RC Mini Looper Pedal – Installment 1

So, I’m a guitar player and I like effects pedals.  However, I’ve got a little predicament.  I also love the natural sound of my amps.  In the signal chain I’ve got some pedals that need to go between the guitar and the front of the amp, and there are some that I prefer to be in the built-in effects loop of the amp.  Some amps don’t have effects loops, some have an effects loop that is foot-switchable, and for some the effects loop is on all the time as long as there are cables plugged into the send and return jacks.  I’ve got one of each of the last two.  That’s how it is, and I love the amps both the same.

Here’s the thing, I love how my amps sound naturally as well.  There’s just nothing like that saturated over-driven tube sound.  I play mostly rock style guitar so I’m using a decent amount of distortion most of the time.  Anyway, I set out to make a simple independent dual bypass pedal so with the touch of one button I can turn the pedals that I put in front of the amp on or off, or do the same with the pedals I’ve put in the effects loop.

This is actually my first stomp-box build so I thought I’d post up some pictures of it:

Step1: I got some parts. The box, and the push-button switches came from www.smallbearelectronics.com . The jacks I found at a decent price on Amazon from a seller based around here in Southern California, so they arrived fast.


Step 2:  I marked off where I wanted to drill holes for the jacks.  There are 8 total that have to fit on this box which really isn’t that big.  Here I used masking tape to make my marks on.  I did my best to align them so that when the bottom is placed on the box, the holes are as close to half way up the side of the box.  The box is made of aluminum, by the way, and it came powder coated white.  I lucked out and got a handful of blemished boxes for I think $6 a piece, compared to the regular price of $12 or so.  So, not bad.

You can also see a couple of center punches in the background.  I use them frequently for wood and metal, just so the tip of the drill bit doesn’t try to go walking away from the place I intend to drill.

Step 3:  Four of the holes for the jacks have been drilled.  I de-burred each one with the wooden handled burr removing tool that you can see in the upper right.  You’ll see that the top-left most hole looks a little messed up around the edge.  I’ll explain that later.  By de-burring though you can remove the sharp edge left behind by the drill bit.

Step 4:  The top four holes have been drilled and the jacks installed

Step 5:  The side 3 holes have been drilled and the jacks installed.  Here, I am just taking a look at the inside layout and placing components roughly where they are going to be.

Step 6:  The box is assembled and ready for wiring.  Here is my recommendation:  Don’t try to drill large holes in aluminum enclosures with a large drill bit, even if you’ve drilled a series of gradually larger holes first, as I did.  Instead use a stepper bit that doesn’t try to take huge chunks out of the aluminum while drilling.  It drills to different diameters in steps.

As you can see in the pictures below there are a couple of edges that are scuffed up.  Well, that’s because the box got caught on the large drill bit while I was drilling and whacked into the drill press stand and my knuckles a couple times before I had time to hit the off switch.  Lesson learned.  It reminds me of my junior high school shop teacher.  He told the most horrid stories of accidents that have happened on every single machine in the shop.  You’d think the drill press is one of the safer ones, but accidents can still happen especially if you’re not drilling with the proper drill bits for the job.  I got lucky this time.  Don’t do what I did.
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Stay tuned for wiring and wiring diagrams.  I think I screwed something up the first time so we’ll have to go back and troubleshoot a little, but I can’t expect it to work perfectly the first time.  See ya soon,