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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Building a case
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Building a case
cornutt
I'm finally building a proper case. The "cube" open frames that I've been using for 10+ years have finally gotten to be too awkward; I've got them piled up to the ceiling on top of the Hammond, the carpentry is slapdash, and I've run out of room and I've got modules in boxes with no place to put them. So here is the beginning:

cornutt
It's going to be five rows; three vertical and the two bottom ones at a 45-degree angle. Each row is approximately 20 MU units; I didn't bother computing exact units dimensions because it's going to be a mix of MU and MOTM, so the units won't come out even anyhow. The material is 5/8" birch plywood. I'll use furring strips for the mounting rails. I'll glue on strips of 5/8" flat molding to trim the plywood edges. I'll probably finish it with clear oil-based urethane, although once I get a look at the completed unit, I might decide to use water base.

Open frame power supplies will be mounted on the horizontal crossmember at the bottom. I am going to build a cart to put it on that will have the bottom somewhere between 24" and 30" off the floor, and it will be open in the bottom to allow clearance for modules in the bottom row. The depth of the vertical part is 6". I may wind up regretting that, but I measured everything that I've got installed in the old cubes right now, and 6" is as far as anything sticks out. And the back will be open, so if something sticks out a bit, it's not really a problem. Once it's installed and in place, it will probably never leave the room, so I'm not too worried about things getting bumped. The cart will be on casters so I can get to the back.
cornutt
Here is the drawing I made for it:



That 4" space below the bottommost vertical row is to leave a bit of space so that knobs of modules in the top diagonal row don't interfere with plugging in cables to jacks at the bottom of the vertical row. That's actually a bit more space than is needed, and I might put in a "magic strip" of mults there. For the power, I'm going to get a Dotcom 1U blank panel and mount a power switch in it; that will go to a power strip where I will plug in the power supplies. I might take another blank and make an I/O panel, with four or so audio jacks and a couple of MIDI jacks, and having those go to a bulkhead panel at the bottom left of the case, which I can wire to the rack where my MIDI interface and patch bay are.
Flareless
Very cool design cornutt! applause


Thanks for sharing and please keep us up posted as the build progresses.
laxlaxlax
It's looking good.

Looks like you know what you're doing but since im a worried swedish carpentry teacher: you are orienting the mounting rails / furring strips with the small side of the material towards your face, i hope. Otherwise you might get flex in the crossbeams, depending on dimensioning and wood type.

As so:

[/img]
cornutt
Ah, that's an excellent point... I had thought to rip the furring strips down to the needed width, but you're right; if I do that they will be very thin. I'm definitely not an expert carpenter, so I appreciate the advice. Thanks!
laxlaxlax
No problemo, glad to help.

How are you jointing the mounting rails? Dado? Cross lap?
cornutt
Ha, I'm not skilled enough for that. I'll probably drive in some cabinet screws from the side. If I get really ambitious, once I've got the finish on the case, I'll fill the holes with putty.
Mark11Audio
cornutt wrote:
Ha, I'm not skilled enough for that. I'll probably drive in some cabinet screws from the side. If I get really ambitious, once I've got the finish on the case, I'll fill the holes with putty.


"measure twice, cut once..." LOL

in my case, I measured 6 times and still got it wrong !!?!??!?!?! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh!
cornutt
Been there... more than once... cry
laxlaxlax
cornutt wrote:
I'll probably drive in some cabinet screws from the side.


If you're hell bent on that path, i'd suggest you use plywood for the mounting rails. Screws in solid wood along the fibres make for a very weak bond.

Another more stable variable would be adding mountings for the mounting rails, like so:



I advice you to do the little extra work here, since youre determined to even glue on molding. It would be a horrible feeling to have the mounting rails tear out around the screws.
cornutt
Hmm. Will think about that some more. I've got to keep in mind that the rails will be carrying all of the weight of the modules.
Rex Coil 7
cornutt wrote:
Hmm. Will think about that some more. I've got to keep in mind that the rails will be carrying all of the weight of the modules.
Also keep in mind that when the modules are installed the rails become part of a monocoque-type structure. Said another way, the modules themselves will offer a LOT of structural support once they're installed. The modules "weight" is supported by the main outer walls of the cab, not the center strip(s). In fact, adding modules actually "strengthens" the center rails by tying them to the main housing.

Imagine a set of aluminum panels interconnecting all of the rails AND the main walls (sides?) of the cab itself. Think of the structural rigidity that those panels would create. Those "panels" are the modules.

This is also true for rack mount gear. As you add more rack devices the rack/box itself becomes far more structurally sound, as the cross-bracing and horizontal bracing that the rack devices themselves provide is what actually provides most of the support for the rack case itself.

Sortof like how liquid fueled rockets use the fuel within the tanks to support the weight of the column. Empty the tanks when the rocket sits on the launch pad, and the rocket will collapse under it's own weight. The fuel in those tanks is what actually supports the superstructure as it sits upright on the launch pad.

thumbs up

Now, back to synth cabs ... look at the Synthesizers.Com 44 space Walnut cab. The module rail that spans the center of that cab is rather smallish looking. But once modules are installed that "skinny" center rail is fully supported by the cab's outer walls, because it is mechanically connected to those outer walls by the synth panels.

This is the basic idea being monocoque construction. Many cars have been made this way for decades (aka "frameless designs").

cool
Rex Coil 7
Also ... regarding the strength of the rails that aren't tied directly to the main case (via the modules ... such as the rows that are NOT on the very top or very bottom) .... by simply installing a few modules between those central rails will prevent them from flexing up or down. When two of those middle rails are tied together with ~panels~, the rails are unable to bend because the panels prevent the rails from changing length (aka bending) ... the panels force the two rails to remain at the same length, preventing any up/down flex.

Aircraft wings are made this way ... it's how something that is so lightweight (the wings) can be tasked to carry something so heavy (the rest of the aircraft plus it's fuel/payload). The wings' flex is limited by mechanically connecting the upper surface skin to the lower surface skin. The two surfaces now cannot "bend" (change lengths at different rates relative to one another) because their mechanical connection prevents them from bending in to two separate (as in "different") radii.

thumbs up
coyoteous
heh heh you said monocoque
cornutt
Okay, since the gauntlet has been thrown down, I'm going to get a router and teach myself how to dado the rails in. It'll be the end of the week before I can get to it, and then I'll need to practice with it some. I'm learning some finish carpentry here... I've done house framing, but in framing, you don't worry too much if the stud is an inch off or not straight. And you just whap in everything with nails. This is new territory for me.
burdij
You should make your rails out of 3/4 in. x 3 1/2 in. (a "1 X 4") oak board turned on edge and join them to the uprights using a Kreg pocket screw jig. Here is an example kit Lowes Kreg kit. You need to supply a "C-clamp" style vise grip and be sure to get the right screw (length and type of material) for your application. Of course, you will also want to use a good wood glue. This will be easier and cheaper than other methods, does not show on the outside of the cabinet, and recommended by Norm.
tvh
I was also going to recommend pocket screws or even biscuit joints but more importantly, I'd up the plywood to 3/4" or 18mm baltic birch. I look at it like you're going to put several thousand(my assumption) $$ of modules in that and I'd want it built a bit sturdier if it was me.

Bigger cases look so impressive so props to you for building one. I went with smaller 12U single row cases because I cant imagine how one would move one of those big cases. MY ASS IS BLEEDING
laxlaxlax
cornutt wrote:
Okay, since the gauntlet has been thrown down, I'm going to get a router and teach myself how to dado the rails in.


*Gives a single nod of respect. *

Though i've never understood routers myself, i've seen people get good results with them. I'm more of a saw, chisel and hammer kind of guy. Tell me if you need guidance in that area.
cornutt
OK, so I'm finally back to it… I bought a router and went to work on the dadoes. It was a bit rough at first, but I managed to not lose any fingers, and once I built a straightedge that I could clamp on to the side, and learned to use it to guide the router, it got better. Here's the results of the first side; I'm about to go work on the other side. The piece on the right is just a prop to hold the other side up.

[/img]
cornutt
Got 4 of the 6 slots on the other side done. It's tedious; I need a 3/4" slot and I only have a 5/8" straight bit. So everything needs two cuts.

Also, if you need to generate a lot of sawdust fast, a router is the tool to use.
cornutt
Finally, some more progress. I've got the rails mounted for the three tiers that are vertical. I kind of outsmarted myself with the 45-degree tiers; I figured I'd do the rails horizontal, like I did with the vertical tiers, and bevel the fronts at 45 degrees. On the middle rail, I forgot to account for the MU panel flange and I had to do some fancy stuff that was on the edge of my carpentry skills. Here are some photos.

The mounting of the top and rails, as seen from the back. At this point, the rails are not fastened to the sides of the case yet; they are just sitting in the dado slots. After I routed out the dadoes, I decided that the rails didn't need to be nearly as wide as I was going to make them originally, so I had to put filler pieces into the dadoes in order to give the mounting screw enough wood to screw into.



This is basically what it's going to look like when it's done. All of the exposed plywood edges will be covered with molding; I haven't finished that yet.



This is the fancy stuff that I had to do to the middle rail of the 45-degree tiers. The front, mounting edge is on the left. The V-groove provides clearance for the MU panel flange. The back (on the right) is cut at a 30-deg angle to give clearance to jacks and such at the bottom of the panel.



This shows how a MU panel fits into the groove.



In this photo, all of the mounting rails for the vertical tiers are now attached. I mounted some panels at each end to make sure I had the spacing right.



Next step is to get the very bottom 45-deg rail in (there wasn't enough wood there to dado the sides; haven't figured out how I'm going to do that yet), finish the molding, and then get a finish on it.
cornutt
So I have the rails fabricated, and this week I've been working on putting a finish on the case, and on the base it will sit on. I'm using water-based clear gloss urethane. I've used this before -- a lot of the woodwork in the house is finished with it. I've got three coats on so far. But it's coming out rough; it dries too fast and it doesn't level out, and I wind up with streaks. I think it's because the can I've been using is old. Going to buy a fresh can tonight.
bwhittington
Looks very nice! Will you have enough clearance for the modules on your bottom row? Looks like a drastic angle down there.
Blake Smith
Looks pretty neat, although quite shallow, at least if you are planning MOTM modules. I've got a few in that format that are definitely deeper than 6".
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