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Old 16th Dec 2014, 9:42 pm   #1
SurreyNick
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Default Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Iím looking for inspiration for a case/housing for a miniature guitar amp I am making for my 16 year-old son. Other than its miniaturisation itís nothing clever. At its heart is a LM386N-1 amplifier, which delivers reasonable sound, married to an 8Ω Ĺ watt speaker (50mm in diameter) and the whole thing is powered by a 9v battery.

He has a decent Marshall amp and a smaller Roland too, which are fine for his chosen genre of play, that being heavy metal, but the idea behind this little baby is that he can keep it in the pocket of his guitar case and itís then available for any impromptu occasions.

I could make a case/housing from wood but thatís hardly likely to excite the lad. It really needs to be funky and cool and fitting for his genre (his favourite band is Metallica!!) I thought about using a small Pringles tube, but as I want the case to hang from a belt loop with the speaker facing outwards a tube isnít ideal.

Any ideas?

Nick
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Old 16th Dec 2014, 10:01 pm   #2
Ed_Dinning
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Default Re: Looking for inspiration

Hi Nick, something in the steam punk line; with a stripped out bourdon tube pressure gauge for the speaker housing?

Ed
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Old 16th Dec 2014, 10:01 pm   #3
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Default Re: Looking for inspiration

What about a small 'Ferrero Rocher' box spray painted on the inside? In groovy colours of course. In fact you could brush paint it, the smooth plastic box will give the posh finish. This one http://designermagazine.tripod.com/F...yramidPIC1.jpg looks cool and you can eat the contents too.

Apologies for 'groovy' and 'cool', should be 'well snazzy' and 'hip'.
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Old 16th Dec 2014, 10:02 pm   #4
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Default Re: Looking for inspiration

Hi Nick

I have built a valve amp into a Sobell case for my best friend.

The case was already damaged so could not be returned to its original state.

It's in Exeter so I cant take pic till the weekend but the case is this one

Cheers

Mike T
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Old 16th Dec 2014, 10:02 pm   #5
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Default Re: Looking for inspiration

More... A cheese grater.
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 2:35 pm   #6
davegsm82
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Default Re: Looking for inspiration

I know it's been done to death before, but why not a miniature perfect replica of his Roland or Marshal?

Rather than a LM386, why not use a little Class-D module from china? at least that way your PP3 will last a long time and will actually have some punch behind it. Make it out of some sturdy wood and you're onto a winner!

Dave.
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 2:50 pm   #7
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Default Re: Looking for inspiration

I have a 17yo lad and the first thing that came to mind was a PS or XBOX controller case, but it won't appeal if he isn't also into gaming.

Maybe a mocked up stomp pedal with a cool design on water-slide decal...
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 2:56 pm   #8
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Default Re: Looking for inspiration

Have a look in your local charity shops. They usually have small wooden or plastic boxes which can be repurposed.
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 4:33 pm   #9
dave walsh
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Default Re: Looking for inspiration

I get the idea-much smaller than the little busking/practise amps-even they would be incongruous hanging from the waist. Given that a redundant tranny or more modern portable radio/listening device might be already set up for a 2" spkr why not "shout out" [as these young people say] in "parts wanted" for something cool or that can be silvered/blackened. Based on the pringle notion I presume we are in the 6x3" range or thereabouts. As an example my Roberts Radio R862 10 band job is 5x3x1" and black plastic [but in constant use]. I'm sure there'a chance someone here will have something knocking about
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 7:02 pm   #10
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

If he is into Heavy metal (I am and love Metalica) how about a small die-cast metal box sprayed black and alow him to decorate it himself with his choice of band stickers, it would look awesome with some Metalica decals down the sides. it would be very sturdy and would be very easy to attach a belt clip to the rear.

Jay
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 7:40 pm   #11
SurreyNick
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Thank you for the suggestions. Some great ideas to consider. Jay has got me thinking that maybe a hinged 2oz tobacco tin might be the way to go. They are cheap to buy, numerous designs to choose from including custom design options too. The hinged lid can protect the speaker and fixing an eye-bolt to one corner of the tin will allow a carabiner clip to be affixed for a belt loop and the angle of dangle will ensure the lid hangs open.

Please keep the ideas coming though. A steam punk idea is very attractive too.

Nick
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 8:02 pm   #12
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Hi,
My brother has a mini guitar amp, tiny little thing, but looks just like a bigger one! I'll have to see if he'll let me take pics of it.

Regards,
Lloyd.
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 8:11 pm   #13
SurreyNick
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Thanks Lloyd. Marshall do one, a model called the MS2, which can be hung from the belt. Would be interesting to see others.
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 8:33 pm   #14
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Sounds similar to this one, it even looks like a Marshall!

I've used 1mm aluminium to make the case for a 8" LCD monitor for use with my camera before now, I covered it with some carbon fibre effect vinyl that is self adhesive. That feels quite solid, as I doubled it up where the frond and back cases meet.

A wooden box covered with carpet like material, with some rubber corner things would be quite sturdy too, you used to be able to buy the carpet material for car bass box speakers from Maplins.

Regards,
Lloyd.
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 9:58 pm   #15
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

If the amp is going to be carried about in a case it will be worth making the on-off switch of some design which can't be knocked on inadvertently. I used to have lots of problems with portable test gear batteries going flat due to this. How about an amp case design based on a square Jack Daniels bottle? Turn the cap to switch it on and off!
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Old 17th Dec 2014, 11:29 pm   #16
SurreyNick
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Clever Alan!
Good advice about the switch too. Thanks.
Nick
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Old 20th Dec 2014, 11:44 am   #17
Ti Pwun
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Love the JD bottle idea.
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Old 20th Dec 2014, 2:42 pm   #18
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Lego? With a bit of added glue it is VERY tough stuff

or build it into an effect pedal "I play so hard I don't need no amp!"

David
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Old 20th Dec 2014, 3:38 pm   #19
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

Yet another thought, get the lad a pair of good old SG Brown (or the like) high resistance headphones and plug the guitar in directly. No batteries, no annoying sound!
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Old 20th Dec 2014, 6:23 pm   #20
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Default Re: Case/housing for a miniature guitar amp. Looking for inspiration.

I've seen a MW radio built into a Carlsberg[1] lager can; I'm thinking that you could easily fit a small circular speaker into the end then fill the rest of the can with the amp and a 4xAA Li-Ion rechargeable pack with some foam offcuts to stop it rattling.

My amp-of-preference for overall ruggedness and low battery consumption is based on the SGA-ATES TBA820 chip. Though nearly 40-years-old it's still one of the best!

[1] Other lagers are available.
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