I got the bug to put some circuits into Boss enclosures. Boss makes a really solid pedal. The pedal itself is bomb proof with a nice form factor and circuits are pretty good. The switch has a nice feel to it. You can’t just buy the enclosure to my knowledge, so it seems the only choice is to get some donor pedals for as cheap as possible.
Turns out Boss pedals keep a high value. Even used on Reverb it’s hard to find even a broken pedal for under $40! You can get a new SD-1 for $49.99 and a DS-1 for $52.99 at the time I wrote this. So that makes this a pretty expensive project when the enclosure is $40 to $50 ! That’s okay this is an experiment.
I’m going to try and not modify the enclosures if I can avoid it. The box is pretty roomy and can fit a good sized PCB as long as the parts in the center have low profile to avoid the jacks.
The Boss pedals come in a couple formats two knobs, three knobs, or four knobs. The two knob pedals are actually fairly rare and it’s hard to get one these enclosures, and probably buy not a good idea to throw away the working circuit. Three knob enclosures are pretty plentiful and the cheapest, luckily most of the circuits I’d like to put in a Boss enclosure come in a three knob version. Four knob pedals are pretty plentiful but are usually higher priced. Also, the four knob layout puts the pots in a horizontal row. 16mm pots will not fit! You’ll need to use 9mm or 12mm pots.
Finishing the enclosure brings a lot of problems and hassle. First there’s painting. You’d need to remove the rubber pad, paint then glue it back on, and then silkscreen or decals for the graphics. I’m going to avoid all of this hassle and avoid paint. I may use the label maker and just stick a label on it! Luckily the labels on the DS-1 and SD-1 will work of 90% of the pedals you’d want to put into a three knob enclosure.
Switching is an issue. Boss uses an electronic buffered bypass. It switches using a soft touch SPST. I found pictures of someone putting a standard 3PDT switch under the foot pedal, it gets pressed when the lid is pushed down. This didn’t look like a great option. I decided to go with a relay bypass. I’ve seen a lot of DIY solutions for this.
Which pedals you ask? So far I’m considering for three knob pedals:
- Big Muff
- 1981 Inventions DRV
- Tone Bender
- BJFE Honey Bee
For four knob pedals:
- Ugly Face
The electronic switching needs a replacement that will work with the momentary SPST switch. I found a PCB for a relay based switching system at Madbean!