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DIY Eurorack Rails in US?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author DIY Eurorack Rails in US?
deusletum
Does anyone know of a place doing custom Eurorack rails in the US? I have seen a few in Europe. Would be nice to find a supplier for my DIY case I am putting togetther.
sammy123
Erthenvar sells vector rails in custom lengths.
Summa
I'd recommend Erthenvar too, they have Vector rails so I ordered them even though I'm located in the EU, they fit better with their 1U tile modules.

Otherwise there's TipTop's Z-Rails and I guess someone is a reseller for Doepfer and they normally carry the cheaper rails in 1 meter length..
deusletum
Wonderful, thanks so much!
SOFTWIRE
I offer built rail sets through my webstore. Check them out here SOFTWIRE
bens
It's not in the US, but: I ordered a frame and rails from http://clicksclocks.de/ -- shipping to the US was fast, and the price was right.
mafouka
i gawt some new tiptop rails in the BST for cheap, check em owt
mafouka
i gawt some new tiptop rails in the BST for cheap, check em owt
ersatzplanet
Mouser sells the vector rails. So does Allied Electronics and Digikey. Here is the parts specs page and the part numbers for the different standard lengths is at the bottom. If you search for those numbers you will get the pages with the rest of the stuff like screws, threaded inserts, brackets etc.

TripJ
Thanks Ersatz. I knew there was a bulk source out there somewhere. At $86 / 20' = ~$4.33/ft. You would have to buy in bulk from an extruder, 500-1000 lbs to get a much better deal I think.
adnauseam
Summa wrote:
I'd recommend Erthenvar too, they have Vector rails so I ordered them even though I'm located in the EU, they fit better with their 1U tile modules.

Otherwise there's TipTop's Z-Rails and I guess someone is a reseller for Doepfer and they normally carry the cheaper rails in 1 meter length..


Also, I'd recommend Erthenvar. They'll cut your rails and strips to length and they sell great endplates, too, that let you mount rails nicely inside your case.

Price is pretty good I'd say, for the product you get, too.

-Jordan
AlX0298
Can someone help me determine the maximum PCB height I should design to for a Eurorack module?

The limitation is the rail thickness. It seems to vary from one case to another. But Ive never heard of module not fitting into a case, so there must be a measurement. I know the holes are 122.5 mm apart and the holes are 3.2 mm diameter. But the PCB behind the panel must be smaller so it does not sit between the rail and the panel. So what is the maximum PCB height.

Thank you!
Graham Hinton
AlX0298 wrote:
Can someone help me determine the maximum PCB height I should design to for a Eurorack module?

The limitation is the rail thickness. It seems to vary from one case to another. But Ive never heard of module not fitting into a case, so there must be a measurement. I know the holes are 122.5 mm apart and the holes are 3.2 mm diameter. But the PCB behind the panel must be smaller so it does not sit between the rail and the panel. So what is the maximum PCB height.


This is defined in IEC 60297.
The formula for the distance between the mounting holes is n * 44.45 -10.85, where n = 3 for 3U, which is 122.5mm as you say.
The formula for the distance between rails is > n * 44.45 - 21.35 which is >112mm. 110mm is a safe limit for pcb height. Note that some Eurorack rails do not conform to this IEC standard and have been appropriated from other standards or none at all.
The IEC standard 3U frames are intended to house standard Eurocards of 100mm height mounted in card guides, not hanging off the front panel with no support.

The mounting holes are not 3.2mm diameter, that is an M3 clearance size.
Most industrial systems based on the IEC standard use M2.5 threaded mounting strips and only a few manufacturers make an M3 alternative which is what Doepfer defined for their A100 system.

Schroff publish a good Standards Summary
ersatzplanet
I typically make a save zone of 0.4" (10.16mm) from the end of the panel top and bottom for my PCB height. I have had no complaints so far.
Rex Coil 7
I'm also of the "just make your own" camp. It's not missile engineering ... measure a few times ("measure twice, cut once"), mark, using a hacksaw cut them to length, and drive the end-screws in (which does not require threading prior to assembly). When cutting the Vector rail, use full length strokes and let the saw do all of the work. Cut slowly, use the entire blade. Mark the cut with a square first. The main thing to remember is let the saw do all of the work and use the entire blade. I've seen so many people use a hacksaw as if it were some type of race. That is highly unproductive and generally results in a shit cut. Just take you time, it isn't a race, and use one hand on each end of the hacksaw .... and let the saw do the work!

Synthrotek sells end plates (angle aluminum already drilled for both rack mounting AND rail mounting). They also sell 1U plates. Then you may either buy the "twenty feet of bulk Vector" from Mouser, or source the Vector rail elsewhere.

I made 35 inch long rails because 35 inches was a dimension that fit a certain aspect within my synth. I didn't care what 35 inches came out to in "HP" ... but just to end the suspense it comes to 179HP (inches multiplied by 5.1 ... 5.1mm is 1 HP .... 5x 5.1mm = 25.4mm .... which is one inch). Since the 20 foot Vector rail deal at Mouser ships as four 5 foot lengths, cutting 35 inches out of 60 inch rails left four rails at 25 inches long, which was another convenient length in my particular synth system.

So the Mouser deal yielded four 179HP rails and four 127HP rails. All in all, the Mouser deal produced enough Vector rail to house 613HP of Euro. That equates to 7.29 "3U 84HP rows". 7+ rows of 84HP Euro!

Synthrotek links:

cool Predrilled 3U mounting brackets ($15.00 per pair) = http://store.synthrotek.com/3U-Eurorack-Brackets_p_350.html

cool Predrilled 1U mounting brackets ($12.99 per pair) = http://store.synthrotek.com/1U-Eurorack-Brackets_p_351.html

cool Various other module mounting options = http://store.synthrotek.com/Eurorack-Cases_c_28-1-3.html

Note that each bracket type offers the option of adding precut rails in 84HP - 104HP - 126HP - 168HP.

I would advise using stainless steel screws and sliding nuts. I've had good transactions with Pulp Logic when needing stainless 2.5mm screws and nuts.

cool Pulp Logic 2.5mm square sliding nuts = http://pulplogic.com/product/m2-5-square-rail-nuts/

cool Pulp Logic 2.5mm x 6mm long "allen head" stainless steel screws = http://pulplogic.com/product/m2-5-x-6mm-hex-screw/

cool Pulp Logic 2.5mm x 8mm long "allen head" stainless steel screws = http://pulplogic.com/product/m2-5-x-8mm-hex-screw/

cool Pulp Logic 2.5mm x 6mm long "Phillips head" stainless steel screws = http://pulplogic.com/product/m2-5-x-6mm-phillips-screw/

cool Pulp Logic 2.5mm x 8mm long "Phillips head" stainless steel screws = http://pulplogic.com/product/m2-5-x-8mm-phillips-screw/

Note that some modules work best with 6mm long screws and ONE nylon flat washer .... and others works best with 8mm long screws and TWO nylon flat washers.

cool Pulp Logic 2.5mm Nylon Flat washers = http://pulplogic.com/product/m2-5-nylon-washers/

cool Pulp Logic also offers 2.5mm threaded strips = http://pulplogic.com/product/m2-5-threaded-strip/

cool Pulp Logic also offers Euro end brackets - these are 4U (one row of 1U plus one row of 3U) = http://pulplogic.com/product/case-bracket-kit-3u1u/

thumbs up
Graham Hinton
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

I didn't care what 35 inches came out to in "HP" ... but just to end the suspense it comes to 179HP (inches multiplied by 5.1 ... 5.1mm is 1 HP .... 5x 5.1mm = 25.4mm .... which is one inch).


3/10 See me.
1 HP = 5.08mm = 0.2" exactly.
5 HP = 1" exactly.
35" = 175 HP exactly.
You don't multiply inches by 5.1, you divide by 0.2. Or you divide mm by 5.08.

Vector rails are generic subrack frame rails, they are not made to comply to IEC 60297 which is what Eurorack is based on. Close, but not exact.
Fierball
I'll also throw in a +1 for the mouser rails. Theres a ton of HP in a single pack, and they shipped it cheap considering it's a giant tube. I honestly wasn't sure I'd like them because I'd always been building with TipTop rails, but they're good.

I wouldn't just take a hack saw to them as some have suggested. Get access to a good jig that you can square the ends properly with.
Rex Coil 7
Graham Hinton wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

I didn't care what 35 inches came out to in "HP" ... but just to end the suspense it comes to 179HP (inches multiplied by 5.1 ... 5.1mm is 1 HP .... 5x 5.1mm = 25.4mm .... which is one inch).


3/10 See me.
1 HP = 5.08mm = 0.2" exactly.
5 HP = 1" exactly.
35" = 175 HP exactly.
You don't multiply inches by 5.1, you divide by 0.2. Or you divide mm by 5.08.

Vector rails are generic subrack frame rails, they are not made to comply to IEC 60297 which is what Eurorack is based on. Close, but not exact.
meh what .. ever. Wrong again, as usual, yea?

It's a 35 inch rail with some synth modules in it. However many modules fit in it is however many modules fit in it. As I said in my previous post, I don't care what the HP worked out to be, the rails had to fit within a specific dimension to suit my needs.

"5 HP = 1" exactly." ... yes, I know ... that is precisely what I said Graham. I don't think many folks take 0.02mm into account for much of anything when it comes to working out their synth cabs.

"See me" ... see you? What, are we going to talk about my grade average and how I need to come in after class every Wednesday for extra tutoring? "See me" is what teachers or employers write on things when they're about to deliver some sortof ass chewing or bad news. At least here in America that's what that means. Damn man, have I ever done anything properly? At all? Ever?

Y'know ... it is actually OK to point out someone's successes now and then, rather than being the harbinger of "YOU'RE WRONG!" all the time.

Life lesson there.

You're welcome.

cool
Rex Coil 7
Fierball wrote:
I'll also throw in a +1 for the mouser rails. Theres a ton of HP in a single pack, and they shipped it cheap considering it's a giant tube. I honestly wasn't sure I'd like them because I'd always been building with TipTop rails, but they're good.

I wouldn't just take a hack saw to them as some have suggested. Get access to a good jig that you can square the ends properly with.
Well, speaking for myself, I didn't say to "take a hacksaw to them". I clearly spelled out how to properly use a hacksaw. I was very fortunate to have had an excellent machine shop teacher in high school. The entire first semester was focused on nothing but doing proper layout and using zero machine tools. That said, I know that when the hacksaw is used properly it can produce excellent and straight cuts.

Use of a "jig" with a hacksaw won't help most people that don't use a hacksaw properly in the first place. All one needs is a good combination square (actually a fixed square is even better and can also be less costly ... being ~fixed~ there's almost no chance of the square being incorrectly adjusted into an unsquare configuration). Use a Sharpie to lay down what used to be known as a "Dykem line", then use a sharp implement of some type to scribe a cut line into the ink that the Sharpie left on the work piece. You and only you know where the cut needs to be made relative to where you put the scribe line (some people do their layout so when cuts are made they remove the scribe line, others scribe the line either just left or just right of the actual cut line ... and so on ... that is what I mean when I say "you and only you know where the cut needs to be relative to the scribe line").

Place the work piece in a solidly mounted vise, with the cut line as close to the vise jaws as possible without the saw interfering with the vise in any way. Make your "walk in cut" slowly and carefully, then begin taking nice full length strokes, minding the position of the cut and the blade relative to the scribe line. Do not use a lot of downward pressure on the saw to make the cut, just allow a rather light pressure of both hands to guide the blade into the work as you take nice steady forward strokes, no more than about one per second. Mind every forward stroke, watch your accuracy with every stroke. Reduce your downward pressure as you draw the saw backward. A saw blade only cuts in one direction, so keeping high pressure on the back stroke does nothing but dull the blade by bending the teeth and reducing their ability to cut.

Take your time, mind your scribe line, and also be mindful of keeping the saw square with the work piece. Otherwise the cut may follow the scribe line just fine, but the other axis of the cut will be at an angle. The main thing is do not get in a hurry, just take your time, about one stroke per second or so. Use the entire blade, and keep one hand on the handle and one hand on the "back handle" so as to be able to keep the saw straight.

I promise you if you stick to well-done procedure a "jig" is 100% unneeded. In fact, I am not aware of a "jig" made for using a hacksaw ... if there is one, it will probably be more costly than the entire project. A jig is not needed.

Also cut the work piece a teensy bit long ... leave yourself material to file off so as to be able to really square up the cut well and "file to length". Old rule = "cut long, file to dimension". So leave yourself about 1/16" or so when you do your layout and cut the piece.

Same rules go for using a hand file. Slow, forward strokes, little or NO pressure on the file when drawing it back. Check the file every three to five strokes for material lodging into the file's teeth. Clean the teeth every few strokes with a "File Card". Take your time, keep even pressure on the file with one hand by spreading your fingers out across the length of the file. And keep those teeth clean!

No jig is required.

(below) ... all work shown done with a hacksaw and hand files. The holes were done on a drill press without any fixtures used at all. Mark, scribe, make a witness mark (just push a center punch in with your hands, do not use a hammer to make a witness mark), check your work - then use a hammer on the center punch, place on the drill press table and lower the bit to the center punch, then apply pressure on the quill feed handle to drill the holes. No jigs, no clamps, no fixtures. Make sure to hold the work the proper way so that if you over-feed the bit (try to drill too fast) and the bit hangs up in the work piece it will spin out of your hand, not into your hand. Calmly reach up and shut the drill motor off.

I'm posting this method to make a point that one does not need a mill, nor jigs to make quality work. HOWEVER, understand that using a drill press without clamping your work can be dangerous unless you have experience and developed skills. Again, I posted the methods I've used to make the point that good work does not require costly fixtures ... but DO NOT follow my lead when it comes to not clamping work down when using a drill press.

A drill press isn't even needed to drill holes well. As long as you mark, scribe, witness, center punch first, a hand held drill motor will provide the same level of workmanship as a drill press when it comes to small work like Vector rails, rack brackets, or bus bars.

It's all about taking one's time and doing thoughtful layout. Your work is no better than the effort put into it. Watch a few videos about using a hand file and a hack saw, as well as doing proper layout. It can't hurt!

Besides, I've seen work done using jigs that STILL isn't straight. People tend to take for granted that the jigging will ensure a perfect cut, and just rip into the job. You're better off free handing it and taking your time with doing well done layout, and "knowing yourself" when it comes to layout verses cutting.









(re; image below) Note that some of the witness marks don't appear to be in the center of the cross marks ... that is because I knew some of the cross marks weren't precise and some adjustments had to be made when I made the witness marks prior to center punching. Note that the completed drill holes are nicely aligned and straight, even though some of the witness marks appear to be misaligned with the cross marks. When I laid a straight edge along those witness marks, they were spot on, even though they appear to be ~off~.

Which reminds me, invest in a really good quality straight edge ruler. Made of metal, and metric + "Imperial" (inches) is very helpful as well. Sometimes I find it beneficial to do things in metric rather than in inches because it's easier to ~see~ "35mm" than it is to ~see~ "1.375 inches" on a ruler. (BTW, 1.375" is 1-3/8ths of an inch ... so something like 35mm is easier to follow on a ruler than 1+3/8" ... at least for me it is). And ~yes~, I am aware that 1.375" is actually 34.925mm ... but 35mm is plenty close enough considering the human element involved. When making parts for synth cabs, 0.025mm isn't going to make any difference at all due to margins caused by human error and hand work performed. We're not building the bloody space shuttle here.



(below) ... these are center punched and ready for drilling, but not yet drilled.



(BELOW) Vector rails cut down from 60 inches to both 35 inches and 25 inches. Hack saw and files were the only metalworking tools used (along with Sharpie, scribe, and square for layout).













TAKE ..... YOUR ..... TIME! thumbs up

nodnod
AlX0298
Thank you for the replies! I was able to start a thread after this post that has more information, just for reference for people in the future.

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2868160#2868160
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