The Screaming Fish
By John Fisher
Here is a new idea how to make Stomp Box Enclosures from scratch.
As you may have realized by now, I am constantly looking for new DIY ideas that help me to find materials locally for my projects. Some ideas are more practical then others but I found this new stomp box enclosure idea to be quite practical and I plan to make more with this idea.
I found this piece of steel square tube in the garbage walking down the street. This is used a lot for construction and for making steel structures of different sorts. It is about 2 7/8" wide and 1 3/8" thick and can be cut at any length desired as if you were to buy a whole piece, it probably comes 3 meters long in which case you can make lots of stomp boxes with it. This idea is similar to my other one that I made from aluminum square tubing in my "Fish Box" project also on my web site. The difference is that this one is made of steel which is a lot sturdier and heavier, and much more ideal for stomp boxes.
After cutting it a determined length I made cuts with a hack saw down each corner so that the ends of the square tube could be folded like a box. In this case, I made the cuts the same length as the thickness of the tube which was 1 3/8". I added another 1/16" to it to make up for the fact that there will be a fold. As you probably guessed, I don't have a sheet metal shop or any special tools so the next ordeal is to make folds that are nice and square. I used a hack saw to score the metal so that when I bent it, it would tend to bend on the scored line. As you can see above, the one tab is scored and then I bent it over with just a pair of pliers. The score should be deep enough so that the metal will bend easily on the desired line but not so deep as to where the metal will break off when bent.
Here you can see that I bent the 2 side tabs in.
I then cut off the tab that would be the bottom of the box.
Before bending the top tab over I scored the crease area with the hack saw on what will be the inner side to help me get a good sharp bend.
I then bent over the top tab with pliers and I banged it square with a hammer. I repeated the same process on the other end of the box. Remember that the tube length should be cut at the length of the box that you want plus add on the thickness of the tube times 2. I made my box to be about 5 " long but I added 1 7/16" on each end for the box ends. The box can be made any length that you desire.
After the box was folded on both ends I put 2 pop rivets in each end to hold it together better. I then sanded the sharp edges and then filled in the creases with auto body putty. I was then able to sand it so that the creases were hardly noticeable and it looked like a cast made metal box
After the box was sealed on both ends I had to cut out a square window that would be the bottom of the box. There are several ways to do this. One is to drill holes in the 4 corners of where the square will be cut out and then use a short hacksaw to cut it out. I used my Dremel high speed drill with a cut off wheel to cut out the square window. This worked fast and was pretty easy but I had a not go too fast as to break the cut off wheel. Even going real carefully, I still used about 4 cut off wheels. Above you see the circuit board for my stomp box mounted inside. This is just a matter of sitting down and planning how everything is going to fit with your particular project. Inside is a "Tube Screamer" clone that I built. It is not "State of the Art" but it works great.
I made this bottom plate out of sheet metal. I glued on some inner tube rubber with contact cement for a non slip base. The bottom plate can be screwed on to the box with 2 or more screws but I made it in such a way as the one end is cut the shape of a tab that just slips in the hole of the box while the other end has only one screw that securely holds the plate on. This makes it very practical because I can access the inside of the box to change the battery with just undoing one screw.
Here is the bottom plate attached to the box. Note that it is done with just one screw
Well, here is the finished product of my "Screaming Fish" box. After drilling the appropriate holes for the knobs, jacks and the switch, I spray painted it with auto body lacquer paint. I then put Letra Set on for the markings. When finished with the "Letra Set" I then sprayed it again with clear auto body lacquer. When doing this it is important to spray a very light coat at first and then let it dry. This will protect the Letra Set from any mess ups if you later put on the proceeding thicker coats. The clear coat seems to really protect the "Letra Set" well from being scratched off. Although not perfect, this box works very well, is durable and is socially acceptable in appearance. Most people don't think it's a homemade stomp box at first glance.
One nice thing for me was that I was able to make the whole project from almost nothing as I had all the parts on hand that I took out of junk.
I hope that this idea may stimulate any ideas that others may have. I am sure there are even better ways to do these things and I know this idea can be perfected more. If anyone has any comments or suggestions, please let me know.