This is a pedal board design I came up with a few years back when I was playing venues much more frequently. I wanted something to keep my pedals safe and secure while in transit, but didn’t really have the cash to buy a professional case.
To complete this DIY project, you’re going to need a drill and a hand saw. Ideally, you’ll have access to a miter box saw. It’s even better if you have a table saw.
Now, let’s get started! The first component you need is a hard shell briefcase. Since these were extremely popular in the 70’s and 80’s, they are generally readily available at thrift stores. I believe I paid a whopping $3 for mine.
Once you have acquired your soon-to-be-awesome pedal board shell, you’re going to need to gut the interior. I started by cutting out the fabric with scissors and then was able to pull pretty much everything out by hand. In addition to gutting the case, you’ll want to drill out the hinges so that you can take the top off.
Once I had two separate halves, I added two latches (under $3 at Home Depot) to the bottom of the case. By doing this, I am able to secure the top while in transit (this also requires using the two latches that were already on the case), and then remove the top completely when I’m ready to play. Also, because of the shape of my case, I added some rubber feet so that it would sit level (about $3 at RadioShack), depending on the shape of your case, this may not be necessary.
Now for the actual board. Dimensions will vary depending on your case size, mine turned out to be 20” x 12”. If your case is like mine, one side is going to be deeper than the other, make sure to build the board into the shallower side so that you allow plenty of clearance for your pedals. My case is almost 5” deep, 2” on the bottom and 3” on the top. I built my board just under 2” tall so that it would fit snuggly within the bottom.
The board base was built by splitting a 1×4 in half, giving me a 1 ½” tall board. I used the 1 ½” tall board to build a 18” x 11 ½” rectangle. Wood glue and a couple of screws were all I needed to hold it together. For the top slats I used the free 24” paint sticks from Home Depot. They’re strong and only about ¼” thick. I cut them down to size (20” long), and then glued and screwed them down to the frame, making sure to leave ½” gaps between every few slats so that I had plenty of room to run cables and power cords under the board. Once assembled, I drilled a couple of 1″ holes into the base so that I’d have more options when threading my cables through the frame.
Once the glue dried, I gave it two quick coats of white spray paint and then applied self-adhesive velcro to the slats for the pedals. I also added some to the bottom of the frame and the inside of the case so that I could secure the board.
Because the case is kind of ugly, I added bumper stickers that I have collected at shows and conventions to pretty it up. All in all, I have used this design for several years and it has been a rock solid case. Considering it cost less than $20 in materials and maybe 2 hours of labor, I’d say it has been a very successful DIY project.
Let me know what you think of the design. If you have built a pedal board, feel free to share your design below.
Until next time, enjoy your DIYing!