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Yay! It's a box! How (not) to build a DIY case ;) (w/ VIDEO)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Yay! It's a box! How (not) to build a DIY case ;) (w/ VIDEO)
flx
Hey fellow wigglers,

Here's the story of my second DIY case. This time, the idea was to fit my current "condensed" jam setup into a suitcase to make it portable. The setup includes:

- 6U of Eurorack
- a MicroBrute
- a Korg Volca Beats
- a guitar pedal or two
- maybe an iPad
.


Watch the setup (without the suitcase) in action in my weekly jam sessions on YouTube. For example in this recent video here:
w00t https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Umeykz1eNE&index=7&list=PL5AAC61D0DF9 D715D w00t


In the above video, you see my first 6U DIY Eurorack case, which I built with a Doepfer A-100 DIY Kit. It was very easy, so I decided to use a Doepfer DIY Kit for the new case again.



The pictures in this post are taken from my Instagram account, where I post updates along the way:

applause http://instagram.com/tuesdaynightmachines applause




Here are some sketches of my ideas for the second case:



The Eurorack modules would go into the upright box and the MicroBrute etc. into lower box. To play the microbrute though, I would have to omit the front (or top) wall of the lower box to reach the keyboard comfortably from the front. I couldn't do an elegant solution like horstronic with his nicely sloped lower box, because I could only get wood cut at a right angle, with minimum measurements of 100x100mm. Also, and this is a key part to this story, I'm a total noob, without much wood-working experience, tools and space.

So, I decided to build this version, where the lower box wouldn't have a front wall, but the top box would have an extended top wall.


My thinking was, that when the top box is angled backwards a little, I could still see into the case properly when standing in front of it, without the extended top obscuring the top row of modules. How would I angle the top case backwards a little? I don't know ... I'll figure it out. Yeah!

So, on to measurements. I arranged the MicroBrute and the rest on a table and measured how much space I'd need, including extra room for power supplies, etc., while not making the case too large to carry. I came up with the following:


Inside of top box (Eurorack):
Width: 600 mm
Height: 360 mm
Depth: 130 mm

Inside of bottom box (MicroBrute, etc.):
Width: 600 mm
Height: 360 mm
Depth: 90 mm

Wood thickness: 10 mm



The first question after that was how to handle the Eurorack box. 600 mm width would give me appx. 118HP, but I'd need custom rails for that. Luckily I found the great Clicks & Clocks online store for those, which probably made the rails the easiest part of this whole project.


Guinness ftw!


Next up, I went into a hardware store and got some wood and materials. Here are a few pictures:




The wood I went with was Poplar ... which might bite me in the a$$ later on, because it's quite soft. Oh well, we will see.

Back home, I started by placing the wood pieces together, like I would need them in the end.



Everything seemed to fit nicely! So, I started working smile

First, I sanded the wood:


... and then I glueded the pieces together and drilled in brackets for additional support

Sliding some nuts:


After having had trouble with gaps between modules in my Doepfer case, which used threaded strips, I decided to stick with sliding nuts for my DIY cases.

Attaching the Eurorack rails:


This was a case of "didn't I learn anything from my first DIY case?!?!?" d'oh! I wanted to attach the rails directly to the wood again, like in those Doepfer Low-Cost Cases, This requires quite a bit of precision drilling though and I found it to be a huge pain ... again. Next time, I will order pre-drilled 6U metal side-panels to fix the rails to. Then I just have to screw the whole 6U frame into the box which is easy.

After I got the boxes built, I put them together to see if they'd work as a case:

They did! Phew!!!!


Guinness ftw!


After sleeping on this achievement, the next step was spray-painting the box. Why did I build it before painting it? It seemed easier and I wanted to see if everything fit before I started with the paint. I assume there are a lot of good arguments for painting the individual pieces before putting them together though ... I don't know.

Applying primer (two layers):


A professional painter screaming goo yo


Applying black paint (about two and a half layers):


Girlfriend wanted to paint something too 8_)


... oh crap! It started to rain!!! Dead Banana


Looks like the paint was dry enough though, so that it wasn't diluted or washed off.

Okay, the paint is fine! On we go with hinges, rubber feet, latches, etc.



Wow, it's starting to look like a proper case!


Guinness ftw!


Next up: Doepfer bus boards and power supply. Here's the power supply screwed on loose pieces of wood, for easier mounting inside the case


Screwing the bus boards into the back of the case with wood screws and washers Mr. Green



Looking good!


OH NO!!! A minor setback! The wood was indeed too soft for the handle to stay attached, even without anything inside the case. The screws broke out and and the case fell 1m (~3ft) to the ground ... and also on my foot.

Result:
- one broken off handle
- one dented corner
- one broken off hinge
- one ruined toe nail.

sad banana



Damn!!! Luckily, the Doepfer power supply didn't break.

Looks like I need to attach the handle and the hinges properly. I actually could have forseen the handle breaking off ... guess it "didn't do" this time. confused


Guinness ftw!


So, after another visit to the hardware store, I re-attached the handle and hinge with proper screws, nuts and washers. I also put some metal protection on the corners. It all feels a lot sturdier now and I can start to put stuff into the case.


I wanted to attach the non-modular instruments, as well as all of the power bricks, to the case using Velcro, but I found 3M Dual Lock instead. It's similar to Velcro, but doesn't have two different sides, but only one, which interlocks with itself. It holds things together like crazy, so I really didn't worry about putting the MicroBrute upside down inside the case for a test.



The power bricks also sit real tight, I just have to see wether the Dual Lock's glue gets soft when the bricks get warm during use. The power outlets and bricks are located in the bottom row, below the two rows of Eurorack, by the way.


In front of the bottom row, I will put a thin piece of wood, in which I started to build some utilities for the modular synth, like multiples and attenuators.


Before I finish the utility panel though, I have to put some modules in the case. I've been really looking forward to that moment!


I weighed the case and with the above content, it's 12 kg (~24 lbs). The top handle seems to hold it fine now, but I'm still a little worried and have to think about another solution for the long run.

There is also still the big problem of the top-heavy weight distribution. The case will just fall backwards once it's opened, because the modular synth is obviously a lot heavier than what I'll have in the bottom part. I need to figure out some stand for the upright part, which ideally shouldn't take too much space. Here's a first try, using pieces of wood which slide onto the side of the case.


It works, but it doesn't feel sturdy enough yet, so for this I'll think about another solution too.





Here is a first little jam session with the setup:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjeebpaNtEs&list=PL5AAC61D0DF9D715D&in dex=1



Here's a peek behind the utility panel. There is a very thin 4x Euro-Power strip, to which I connect the power plugs of the Doepfer DIY Kit, MicroBrute, Behringer MX400 mini mixer and 1Spot Guitar Pedal power supply (daisy-chained power plugs).




Guinness ftw!


Put the case on my table and rearranged all my setup around it. In the process I somehow got rid of all the MIDI connections, without really thinking about it (I'm not against MIDI and never had a big problem with it).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhe-Le9nMEY&index=1&list=PL5AAC61D0DF9 D715D



Guinness ftw!


And here is the promised video demo of my case smile
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e--4qI0hro&list=PLa9Em_H8Xs_a2PhTBp4A -Geqcr78uJyTO&index=1



Guinness ftw!

Took the case out on the road for the first time, to jam with VLK. The case is really heavy though, so it's nothing to lug around on foot really. I'll see that I get a trolley or something for the next jam session. Otherwise it was a great experience, not just with the case, but also the jam session smile





Okay, this is where I am right now. If you want to follow my further enhancements in "real time", check out my Instagram feed:
http://instagram.com/tuesdaynightmachines

I will of course updated this thread and its OP as well smile



Guinness ftw!


Finally, here's a current list of materials and cost, for those of you who think about building your own case too. I can only recommend it! It's a lot of fun!

Materials & Prices:
- Doepfer DIY Kit (second hand but new): 100 EUR
- Custom 600mm Rails, nuts & screws: 65 EUR
- Wood (Poplar, custom cut by hardware store): 25 EUR
- Misc. Materials (screws, brackets, sandpaper, hinges, latches, feet, etc.): 50 EUR
- 3M Dual Lock (Velcro): 20 EUR
- Spray primer & paint: 35 EUR
- Thin, 4-outlet Europower strip: 10 EUR

Total material cost: 315 EUR



And here is the ModularGrid link:
http://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/111472
Euro "Standard" ftl
drip.feed
Awesome case build buddy! Great idea about building the microbrute into the case. we're not worthy
scottmoon
Wow, that's a lot of documentation. Keep 'em coming. It's peanut butter jelly time!
flx
Thanks smile This was so much fun!!! I will post new pictures as thing develop further.
sduck
Cool! I've been following this on instagram, but it's kind of disjointed on that medium, so having this all in one place kind of ties it all together.
flx
sduck wrote:
Cool! I've been following this on instagram, but it's kind of disjointed on that medium, so having this all in one place kind of ties it all together.


I also plan to do a video overview of the project, when the case complete. Thanks for checking in to my Instagram feed over the past days!!!
mike_teevee
I have also been following this. Facebook, instagram, reddit , and now on muff. Once again, great work!
flx
mike_teevee wrote:
I have also been following this. Facebook, instagram, reddit , and now on muff. Once again, great work!


Thanks smile and also welcome to thee forum thumbs up
Zvark
Excellent case! I look forward to seeing this in use on your videos. Rockin' Banana!
Stides
Nice, what about 2 handles on the side instead of just the top? Could leave the top too, when you just need to move it around the apartment or whatever. For the top maybe a hinged leg? Like attach the hinge to the back top edge beyond the euro modules. Then another strap along the back to the lower part of the case. Like an upside down easel. I can't post a pic of the shitty diagram from my ipad so I'll tweet it to you in a minute.
qfactor
Stides wrote:
Nice, what about 2 handles on the side instead of just the top?


Or how about a long leather strap anchored on the sides that allow you to "sling" over your shoulder when you carry it. 12kg case would seem easier to move around by slinging over so your back takes some of the weight rather than your hand, if you use handles! seriously, i just don't get it
flx
Zvark wrote:
Excellent case! I look forward to seeing this in use on your videos. Rockin' Banana!

Thanks! I'll post a first little jam with it tomorrow smile

Stides wrote:
Nice, what about 2 handles on the side instead of just the top? Could leave the top too, when you just need to move it around the apartment or whatever. For the top maybe a hinged leg? Like attach the hinge to the back top edge beyond the euro modules. Then another strap along the back to the lower part of the case. Like an upside down easel. I can't post a pic of the shitty diagram from my ipad so I'll tweet it to you in a minute.


Got the pic!


That's a good idea because it doesn't add much bulk thumbs up


qfactor wrote:
Stides wrote:
Nice, what about 2 handles on the side instead of just the top?


Or how about a long leather strap anchored on the sides that allow you to "sling" over your shoulder when you carry it. 12kg case would seem easier to move around by slinging over so your back takes some of the weight rather than your hand, if you use handles! seriously, i just don't get it


That's another good idea! Thanks smile Carrying it over the shoulder is definitely more comfortable, although I'm surprised how nice that handle feels.
vlk
Very nice project. Looks like a great portable case.
flx
Here's a first little jam with the setup:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjeebpaNtEs&list=PL5AAC61D0DF9D715D&in dex=1

sempervirent


Why isn't this your avatar yet?

(Neat thread, appreciated the photos, and the humor)
JohnLRice
Nice build and documentation! thumbs up applause
flx
sempervirent wrote:

Why isn't this your avatar yet?

(Neat thread, appreciated the photos, and the humor)


Haha, yeah! That's a good idea. Although I do like my Octopus too Mr. Green


JohnLRice wrote:
Nice build and documentation! thumbs up applause

Thanks smile What are you going to build next, now that your workbench is tidied up again?
JohnLRice
flx wrote:
What are you going to build next, now that your workbench is tidied up again?
Well, I REALLY want to work on some synth DIY hyper but, I NEED to work on repairs to a few things I need to sell to raise cash before my creditors get too pissed off! waah Dead Banana
flx
Here's a peek behind the utility panel. There is a very thin 4x Euro-Power strip, to which I connect the power plugs of the Doepfer DIY Kit, MicroBrute, Behringer MX400 mini mixer and 1Spot Guitar Pedal power supply (daisy-chained power plugs).

wejhead
also been following on instagram, pretty inspiring build.
flx
wejhead wrote:
also been following on instagram, pretty inspiring build.


Cool! Thanks for checking in thumbs up
flx
Put the case on my table and rearranged all my setup around it. In the process I somehow got rid of all the MIDI connections, without really thinking about it (I'm not against MIDI and never had a big problem with it).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhe-Le9nMEY&index=1&list=PL5AAC61D0DF9 D715D
inlifeindeath
that was fantastic! congrats on the new case
inlifeindeath
what do you use for your drum and note sequencing?
ben_hex
Great stuff mate, appreciate the pics and talk through. Good read smile
AKMacAddict
Great job on the case, and the documentation of the build! It turned out nice and brings the gear together. I liked the use of the 'empty' space for the 'utilities panel'. Provides some useful items while keeping power, cords, etc., hidden from sight - nice and tidy!
thumbs up thumbs up
flx
Finally, here is the promised video demo of my case smile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e--4qI0hro&list=PLa9Em_H8Xs_a2PhTBp4A -Geqcr78uJyTO&index=1
flx
Took the case out on the road for the first time, to jam with VLK. The case is really heavy though, so it's nothing to lug around on foot really. When travelling by car it's no big deal. I'll see that I get a trolley or something for the next jam session. Otherwise it was a great experience, not just with the case, but also the jam session smile


desdinova
You might want to consider metal tilt-back legs like on the old fenders. They attach to the sides of the case and just swing backward for support. Swing them back in and you're done, nothing to detach or forget.
flx
desdinova wrote:
You might want to consider metal tilt-back legs like on the old fenders. They attach to the sides of the case and just swing backward for support. Swing them back in and you're done, nothing to detach or forget.


That's a great tip! Thanks a lot thumbs up I hadn't heard of those before.
gwaidan
Awesome work!
flx
Updated the first post with new image links, after Dropbox made them disappear.
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