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Frac Suitcases
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Fractional Rack Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Frac Suitcases
adamf
Why should Euro have all the portable fun?

Frac has potential for portable systems surely... its small but generally not as space conscious as Euro, which means it may potentially be easier to patch and manipulate a Frac system live than a Euro.

So who's done it... who wants to... how can it be done?

Ideas and suggestions sought for the benefit of all Fracers!
Muff Wiggler
hey very good to have you here Adam!!! SlayerBadger!

bring on the frac suitcase ideas....
adamf
Thankyou, Mr. Muff.
adamf
So anyway, I've bought one of these at a local (Australian) electronics outlet:

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=HB6379&CATID=&keywords=cas e&SPECIAL=&form=KEYWORD&ProdCodeOnly=&Keyword1=&Keyword2=&pageNumber=& priceMin=&priceMax=&SUBCATID=

I can fit 9U of modules in it (after removing the lumpy foam inserts). So, I guess it could potentially hold 3 rows of Frac or Euro or 1 row of Wiard plus one of Frac or 1 row of MOTM/MODCAN/.com plus one row of Serge or whatever. I'm going to do 3 of Frac. (2 Frac plus one Euro is tempting, but I've decided I'm going to keep it pure, damnit! hihi )

Well the challenge now is how I'm going to mount the rack hardware. One idea (which is gaining popularity in my overcrowded chamber of useless ideas ie: my skull) involves not actually mounting any rack hardware at all.
wetterberg
what about the depth though? Most frac devices are way more than 15cm deep, iirc?
DGTom
adamf, if you could measure the inside demnsions that would be great. Two of these would totally work for me. Good find!
oozitron
I am making it a point to keep all my DIY frac stuff no more than 2.5" deep behind the panel. I mount the board parallel to the front panel on 1" risers. That leaves room for panel-mounted components, and also I can stack boards two deep and still be within the 2.5".

This usually means making the panel wider (like with the 1" x 6" CGS boards), but I just make a "dual" module... a Gated Comparator on the top half and Analogue Logic on the bottom half. It's one 6" wide module instead of two 3" wide ones so it comes out the same in the end.

I like the suitcase idea, which is the main reason for making shallow stuff. I also like the idea of a nice "foldable" case like the Buchla 200e.

Drew
parasitk
oozitron wrote:
I am making it a point to keep all my DIY frac stuff no more than 2.5" deep behind the panel. I mount the board parallel to the front panel on 1" risers. That leaves room for panel-mounted components, and also I can stack boards two deep and still be within the 2.5".

This usually means making the panel wider (like with the 1" x 6" CGS boards), but I just make a "dual" module... a Gated Comparator on the top half and Analogue Logic on the bottom half. It's one 6" wide module instead of two 3" wide ones so it comes out the same in the end.


Sounds cool. Got any pics?
parasitk
Okay so I have been playing with one of my spare Frac Racks today, and definitely have some ideas.

The front rails + ears thing is great, I think I'd just want to reinforce the four screws with a nut or something to make sure it doesn't shake loose in transport. It's so obvious, I can't believe I never thought of it before. d'oh!

Then I was looking at the rest of the Frack - the rear rails and side walls. Flipping it around, you end up with another set of rails that could be nicely mounted into a 17" wide, 7" deep case – just screw it down into a case.

Now to find a case with the right dimensions to try this out on! hyper
adamf
wetterberg wrote:
what about the depth though? Most frac devices are way more than 15cm deep, iirc?


True, most Blacet and Metalbox modules are quite deep, so would not work well in most available case options. I don't have experience with other Frac modules, but have seen the Plague Bearer photos and believe its quite shallow. Bugbrand is also looking like a good candidate for upcoming shallow modules. (I believe he has already done his own custom Frac suit cases for his own use.)

Perhaps we need a list of Frac module depths to help with purchasing decisions? Blacet list most of their module depths, but it can be tricky to find info for other manufacturers.
parasitk
adamf wrote:
Perhaps we need a list of Frac module depths to help with purchasing decisions? Blacet list most of their module depths, but it can be tricky to find info for other manufacturers.


Good idea.

And yeah the Plague Bearer is pretty shallow, as is the Bananalogue VCS (comparatively speaking). Wiard 1200 are also very shallow.
adamf
DGTom wrote:
adamf, if you could measure the inside demnsions that would be great. Two of these would totally work for me. Good find!


G'day!

Thought I'd mention first off that the lid of this case can either be flipped up like a normal case on its hinges or taken off its hinges completely (and quite easily). Kind of handy. Its reasonabley durable with decent front latches.

Inner Dimensions:
Width = 50.5 cm. More than wide enough for a standard rack (about 48.25 cm from ear to ear). Would need to add some plywood probably to the sides in order to bolt on rack rails at the right width.

Height = 41 cm. A 3ru rack is about 13.5 cm high. 13.5 x 3 = 40.5cm.

Depth of the base = 12.5cm.
Depth of the lid = 7.5 cm.
(So total available depth = 20cm)

Now, a standard Blacet rack is 18cm deep. If you mount a module, add on an extra 2cm on top for clearance of the knobs and you have 20cm. Yes, that's right: I have been able to place a whole Blacet rack into the base facing up and still close the lid! Its a snug fit and doesn't really need anything else to hold it in place during transit. So one idea I have is not adding any plywood, bolts or rack hardware to the case interior. I'm thinking of cutting a pair of 9 ru rack rails and bolting 3 Blacet racks onto these to form my 3 Frac rows. I'll then just place the whole thing into the case. So, It'll be more like a Frac rack storage case than a permanent suitcase setup. It'll be cheap and easy to access if nothing else!

ANother idea: build the rack hardware into both the base and the lid and only mount modules that are shallow enough. Eg: The Hex Zone will mount into the lid OK. (But... not many other Frac modules are *that* shallow).
adamf
parasitk wrote:
adamf wrote:
Perhaps we need a list of Frac module depths to help with purchasing decisions? Blacet list most of their module depths, but it can be tricky to find info for other manufacturers.


Good idea.

And yeah the Plague Bearer is pretty shallow, as is the Bananalogue VCS (comparatively speaking). Wiard 1200 are also very shallow.


Hey Parasitik, glad you had a chance to play around with your rack. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for a case and what you're going to mount in it.

The Metalbox Digital noise is not too deep. Could be a good candidate for cases. Nice little module too.

Might start another Frac module depth thread? Perhaps a sticky database type thing?
DGTom
adamf wrote:


Inner Dimensions:
Width = 50.5 cm. More than wide enough for a standard rack (about 48.25 cm from ear to ear). Would need to add some plywood probably to the sides in order to bolt on rack rails at the right width.

Height = 41 cm. A 3ru rack is about 13.5 cm high. 13.5 x 3 = 40.5cm.

Depth of the base = 12.5cm.
Depth of the lid = 7.5 cm.
(So total available depth = 20cm)



Great info thanks!

Now I'm really thinking 2 of these would be a cool way to go for me. One full depth & a shallow one, That way I can turn 3 Blacet racks into 6 panels of space! (cheap-skate)

Of all my modules the Blacet VCOs are deepest @ 6" Cynthia Saw Animator is about as deep as the Blacet Quad mix VCA, which is abit shorter than the VCOs.

The shallow case would be good for DIY as well, even if you made it so you have 5" worth of space inside youd get "most" modules in.
oozitron
Yeah, making one complete rack into two (just ears and the front rails) works well. You can leave one of the side pieces on to hold a power distro board, but you have to do something with the PS.

You will be short two ears on the second "mini" rack, but you can have FPExpress make them (with some extra holes for a mult or atten).

Drew
scozbor
good ideas here!

I like the suitcase you posted too. Funnily enough I saw this @ jaycar just the other day and thought it looked like a good candidate.

I have been thinking about building a suitcase too. my idea has been to not be concerned with module / case depth, and actually just put the PCBs on the bottom of the case and fly wires to the panels. You could then stack PCBs on top of eachother. The biggest disadvantage is removing / replacing modules will not be easy. I was also thinking more about DIY stuff than blacet / kits, and possibly just having one large front panel. kind of a 'preset' modular i guess.

It would be pretty cheap too, using mostly CGS and MFOS.
indexofmetals
speaking of shallow modules, Michael at Metalbox is making me a custom 4 module wide panel with his wave mult (in blue with banana jacks to go with my bugbrand modules) and tube vca with the pcb's mounted parallel and separately a slim version of the matrix mixer. There's a small charge for the customisation but it'll definitely be worth it
mono-poly
http://www.myalbum.com/Album=PEUXPL8D

That worked out nice when i had a bigger Serge setup.
But i am afraid most Frack pcb's are to deep but that could be solved.
DGTom


My work in progress! Many thanks to adamf for the tip off on the case, went to Jaycar yesterday & despite my best efforts to buy the wrong parts (33mm M3 bolts! What was I thinking!!) or not enough parts, still need 16 standoffs.

In an attempt to not add to much extra wieght I'm using all the pre-punched holes in the blacet racks to attach them to the case, not the prettiest but even at the moment without all the hardware in its pretty rigid. Each rack will have 16 bolts into the case so she should be pretty solid.

I took the feet off the detachable lid & re-fixed them, but its a little front heavy... even without modules in, so I may need to attach the PS-500 to the back as a counter wieght.
adamf
Awesome DGT, nice to see it with 3 racks. I've only got two racks at the moment, so good to see it actually fitting 3 in practice rather than just in theory.

Good idea with using the frac bolt holes to secure it to the case. I was thinking of just sitting the racks in and padding the edges a bit with foam to make it firm, but your idea sounds good.

Regarding stability when standing upright: I figured this may be an issue, but I'll probably use mine resting on its "back" most of the time and maybe just chock it up a bit to get a bit of a tilt if required.
parasitk
DGTom wrote:
My work in progress!


Sweet, definitely cool to see the reversed FracRack trick. I think I'm going to do this as well.
DGTom
I would love to come up with a way of using the lid as a stand, there's plenty of space down the sides. I'd ideally like to close that all off, been thinking some LEDs inside behind red perspex would look cool, or maybe a couple of gooseneck lamps <- that would be hyper

I'm going to do a hardware mission & try to come up with a way to have some fold out legs at the front, I may experiment with just chucking some washers under the front feet & using a longer bolt to tilt it backwards... but that sounds precarious in theory, let alone practice!! I've got some CDs jammed under for now hihi Once I find some feet to match the bottom ones the lid feet will be replaced so it stands up solid when closed & I wanna put feet on the back so it can be used table-top style as well.



All in! its a little tight, I made a d'oh! by positioning the top & bottom racks from the centre... next time I will put em in as far up & down as you can go before the case curves which should be just right, sadly the space at the top or bottom isn't really big enough for a PSCONN, without it hitting PCBS ( wish I'd double checked that before I drilled the holes in the bottom very frustrating )



These are the "struts" on the side, I was a little worried with just the backs fixed on, but once these went in woah woah woah Solid!!! (with 16 bolts you'd hope so!) 2 x 15mm bolts + 25mm threaded spacer spanned the gap perfect & left room for 'tweakablity' in positioning the racks just right...



No magic smoke was released in the making of this Frac Suitcase!

At the moment only 9 modules have power as I only have 1 PSCONN waah I actually designed the layout without considering power ( some people might even suggest I built the whole case without considering power... some people might be bloody close to the truth! hmmm..... ) But with the Mixer / Processor in the centre there is enough room behind for PSCONNs!! It's peanut butter jelly time! It's peanut butter jelly time! It's peanut butter jelly time! It's peanut butter jelly time! It's peanut butter jelly time!

The 3 blanks will be Miniwave, Binary Zone, Improbability Drive! Making this a badass 2 Oscillator Analog-Digital / Pseudo Sequencer Bleep Box!

parasitk wrote:
Sweet, definitely cool to see the reversed FracRack trick. I think I'm going to do this as well.


Cheers! The colours all match up which is really nice, I'm into the zinc & black chic lol The frac ears looks awesome when the rail is at the same level as the edge of the case, I'm thinking I might use em in the lid of suitcase #2, extra shallow 9U for DIY (just lay loads of CGS boards flat!)
adamf
Nice work. You've really taken the case idea and run with it very quickly. Great to see it working out! Mine is coming along too. Hoping to complete it (or close to) in the next month or so . Its now going to be a slight compromise mixing 2 rows of Frac and one of Euro... (already have a lot of Euro modules and the poor Oz dollar value is too much pain to bear on many more imports at the moment). So its going to be a black and silver sandwich!
scozbor
awesome work tom SlayerBadger!
DGTom
Thanks guys!

Still needs a few bits & pieces done & the power distro is pretty ghetto!

Anyone got any ideas for DIY busboards?


adamf wrote:
Nice work. You've really taken the case idea and run with it very quickly.


I've had the racks just sitting exposed for a while, so when you posted up the link to the Jaycar case I decided to dive in! I really didn't want to go down the SKB route, because I'm a cheapskate! But also cos I wanted a case abit more moveable that could be used upright or flat.

All up I estimate this cost about $100 - not including the Blacet frames of course. Took about 3 days, hard to tell how many hours cos I never do one thing at a time & there was alot of 'thinking time' as I went. The only tools used where a screwdriver, needlenose pliers & a cordless drill! Which basically maxed out my DIY capabilities!

black and silver sandwich sounds cool! I thought about doing that as well, but I have alternate plans for my Euro, single row of 84hp desktop style.

I have about 1/3rd of the modules and/or PCBs waiting for panels either here or on route for suitcase #2 so this week I am mostly hunting brackets!
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