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Adventures in building the "ultimate" FC external switch box(es)

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
Nicely rendered, I was going to do it software based but then said “screw it” and just used a glass slide as a circle template and a sharpie lol.

Latest update is I found that it’s difficult to get even illumination from each “lens”, especially the front one as there isn’t much height to work with so you can’t put an LED right under it and the switch mechanism can cast a shadow

Solution is lining the inside with a shiny material, I used HVAC tape, so that any light really bounces all over the box and gives a very even look.

D3211DE1-81AC-43CF-A73C-05D95CFA480C.jpeg8BF65528-7B18-43B6-B750-FD8E4F885711.jpeg
 

simonp54

Inspired
Nicely rendered, I was going to do it software based but then said “screw it” and just used a glass slide as a circle template and a sharpie lol.

Latest update is I found that it’s difficult to get even illumination from each “lens”, especially the front one as there isn’t much height to work with so you can’t put an LED right under it and the switch mechanism can cast a shadow

Solution is lining the inside with a shiny material, I used HVAC tape, so that any light really bounces all over the box and gives a very even look.

View attachment 57363View attachment 57364
Your just putting “a colour” led “on” from something like a battery right?, no external connection, and just to show the switch location?
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
If you add a 9V power socket, you can use a "OneSpot" or similar 9V adapter and save $$$ on batteries....
True, but downside is that then you need to have another cord running to the FC for power, instead of just the single XLR so little messier than an internal battery.

I figure I should get about 150/200 hrs from a battery depending on how bright I run the LED, or could also use like 3 or 4 AA and have a lot more capacity.
 

Hoosierdaddy

Inspired
Brilliant design,,,and craftiness,,,I myself would be very interested in this type of ADD-on.
I can Vouch for Roadrunners EXT4MFC. I still have mine .
 

Joe Bfstplk

Inspired
True, but downside is that then you need to have another cord running to the FC for power, instead of just the single XLR so little messier than an internal battery.

I figure I should get about 150/200 hrs from a battery depending on how bright I run the LED, or could also use like 3 or 4 AA and have a lot more capacity.
<jon-lovitz>
4 AA. Yeah, that's the ticket.... :cool:
</jon-lovitz>

Rechargeables would cut down on battery costs....
 

Roadrunner

Forum Addict
I've been wondering when someone is gonna start producing these type of extensions for sale. I love my Roadrunner EXT4MFC on the AFX2... sits flush against the side of the MFC.
https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/the-first-ever-extension-module-for-mfc-101.60819/page-2

Looks like @Roadrunner doesn't plan on offering FC extensions though. Who's gonna produce these type of units for sale?.. either four switches, or combo of 2 switches and 2 pots would be awesome. Anyone? Fractal maybe? seems like a logical accessory to produce and sell.
Happy to see that my EXT4MFC is still in use.
Currently I don’t see myself doing these for the new FM’s, only because of initial costs, if you want a solid, reliable extension, it costs a lot when manufacturing in small batches dew to the enclosure.
I remember back than spending so much time on many prototypes until I got the right one.

@iqdsnddist - a word from experience – skip the LED thing, it’s a bling bling, not more than that as it’s not going to affect or help you in anyway, as soon as you switch to a new preset, the switch cannot read its statues from the Axe so the LED status means nothing.
Adding LED just makes it more complicated, not maintenance free and above all you have another link in the chain that could go wrong / break.
The main use of the extension is functions that do not require LED status like bank up / down, Volume incr’ / decr’ etc.
For block status etc, use the FM switches which has LED that are effected by the preset block status.
Good luck.
 

simonp54

Inspired
Happy to see that my EXT4MFC is still in use.
Currently I don’t see myself doing these for the new FM’s, only because of initial costs, if you want a solid, reliable extension, it costs a lot when manufacturing in small batches dew to the enclosure.
I remember back than spending so much time on many prototypes until I got the right one.

@iqdsnddist - a word from experience – skip the LED thing, it’s a bling bling, not more than that as it’s not going to affect or help you in anyway, as soon as you switch to a new preset, the switch cannot read its statues from the Axe so the LED status means nothing.
Adding LED just makes it more complicated, not maintenance free and above all you have another link in the chain that could go wrong / break.
The main use of the extension is functions that do not require LED status like bank up / down, Volume incr’ / decr’ etc.
For block status etc, use the FM switches which has LED that are effected by the preset block status.
Good luck.
Wise words... (unless of course you could read status / colour configuration)
I was in the process of building a complete footcontroller, until the FC was launched. Indeed the enclosure is the most expensive and critical part. Having said that the other consideration with the mechanical design is how to incorporate the rubber end caps AND make a good solid support for the actual FC. If you had one of these at both ends, it would make the actual FC hang in the air. Some precise feet (height dimension) need to be sourced. The design will also need to be 100% left right compatible, due to the initial costs of enclosure design / production.
 

Rex

Legend!
From an earlier post...

A comment on the 16-gauge steel that the FCs are built with...

In 7th grade shop class, I built a sheet-metal lock box. The instructor told me to use 18-gauge steel, because anything heavier would be hard to work with. I figured, “Screw that. It’s a lock box, right? It’s supposed to be tough.” So I used 16-gauge steel. It was a bitch to build, but I got it done, and it worked.

On the last day of class, we got our projects back. One of the school hard-asses decided to screw up my day. He grabbed it away from me and started banging on it. He finally gave up. I walked out with my intact lock box under my arm and a smile on my face. If I’d built it lighter, it would have crumpled.


So yeah, 16-gauge steel is pretty rugged. :)
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
I agree the “led” is kind of silly, but it seemed feasible to attempt and I was kind of proud how well my DIY method looked so I wanted to give it a go.

Basically in my case the light ring just is a visual label reminding me what that switch does. On my FC the scene switches are red, so the external switch that brings up the scenes layout is red, effects are blue etc. I could of just added a text label, or remembered what it did, but I thought the colored light looked cooler. Bit of extra work but became sort of a quest to pull it off lol.

Agree on the high cost of small scale production. I’ve looked into it before and the setup and tooling etc costs are high, and unless your doing a huge run per unit costs is expensive. Then your running up against the price people would pay, vs just saying I’ll buy a fc12, or add a FC6 to my 12 instead of pay you $150 for extra switches. Of course you could do it cheaper, but folks expect quality machining, exact fit etc, and that doesn’t come cheap. Also there is the issue of profit, and if I’m making like $10/hr in the end it’s not worth it for all the design, assembling, shipping them out etc. Dont mind doing it for my own uses as building is part of the fun, but building 50 of them feels like a job.
 
So, last night, feeling inspired by @lqdsnddist 's fine craftsmanship, I spent a couple hours playing around with Tinkercad and built a quick 3D model of a FC Extension for printing... spent some time designing supports and tapers inside. The plan was to print it out, drill out the correct holes, then wire it all up.

ATTACHED is 3D MODEL if anyone wants to improve upon this or try a print.

With six points, I'm figuring four switches (in the same spacing as FC-12, plus room at the top for two potentiometers. I use two expression pedals, so have two open expression ports... was thinking of doing something like @2112 with easy footpedal dial access for delay time and feedback.

Here's some renders: (below is the attached model, if anyone else wants to take this design further or try and get better results than me.)

FC-extention-34-render.jpg


FC-extention-34-render-drill.jpg

FC-extention-34-under-render.jpg


Last night, I que'd up a print on my 3D printer in white ABS (I don't have any black currently) It all started off great! (but don't they all ;) I watched over it for about an hour, and then headed off to bed. I woke up this morning, excited to see the progress!!... and... drum roll....

fc-extension-fail-34.jpg

fc-extension-fail-side.jpg

fc-extension-beside-fc.jpg

FAIL!! Ugghh.. Every time I try and leave a more complex, or larger print overnight, something like this happens... so frustrating. It appears I've got two issues here: 1. The ABS is cooling/warping/bending upward from the print surface. 2. For some reason, the whole print seems to have gotten offset by about a half an inch part way through. The first issue seems like maybe it can be fixed with putting glue on the print surface? The second issue, I have no idea what happened... the machine completely lost track of one coordinate. At my printer's speed it took 8 hours to make this 1/4 finished pinstrosity. So frustrating. I can already tell this is gonna take more time and effort than I have to spare right now.

Anyways, maybe I'll try it again. I think the whole print will take my printer about 30 hours though... and based on previous experience, its likely this will end up taking multiple prints to get it right (at least on my printer) Does anyone know of a print-on-demand type of company where single or short runs can be made for not ridiculous cost? I'm thinking that may be a better route.

ATTACHED is the 3D Model (zipped in STL and OBJ format), in case anyone wants to play around with it, improve upon it, or try and print it out. I'd buy one of these if anyone has luck. If printing with hollow/infill interior, just make sure that you set a bottom solid and top solid of at least a 1/4 inch, so the top will be solid and you have something to screw a bottom plate into. There may be other things that need fixing/improvements too. This was going to be my test print before ordering some black ABS and doing a final... now, I'm not sure I've got the time and patience to follow through with it... at ~30hrs per print, with a high chance of failure or need to make adjustments, just not sure I can tackle this right now with my other obligations.
 

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