D printing drilling jigs is also awesome.

Cutting and drilling seemed like it would never end for this thing. All of the screws on the pedal are actually functional. It required a drill press to make sure that all holes were square to the surface of the pedal so the screw heads would sit flat. I first drilled out all of the aluminum plates and then used them as guides to drill the enclosure. I snapped a couple drill bits in the process but everything lined up beautifully.

I wanted the wiring to be cool and different. I had looked at a lot of cable lacing on line. It’s an elegant old-school way to make wiring harnesses. I think it’s beautiful. With the exception of a little bit of PVC hookup wire for some tight spots, the whole thing is wired with pushback cloth wire. I laced it using waxed linen thread that I bought at the craft store. I’m super happy with the way it came out.

Final assembly and wiring was like solving a puzzle and I was never really sure it would all go together until it finally did! I’m so grateful that I was able to get it. I had two really late nights last week pushing to get this thing done. This was a white whale that took me almost two years from conception to completion. I’m so glad to be getting back to my queue of projects. Hopefully 2019 will be a year I knock out several builds. We’ll see.

Thanks for looking!!

Build Reports / Secret Sauce (GC Chimaera)
« on: October 05, 2018, 03:32:37 PM »

This was built on a Grind Customs Chimaera board that I've had populated for a very long time. I had the Sriracha idea for a while too and one day it dawned on me that a "Roostaur" would be funny. So, here it is!

The chrome graphics were done by thermally bonding embossing foil onto an acetate sheet that I had laser printed the graphic onto. I used UV curing resin and a UV LED to bond the acetate down to the surface of the pedal. Then I used regular ET to cover the top. The Sriracha cap knobs came from BLMS. The enclosure is a red starlight powder coat from PPP. Unfortunately, I couldn't capture the depth of color and sparkle that the pedal displays in real life. It's a pretty deep candy clear with lots of sparkle. It looks really good. This also has a 3D printed board bracket, wire guides, and jack mounting bracket. That lets the power jack mount to the bracket instead of the enclosure which insets it nicely. The clear wire insulation is just 1/16" clear heat shrink tube over prebonded 24ga wire that I stripped the insulation off. It didn't end up looking as cool as I was hoping but I still like it. I guess it pretty much looks like speaker wire.

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoy it.

Open Discussion / I think I just committed robbery
« on: September 05, 2018, 01:33:07 PM »
I've had a particular toggle switch stored in a "project" on Arrow Electronics for months. I got an email with a 15% code and notice they are doing free overnight shipping, so I ordered the switch yesterday. The price shipped, after tax, was cheaper than the normal pre-tax price for the part and I now have the part!

It was a single locking lever mini DPDT switch but it was double ESD bagged and then shipped in a box that could have held hundreds of them. Then there were three additional ESD baggies-- one for the nuts, and one each for the washers. It's like I broke into someone's house and said, "Give me all your money" and they said "Here you go, but don't leave without taking a fresh baked cookie. And here's the keys to the car. There's a coupon for a free wash and wax in the glove box."

Open Discussion / free arduino at arrow
« on: June 04, 2018, 12:16:42 PM »
I just got the mailer today. Not a bad little deal. Spend $25 and get an Arduino Uno and free shipping. I have at least one project in mind that I could use that for.

Build Reports / Lotus Fuzz (Stomptown Harmonic Fuzz)
« on: April 15, 2018, 08:19:20 PM »
I've been working for about a year now on a really challenging build for a friend of a friend. the pedal is coming along but I'm waiting on some machining work that's taking longer than expected and I hated keeping this very patient guy waiting so I offered to build him something cool on my dime.

This is Stomptown's layout of the Harmonic Percolator. I've had the circuit built but not boxed for a very long time. I thought it would make a cool circuit for the purpose. It's such a fantastic sounding fuzz.

I've really gotten into 3D printing and I have a whole internal structure modeled and printed for the fancy pedal I'm working on. I realized that this pedal would benefit from the same type of thing on a smaller scale. I was able to create a 3D printed mounting piece to allow me to top mount signal and power jacks on a 1590B. It works great and it spaces the Lumberg jacks into the enclosure so they're not so sticky-outy. It's bugged me that I couldn't find any star washers to fit these jacks. This holds them in place and gives them the perfect inset. The power jack mounts directly to the printed part and just protrudes through a hole in the enclosure. No need to mount it to the case. I also created a bracket to mount the PCB to that's held in place by the stomp switch. Of course I also 3D printed drilling templates to make sure everything lines up precisely. This is such a fun way to work!

If anyone has a 3D printer and wants to try out the top mount setup just PM me and I'll send you STLs of the bracket and drilling template. If you want to design your own, Hammond and Lumberg offer STEP files of their jacks and enclosures. I was able to drop them right into Fusion 360 and model around them.

Open Discussion / Clarett USB. Say what??
« on: January 13, 2018, 01:54:20 PM »
I thought the point of Focusrite's Clarett line was zero latency via thunderbolt. This looks like a re-badged Scarlett with a fancier GUI and a new DSP algorithm to emulate the ISA1. There's no latency advantage here. You still need to do direct monitoring from what I can see. Focusrite is really getting more and more into the smoke and mirrors game.

I'm still using a Saffire unit that works perfectly.

Open Discussion / If you haven't been to BLMS for a while...
« on: January 04, 2018, 08:17:48 PM »
Take a look at what Lawrence is carrying these days.

A few years ago I had put in a request for Taiway or similar quality toggles in a 3pdt short bat configuration. He was only carrying the cheapies at the time and I didn't feel confident about using them in customer builds. I honestly forgot about it and figured my suggestion was white noise even though he said he appreciated the feedback.

Fast forward to October and he sends me an email referencing my request and says that he's now carrying the Taiway brand! I was super impressed that he tracked the communication and followed up. At that time he still didn't have the 3PDTs but he does now!

He really has some fantastic prices and does a great job of being honest about which parts are really nice quality and which need to be treated gingerly. I really like that. I'm planning to buys some of the toggles and I want to give one of those DeMont super premium stomp switches a try when he gets them back in stock.

Open Discussion / Question for my Russian friends
« on: December 27, 2017, 06:36:58 PM »
I'm working on a custom build for a guy who wants to have Russian labeling for controls. He has been studying Russian but isn't fluent enough to be confident he would get the names right and I'm not sure google translate would work either. The circuit is a CE-2, so I'm looking for the Russian words for: chorus, vibrato, rate, level, and depth in the guitar effect sense of the words.

I'm not sure if it's possible to put cyrillic script here on the forum. If not, I can give my email address to whoever can help me out. Thanks!

Open Discussion / Merry Christmas!
« on: December 25, 2017, 08:58:31 AM »
Merry Christmas friends! It’s 26F and white outside. That’s pretty rare for where I live.

Open Discussion / NGSD
« on: October 18, 2017, 02:39:05 PM »
I decided to splurge and get a decent guitar stand for once in my life, having always used the $10 tripods. I was a little stuck between the Hercules or the K&M. I love K&M mic stands so I figured the quality would be good. I wasn't wrong. This thing is tight and solid and will hold anything very securely. At $44 it is more than worth it. The only thing that makes me nervous is what it might do to a nitro finish, but from what I've learned, don't trust any rubber or foam on nitro for any length of time. Should be fine for when my guitar is on stage though.

Open Discussion / The Last Jedi
« on: October 09, 2017, 09:58:32 PM »
We have reserve seating already purchased for opening night thanks to my kid. I’m not as pumped for this as I feel like I should be. I feel like TFA is still holding up well for me. I hope this can live up.

Open Discussion / Hey friends. It's been a while
« on: July 15, 2017, 09:12:42 AM »

I just wanted to drop a line in to say hi to my MB buds since it's been forever. There's no real reason for not being active around here other than just other stuff in life that's had my attention. Then it starts to feel like it's going to be a bunch of work to get caught back up with all the posts I've missed.

I got the photobucket shakedown email the other day and that was enough to make me want to hop on and see if others were seeing the same thing. Well, thanks photobucket. I needed the kick in the pants to get back here and see what my friends are up to. Sorry I won't be sending you 400 bucks. Or any bucks.

I'm slowly churning through some builds but I don't have anything to show yet. It could be a while too. Hopefully this fall I'll have something worth posting.

Bought me a 3D printer kit. (Anet A8) It's on its way from China. I'm looking forward to playing with that. I'm sure it will be frustrating and fun.

The only other thing I've been geeking out over lately is buying plants and trees for my place. I guess I'm doing landscaping but that's kind of a strong word for it. I love it though.

My wife and I were out in Stomptown's neck of the woods this past week so they invited us over for a BBQ and I got to see what he's been working on. I won't spill the beans, but Jon has not been idle. I hope he posts soon.

peace out

Open Discussion / Happy Easter!
« on: April 16, 2017, 04:05:00 PM »
Better late than never

Open Discussion / A 3D printer that I might be interested in
« on: March 06, 2017, 11:26:24 PM »
Curious if those of you who already own 3D printers think this machine would be a practical, useful tool. This video suggests that it is. I kind of want one

Open Discussion / Handmaking nixie tubes
« on: January 09, 2017, 10:40:15 AM »
This is a fascinating watch if you have the time. I'm surprised at how much of this he just eyeballs. There must have been a mountainous learning curve with a crazy amount of trial and error. And the equipment investment looks huge.

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