DIY Stop Box
By Jon Tirone
(Also known as John Fisher)
I get a challenge out of making something that cost me nothing or close to it. While passing by a place that sells all kinds of aluminum I got the idea of using a piece of square aluminum tubing for a stomp box enclosure.
Cloning a circuit for a stomp box can be fairly simple but when you start to design it to fit in a box even the simplest design takes some thought and planning. This might seem impractical when you can just go to a place like Radio Shack and buy a box. Whenever I've done this I have rarely found a box that was just what I wanted for a stomp box. There are some rare places where you can get boxes like "Small Bear Electronics" which is an excellent resource.
But I enjoy finding new ways to DIY.
I bought a piece of 1 1/2" X 3 1/4" aluminum tubing close to 3 feet long for $2.50. When cut up in about 4" lengths, it will give me about 6 stomp boxes. The tubing I believe is made for aluminum doors or windows and comes painted black or plain aluminum in color. I chose black because it's a good color for a stomp box and because it is already painted it could be repainted very easily. Bare aluminum is difficult to paint without using some kind of special primer.
I cut off a 4" piece of tubing, then I drilled the necessary holes for the knobs, jacks and the stomp switch. I decided to paint the box yellow so I can apply "Letraset" for the markings. If you can find "Letraset" or a similar brand like, "Mecanorma" it is very useful for this and other electronic projects. Because of the computer graphic age things like Letraset are becoming harder to find.
After rubbing on the "Letraset" I sprayed the box with a coat of clear varnish to protect the Letraset. This same process can be done with lacquer paint but you must not paint lacquer over enamel paint as it will bubble up.
I freehand made a circuit board with the parts surface mounted which for me is a fast easy method for simple circuits. See"Alternative circuit boards"
I cloned a Boss SD1. Lookhere for the schematic. I omitted the electronic switching circuit and used a simple DPDT switch for true bypass switching. I also once built a clone of an Ibanez Tube Screamer which has been one of my favorite overdrive pedals but in my opinion not as aggressive sounding as the Boss SD1 which I also like very much.
One of the main issues of this project is "how do you cover up ends?" Well, there are probably about 50 different ways to do it and 43 of them are probably better then what I did but nevertheless what I did worked. I simply cut 2 square pieces of 1/4" thick acrylic plastic and screwed it in from the sides of the box. For esthetic reasons, I then covered it with a piece if thin rubber from an inertube. It actually doesn't look so bad. I glued on the rubber to the acrylic with contact cement. I drilled small holes in the acrylic where the screws go and then screwed it together with self tapping screws. You can probably find all sorts of ways to make the ends. You can make them out of metal if desired.
I mounted the battery on one of the acrylic ends. One big issue for me in making a box is "How do you mount the battery to where it is easily accessible?" This one isn't so bad but you have to remove 4 screws. I probably could have done it with 2 screws. I'm sure that with the other 43 ideas there's probably better and easier ways. You could probably cut a hole in the bottom of the box and make a simple lid for easy access to the battery.
I did install a jack for an AC wall adapter but even just the battery should last a long time. There is no LED so this will also save on the battery.
One nice thing about the DPDT switch I used is that when it is pushed in to activate the circuit, there is a mechanical function to make the top of the button red. When it is pressed again to bypass the circuit, the red dot disappears. This eliminates the need for a LED. One down side is that this switch isn't very strong as it's made of plastic.
Well here it is and it sounds great!
At a quick glance most people wouldn't notice that it's home made. If there is something you don't understand or if you have any questions please feel free to write.