PCBWay PCB Service

Tried a new service: PCBWay.com. I used one of the boards I had designed in EAGLE PCB.

PCBWay

PCBWay looks like a larger service with more to offer. They have a lot of options and it’s a bit of a maze to navigate. For your effort they also offer some services not offered by OSH Park.

OSH Park has the convenience of using EAGLE PCB files directly. This is super convenient. PCB Way on the other hand requires Gerber files. You’ll need to export these from EAGLE or KiCad. Luckily the process is not difficult and only takes a few minutes. Follow the guide here:

https://www.pcbway.com/helpcenter/technical_support/Notes_for_Gerber_files_Generated_from_Eagle_9_20.html

For your effort you can choose all aspects of your board’s manufacture. This includes thickness, copper weight, board-type, track spacing, board finish, color, and many other options.

Process

PCBWay’s web site is a little daunting at first. The process of uploading a file asks a lot of questions that OSH Park figures out automatically. It also offers a lot of options not available at OSH Park. For people wanting to have more control over their product this might be a deciding factor.

One feature that PCBWay offers is a review of your designs. Unlike OSH Park PCBWay will mark a board as not compatible for one reason or another and you to revise your work and resubmit. This process is not as painful as it might sound since your order on the site keeps all of the information you have input saving you the trouble of entering it again. You need only make the required changes and enter those.

In my case I had extra information on the Dimension layer preventing them from seeing a clear out of the board. I had to remove some things leaving only the outline of the board on that layer, export and submit the new Gerber files.

Product

The product looks to be great quality. For me the fun option is colors! They offer Green, Red, Yellow, Blue, White, Black, Purple, Matte Black, Matte Green, and none. They also offer white or black silkscreen. This is really great if you want to organize projects by color, feel like setting your product apart by its design, or just feel you need some creative latitude. I chose red for this project it would looked great with the Red and Black enclosures, that is if anyone opened the back of the box.

There are also a lot of other options for solder mask, copper weight, layers, vias etc. I just went with a standard two layer board with 1 oz copper. This is pretty standard. The boards come pre tinned which is great since this makes for even easier assembly. Overall I’d say the board are very high quality.

They also offer panelizing boards. You can do this yourself or they will do it for you if you choose that as an option. Panelizing is the process of connecting boards with little breakaway tabs. This allows you connect related boards together.

Cost

The cost makes an interesting comparison to OSH Park. The cost at PCB Way is much cheaper it was about $5 for 5 boards (they actually sent me 6 though I ordered 5.) The shipping was $20! So the product is cheaper from but shipping from China is going to cost.

Use their quick quote page to get an estimate for a project:

https://www.pcbway.com/orderonline.aspx

Here is a comparison:

For the same project at OSH Park I paid $14.75 for three boards. About $5 per board. Shipping was free. I got three great quality purple boards with bare copper/gold pads.

From PCBWay I got 6 boards for $5. That’s about $0.83 per board. Shipping was $20! So the total cost per board was $4.15. The boards were red (I chose the color) and came pre tinned.

They offer several shipping options. I chose DHL which was $20. E-Packet and USPS would have brought the cost down to $11 for shipping.

Looking at scale ordering 10 boards would have cost me the same $5! With a build time 24hours! At $15 the price goes up to $20. I’m guessing the price is connected to the panel size. Get a quote and check the price for your own projects here:

https://www.pcbway.com/orderonline.aspx

Overall I’d say the experience of working with PCBWay was great. They were easy to work with. The product is high quality. They offer a great selection of options. The website is good but can be challenging, especially the first time you use the service.

You can check your work by uploading it to their Gerber Viewer:

https://www.pcbway.com/project/OnlineGerberViewer.html

With this tool you can upload your Gerber files and explore the layers. You can see what the final board might look like on the top and back with the silkscreen.

Take a tour of their factory

Fuzz Factory #3

Another Fuzz Factory clone. I used silicon transistors for this build I didn’t have any germanium transistors with the right gains. I think lower gain silicon works best here. I used a couple 2N5401 with gains of 115 and 120. These were about the lowest gain I could find in my parts bin.

I ordered three boards from OSH Park for $7.75. These worked well.

https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/xaBILSTV

I used the soft switching with the Madbean Softie. Which worked well. I’ve built four of these so far and they have all worked well.

Ugly Face Build

build your own Ugly Face!

Ugly Face

Ugly Face is a racus squarewave guitar synth oscillator disguised as a fuzz pedal.

Originally created by Tim Escobedo on his Circuit Snippets web page, it’s become a DIY classic. The ideas here are great and inventive there are a lot of building blocks. Out of all of these the Ugly Face leaps out at your like a rabid warthog. 

The board here was design in Eagle PCB. The pots and LED are mounted to the board for easy assembly. Get boards at: https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/BldK2X8b

Notes: Solder parts to boards without the LED or pots. Drill your box with the guide at the end of this document. Fit the pots and LED in the board without soldering. Mount the pots into the enclosure with the nuts and washers. Then fit the LED through the hole. Now solder the legs of the pots and LEDs. 

NOTE! I found an issue with the ground connection on the output side. It’s not connected to the group plane! Otherwise everything works.

PartValue
C122µ
C21n
C3100n
C42µ2
C5100µ
C6470n
C7100n
D11N5817
D2LED
EnvelopeB1K
FrequencyA50K-A100K
ThresholdB10K
VolumeA100K
R11M
R2470
R3100K
R422K
R51K
R61K
VACTAny LED/LDR pair will work
5557555
LM386LM386
Ugly Face Parts List
Ugly Face Schematic

Vulcan Build

The Vulcan is a heavy over to distortion by Joe Davisson. Check his Analog Alchemy page for more of his designs. Here’s a discussion of the circuit over at the DIYStompboxes forum.

I created a PCB you can order at OSH Park.

PartValue
C1100n
C2100n
C3100n
C42n2
C5100n
C6100n
C722µ
C822µ
C922µ
C10100µ
C1147n
D11N914
D21N914
D31N914
D4LED
D51N5817
Q12N5089
Q22N5089
Q32N5089
GAINA1M
VolumeA100K
R11M
R21M
R34M7
R410K
R51K
R6470K
R71M
R84M7
R910K
R101K
R11470K
R121M
R134M7
R1410K
R151K
RLED1K-10K (adjust to taste)
Vulcan Parts List
Wiring for Vulcan PCB

RunOffGroove 22/7 Build

Here is another 22/7 build. It’s a Big Muff variation. This unique circuit replaces the transistor stages of the classic Big Muff with CMOS inverters. It’s a unique flavor of Muff. CMOS inverters have their own unique flavor of distortion and have been used in many classic pedals like: Craig Anderton’s Tube Sound Fuzz, Way Huge Red Llama, Blackstone Appliances MOSFet Overdrive.

The 22/7 was created by the unstoppable genius over at RunOffGroove.com. They have a lot great stompbox designs and great information, be sure to check out their site.

Build your own

I designed the PCB and created a project over at OSH Park. Check out my build Docs to read more about the circuit and learn how to make your own! The PCB is designed with the the pots, switch and LED mounted to the board for ease of assembly.

Build post here for parts and PCB: http://www.super-freq.com/22-7-on-osh-park/

Build Process

For this build I used a powder coated enclosure and milled the labels and logo through the powder coating with a desktop mill. This process works for me and I can do everything myself at home with no chemicals and little set up and clean up. I want to give UV printing a try in the future, I’ve seen a lot great results! I’ll be writing a blog post about it in the future.

What’s it sound like?

Sounds a lot like a Big Muff but with its own character. The hex inverters have their own flavor but the strong clipping inherent in the Big Muff architecture dominates the sound giving it the characteristic Big Muff sound. I suspect you hear hex inverters as the last inverter is overdriven by the rest of the circuit. I’d say you get the classic Big Muff clipping sound but you don’t get the over saturated sound you can get with a Big Muff when the input is too hot or the sustain high.

The 22/7 has a switch that changes the range of tone control through three different ranges. This changes the range and sweep of the tone control to match other big muff models. There is a Classic option which is described as an average tone model of classic Big Muff models. A Flat option which creates a flat tone response removing the mid scoop of the classic mode, this is a well known mod. Last is the Scoop mode which creates a deeper mid scoop, I compare this to the sound of the original Way Huge Swollen Pickle.

I like the last mode on its own, but the flat mode sounds better with the band. writing this in 2021 I’m spending all of my time playing at home so all the modes sound great!

This has been my favorite Big Muff of late! It’s got a good sound and the tone control hits a very usable range.

Haunting Mids Reflection

The goal of this project was to build three Haunting Mids, keep one and sell the other two, hopefully coming out ahead!

This post covers the original Haunting Mids Fuzz. Note! This is not the JHS pedal with the same name.

What is Haunting Mids?

Haunting Mids is a Big Muff variant. Besides careful choice of resistors, capacitors, and diodes the biggest change to the circuit is dropping the tone stack and the output buffer. This offers the sound of a Big Muff but with more hair and volume. It’s really loud. You hear the raw distortion from from the two clipping sections unfiltered.

In the original the Sustain control is meant to be an internal trim pot, set and forget. With only the volume control on the outside of the box. I decided to put the sustain control on the outside of the box for convenience.

The original is a must have for people who like single knob boxes!

I found this PCB for Haunting Mids while searching for DIY projects on OSH Park.

https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/JtR27cHU

It’s a well laid out PCB for a 1590A sized box. I ordered three of these and built them successfully. This board works well I would recommend it. The switch is mounted to the board which saves trouble wiring.

A little History

The Haunting Mids Fuzz was developed around 2005 by a group of DIY pedal fans who set up a private forum, which I’m guessing was dedicated to the development of the Haunting Mids circuit. I say “guess” because I was never a member though I had heard of the forum.

Not sure when but the Haunting Mids forum died and went away. Go figure, an anti social site is going to have growth issues. That said there is something pleasant about discussions with a small group of like minded individuals rather than everyone and their friends and family.

It seems that Haunting Mids has gone through a couple iterations. The board linked above is labeled v3. You can search Haunting Mids and you’ll find several versions. To my knowledge all versions are based around the Big Muff sans tone and output buffer.

At some point JHS made a commercial pedal with the same name. I’m not sure why they did this. I suspect it was joke, or some sort dig at the original Haunting Mids group, or they just wanted to get a media boost by piggybacking on the name. I wish they hadn’t done this since it makes researching the circuit more difficult.

What’s it sound like?

Sounds like a big muff! It also has its own character like all of the other Big Muff variants, which the world of pedals is full of. But the two cascaded clipping sections guarantees you get the classic Big Muff character. Without the tone stack you hear the clipping section raw and unfiltered! It like a big muff with all the hair and grit.

This demo compares five different DIY Muff variants. Haunting Mids is in the center.

Here’s is another demo of the Haunting Mids:

Build

I built three of these. The parts were were all easy to find. You can get everything at Tayda. I chose to build mine with two knobs and put the Sustain/Gain control on the outside of the box.

I like having the sustain/gain control but the range is not that usable, or maybe there is some less useful range. With the gain up all the way there is too much gain. On reflection I see the reasoning behind making this control an internal set and forget option. I think I might go this route for future builds!

The PCBs from OSH Park are designed for a 1590A enclosure. I decided to build two in 1590B enclosures because I like these better than the small A sized boxes. I did build one in an A sized box.

Costs

This is a pretty cheap box to build. None of the parts are expensive or hard to find. You can source everything from Tayda and order boards from OSH Park.

Ordering the boards from OSH Park requires that you buy three boards but the cost is $14.85 which is about $5 a board. Making the board the most expensive part unless you get a fancy enclosure. The overall cost was about $25 for all the parts to build a single box.

I built three and managed to sell two on Reverb. I kept the last for myself. They sat on Revered for a month or two but eventually sold for $220 (both) not including tax and shipping. Reverb took their cut which left me: $202.50. I spent roughly $75 to build all three so I cleared $127.50.

Haunting Mids project

What’s Haunting Mids?

Haunting Mids is a Big Muff variant. In a nutshell it’s the input buffer, and first two clipping stages from the regular Big Muff circuit. It drops the tone control and the output buffer of the original circuit. There are a few other changes in part values but the the circuit is otherwise the same.

Haunting Mids Fuzz is not to be confused with JHS pedals Haunting Mids which is a completely different circuit that came later.

I created this PCB layout from version 3 of the original Haunting Mids. I made small change by moving the sustain/gain control to the outside of the box. The original circuit used an internal trim pot with only the volume accessible from the outside.

this video compares 5 Big Muff Variants, Haunting Mids in is in the Middle


Another demo of the Haunting Mids



PCBs

The PCB was designed in Eagle PCB. You can order boards from OSH Park for fairly cheap but you must order three. You can order boards here:

https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/Wu8UpzQE

Build

this should be a pretty easy build. Without the tone control and output buffer there are fewer parts than the original Big Muff. Pots and LED are mounted to the board. And most of the off board connections are lined up along the bottom of the board for easy wiring.

The parts are standard and easy to find. You should be able to order all of the parts at Tayda.

Capacitors
C1220n
C2470p
C3150n
C4150n
C5470p
C6470n
C7150n
C8470p
C9470n
C10220n
C1147µ
Pots
VOLUME A100k
SUSTAINA100k
Diodes
D11n4001
D2 LED Red 3MM
D3 LED Red 3MM
D41n4742
D51n4742
D6 LED
Transistors
Q1BC337
Q2BC337
Q3BC337
Resistors
R133k
R282k
R3120r
R4470k
R518k
R61k
R78k2
R856k
R9100r
R10470k
R1110k
R128k2
R1382k
R14120r
R15470k
R1618k
R17RLED


Haunting Mids Fuzz schematic


The circuit shows BC337 transistors but these don’t seem to be so special. You should be able to replace these with just about any NPN device. The usual suspects 2N3904 and 2N5088, or maybe 2N5089 if you want more gain.

The diodes are the same. You can probably experiment with anything for diodes in this circuit. The choices here are interesting definitely try them. But if don’t have these parts or can’t get them use what you have!

Wiring

New work in progress

A nice opamp big muff PCB 
Mad bean Shark Fin. Based on the maestro filter sample and hold. I’m obsessed with this circuit, I’ve built several versions of it and own some boutique iterations.
Ooh look an ugly face, this is another effect that had become a minor obsession. I’ve built more than a few of these. 
Mad bean zero point mini.  

Okay so, here we take a look behind the scenes at the pile of unfinished work. This picture was taken inches the left of the previous images. 

Zeke Bass Distortion – OSH Park

This Zeke Bass Distortion is a clone of the D*A*M Ezekiel 25:17 Bass distortion. The PCB came from OSH Park. This worked out well. The board is pretty big so soldering parts is easy. The rotary switch and pots are all mounted on the board, which makes assembly easy, this is a good PCB.

There was no documentation on OSH Park for this, so I reverse engineered the board to match the parts in the schematic. Here is the schematic I used with part numbers that match the PCB.

zeke

Overall the board turned out pretty good. I used a socket for the dual op-amp. I threw a random 1458 in that was sitting in a pile of parts on my bench, and it fired up first test. This is supposed to use a JRC 4558. I think I have a couple of these squirrelled away, I’ll dig them out before I box things up. I might try some other op-amps also.

There are three sets of diodes. D2-4 are Ge, D5-6 are Si, and D7-8 are LED. I used some 1N34 for the Ge, and 1n914 for the Si, and random 3mm LEDs from the parts bin.

With 3P4T switch the circuit is only using one pole. I only soldered the pins used by that pole. This way if I made a mistake, it’s been known to happen, I had fewer pins to de-solder. With these switches there is a small ring with a tab under the nut. Be sure to set this for four positions.

To mount the pots, I would suggest making a box first, mounting everything in the box. This will position the pots at the correct height above the board compared to the switch. Then solder from the top of the board. I made some holes in a piece of cardboard, and mounted everything in that before soldering, since I didn’t have a box drilled yet.

I put everything on the test rig, and it fired up first! Good for me, and thanks to bmossma at OSH Park. It’s always inspiring when things work on the first attempt. The sound was pretty good, it didn’t sound like much with guitar, with bass, the effect started to make sense. I tested with my baritone guitar and it seemed to sound pretty good with that also. Definitely more of an overdrive, distortion, than a fuzz to my ears.


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