Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Doin' The Stompbox Swirl, Pt. 1

Well it's back to the 'ol workbench with a new project.  This one will be relatively fast, I think.

I've been frequenting the "Burnt Fingers DIY Effects" forum on the TDPRI for a while now, and it's a bit addicting.  I built a couple of kits, one from Weber - the "Texas Cattledrive," and another from General Guitar Gadgets.   I'll post some pictures of them soon.

Anyway, I've never been a big stompbox user, but lately I've gotten into them a bit.

After building the two boxes from kits, I figured it was time to do a scratchbuild.  I decided to do the Dallas Rangemaster clone from GeoFex, but I am going to put in a rotary selector so I can change the value of the input capacitor.

This isn't as complex or critical as the layout of the '42 Amp I just finished, but I still need to put a bit of thought into the layout.  You can see I don't have a lot of stuff to mount - just the input and output jacks, the level control pot, the selector switch, the stomp switch, and a DC wall wart adapter jack.

With the box marked, it's off to the drill press to drill the mounting holes.  The box I have is thicker than the aluminum box I used on the '42, and I got nice clean holes on it.

With the holes drilled in the box/chassis, I shot the box and the bottom with primer.  Then I cleaned it with naptha in preparation for the paint.

On the paint:  I could have done a solid color with some decals, but I was inspired by a way cool swirl paint job on some of Aron Nelson's DIY pedals.  So I figured I'd give it a spin (get it?).

I've seen descriptions of how to do swirls which involved a bucket of water, floating paint on the water, then dunking the pedal and lifting it up to create the swirl.  That to me just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.  So the simple method Aron describes looked like a good easy way to try a swirl.

Armed with some $1-a-bottle waterbase acrylic paint, I went to it.   I just dripped some different color paint onto the box and swirled it around with a toothpick.

A couple of things I discovered right away.  Number one, three or maybe four colors tops will do it.  Since you're mixing colors, you'll get other colors and various shades.  I used like 6 colors and it was too many and made the final swirl too busy-looking.

Second, don't be shy with the paint - I thinned it about 3 to 1 with water and it worked well, but I had to keep adding paint as I went.

Also, the 'swirl-with-a-toothpick' method was a bit limiting for me.  I would up putting more paint on and tilting the box so the paint would run naturally.  This worked out well too, since the paint flowed over the sides and wound up looking pretty cool.

Not too bad for a first effort, and I'm inspired to try again in the future.  Now I need to wire it up.


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