TTSH, on the case… AGAIN
Can’t say I felt like jinxing this project in the previous post but apparently I may just have.
With the case in the above state I started figuring out how to apply the tolex with minimal visible seams. And I just wasn’t able to: Whatever way around I test-fitted the tolex, there just were too many seams. So instead I decided to take a step back and start a new frame from scratch, this time by going with a dual frame style similar to what many TTSH diy’ers have done.
I sure wasn’t at all thrilled by the extra work and waste of materials. But since the TTSH is quite an expensive project by parts alone I’d rather put in the extra effort to make it also look good. I know for a fact I’d hate myself later on, if looking at the thing made me think every time like “why didn’t I fix this”.
As the dual frame approach goes, there’s a single inner frame which holds the front panel and electronics, and two halves of outer frame that make up the road / suit case kind of shell. The inner frame is fastened to the inside of one outer half, whereas the remaining half becomes the removable cover. This allows hiding most of the seams between the two frames or under corner protector brackets.
So once again I found myself reworking my (already once reworked) original design. For this 3rd pass I did just a quick sketch to check some of the dimensions, mostly focusing on the inner frame and adjusting existing dimensions for the new sheet materials. The tolex I have is exactly 0.5mm thick, and to include that in the design I left a 1mm gap on each side between the inner & outer frames.
I initially chose to make both frames using 9mm thick plywood, as it would’ve resulted in a close match to the thickness of the original design (18.5mm). By the time I had the inner frame cut and glued together this size felt a bit too flimsy to support all the weight, so I chose to go one size thicker (to 12mm) for the outer frame. I also tried a 15mm sheet for looks, but it proved too big a change compared to the 9mm inner frame.
No screws allowed
I’ve wanted to have a go at making hand cut box joints for quite some time (did CNC ones back in 2012) and this project now seemed exactly perfect for that. Going with box joints instead of screws adds to the extra work but then again, any first-timer dues I might need to pay will be covered by tolex. So in other words, a perfectly safe practice target even if the joints go a little wrong. Just as long as they’ll hold.. :)
Just to have some extra bonus with the project, for the first time ever I also managed to cut my finger on the sliding table saw. Was in a haste to get the parts cut and had the left index finger just lightly brush up with the (spinning down) blade. Even so it was well enough to do damage, as the machine is quite the industrial grade monster. Basically lost some of the finger nail and fractured the bone.. I sure feel really stupid about dropping my guard there, as operating the machine (and even it’s sheer cutting power alone!) has always made me feel uneasy and behave extra cautious. But that’s that, finger will heal eventually and build must go on :)
Line ’em up!
Labour downtime caused by ‘meet & greet’ with the blade aside, it was really nice to eventually assemble the frames. There’s just something about complex wood joinery that I find highly satisfying. As much expected my first go at box joints (= inner frame) turned out quite the loose one, with gaps all over. Outer frame was way better and its joints held together nice & stiff, even without the glue.
Though I suspect I might come to hate it at some point, I nonetheless chose to install jack plates on both left and right sides. The former will hold IEC power socket & fuse holder, and the latter whatever other connectors won’t fit to front panel (eg. MIDI input).
Why I might hate this is because having connectors to the side is never a good idea if you want to have devices sit next to one another. Yet somehow doing exactly so made more sense from the road case perspective. Perhaps this thing just needs to sit high above everything else, like a king ready to rule :P
Next up with the build I have some parts shopping to do. I already applied tolex over the inner frame (pic below), but need the missing bits to treat what remains.. And I still also need to make the cover part of outer frame.