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Messages - rullywowr

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Hi everybody!  I always have been into amp building, pedal modding, etc...I found this site by looking for something (I think it was a compressor DIY) and now am bitten by the bug.  I built a BYOC before but this site is responsible for me etching my own boards, ordering a powder coating setup, and hours spent finishing up a EagleCAD layout for a certain pedal that begins with the letter "T"!  I am currently on travel but will post some pics of my latest creations when I get back.  Thanks for all the info, I can't wait to finish up some projects when I get back.

I figured I would share some helpful n00b tips that I learned over the past month or so...from this site and by poking around on the internet.

1.  Etching is much easier than I thought!  If you are scared - don't be!  It is really not that hard and really cool to play around with acid that eats metal!  Use Muriatic Acid (get it from Lowes not Home Cheapo cuz theirs is safer {which translates to pu**y}) and mix it 1 part acid to two parts Hydrogen Peroxide.  Works even better if you immerse the container in a hot water bath.  Don't breathe the fumes.  - Be safe probably do it outside if you can.

2.  Get a good quality soldering iron with a fine tip.  I use a Weller PES51 with the digital temp control and it has served me well for a number of years now. 

3.  A dedicated and modified laminator is the BOMB for toner transfer!  Just don't try to feed regular 1/16 PCB copper clad through the laminator.  You will break it and the motor will go "clack clack" (ask me how I know).  If you haven't - check out this guy's tutorial (which includes the thermal fuse and thermostat part numbers from Mouser and Digikey).  For $20 for a used laminator and another 5 bucks in parts...this mod will make all your etching dreams come true and you won't have to screw around with an iron.

4.  Properly applied Toner Reactive Foil (TRF) is awesome and makes your traces dang near perfect) especially with the laminator.  You basically run this over the fresh toner you just layed down and it makes the toner even more resistant to your etching solution.  The Pulsar stuff works great.

5.  Double check your values (especially for caps).  I couldn't figure out why my Serendipities weren't working until I checked that I had the wrong value.  I usually take the parts list and translate into uF using a spreadsheet which works easier for me.

6.  I think the hardest part of DIY pedal building is sourcing the parts.  I highly recommend the Mouser Project Manager tool as you can reorder another type of pedal in a flash once you do the work once.  Of course cheaper parts such as from Tayda, eBay and others can go a long way as well if you want to order in bulk.  I place all the parts on a spreadsheet (Excel or Google Docs) and when I am ordering each part I color it.  Green=I already have it on hand.  Orange=I just ordered it and placed it in my shopping cart.  I originally bought Hammond enclosures but lately have been way more impressed with the New Sensor (1590NS) and similar for less than 1/2 the price!

7.  Build a Beavis Board (or similar) long as it revolves around 2 jacks, a stomp switch, 9V supply, and a bus bar (screw type with 6 positions) it will be way worth it. 

8.  I highly recommend getting a looper pedal (Boss RC2, Boss RC3, Digitech Jam Man, etc).  This allows you to just hit "play" and tweak your pedal without actually plugging in.  Of course you want to plug in to hear how it reacts with your guitar but a looper is a great practice tool as well as a great pedal "does it work" tool.

9.  You really need to get the Teflon Coated 22AWG stranded wire (eBay or similar)  If you haven't tried it already.  This stuff is the best.  Makes for a neatly wired box and the coating never burns.

10.  Get a toaster oven.  If you paint your enclosures now with rattle cans or wish to powder coat them in the future- it is worth it.  Additionally, I would recommend a Laser Printer.  I got an old HP 6MP from a friend for free that he was going to throw out because it was old and only had a Parallel port.  I got a Parallel port converter to put it on my router at home ($10) and now can print using WiFi from any is the best for PCB transfers and decals.

I am sure there is more but I hope these tips can help someone who is just starting.  Oh yeah, a drill press and UniBit work great too!

Open Discussion / Re: Tinning an etched board
« on: August 29, 2011, 01:01:18 AM »
I would also suggest that on your next mouser order you get a flux pen.  They are about 5 bucks and make tinning so easy and sweet.  I also hit up the 3DPT switches with them because sometimes those 9 lugs are a bear to solder.

Open Discussion / Re: Cutting PCB's
« on: August 29, 2011, 12:59:41 AM »
Score with a utility knife, place in vise right next to the score.  Push and....*snap!*.  I finish it off with a belt sander (outside of course).  KISS.

Open Discussion / Re: I cannot believe...
« on: August 29, 2011, 12:56:27 AM »
I did the same thing but on a different vein.  I purchased two of the Deluxe Memory Man with Tap Tempo while they were still available (MN3005 goodness).  I am using one and the other is NIB...I am telling myself that it is an investment.  A very rare, now out of production, pedal NIB...10 years down the road it could be worth some serious coin!

Oh, the DMMwTT is absolutely the bomb - delay is my favorite effect and this one just nails it. 

I'd suggest quicker solder work on the wires or get some of the lovely teflon coated 22ga wire avail on ebay (it's the shit!)

+10000000 8)

Build Reports / Re: Frank 'n' Beans
« on: August 20, 2011, 11:25:38 PM »
Love the extra "flair" on the 'curly-Q' leads you have running on the diodes attached to the switches.  Great build, very well done.

Tech Help - Projects Page / Re: Serendipity-no drive
« on: August 20, 2011, 06:03:11 PM »
I had the same issue, built 3 different Serendipity boards from the etching layout.  Got volume, tone control, but the drive was very weak.  I kept scratching my head and finally came back to the layout.  Turns out I goofed with the C2 capacitor from incorrectly converting it to uF.  I was using a .47 or something when I should have been using a .0001 uF.  Check your cap values - they are easy to screw up is my advice.  I hope this post helps someone in the future with a similiar issue.

Now I have like 3 or 4+ Serendipitys...guess I will have to give some to friends :)

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