This video, via Jens Paldam, demonstrates how to build a DIY Eurorack synth case out of cardboard.
For many, building a Eurorack case out of cardboard to house hundreds, in not thousands, of dollars of modules might be a questionable idea. But Paldam put a lot of thought into the design and the result looks pretty impressive.
Paldam was inspired by an earlier cardboard Eurorack case design – but updated to be ‘resilient and awesome enough for permanent use.’
Paldam has shared his design as a downloadable PDF.
Here’s an example of Palam’s synth in action:
If you’ve done your own DIY Eurorack design, share the details in the comments!
Equipment featured in the video:
Moog Mother 32, Make Noise René, CME Xkey37 Keyboard, Doepfer A-188-1 BDD Module, Doepfer A-119 Ext. in, Doepfer A-132-3 dual VCA, Doepfer A-180-2 Multipl., Doepfer A-118 Noise, Doepfer A-183-1 Dual Atten. Intellijel Rubicon, Intellijel Dixie II +, Intellijel Polaris, 4ms quad pingable lfo, 4ms pedals shuffling clock multiplier, Make Noise Maths (2012 version), Make Noise René, Mutable Instruments Clouds, Befaco Hexa VCA, Vermona qMI 2, Tip Top Audio ?Zeus, Tip Top Audio Z-rails.
12 thoughts on “How To Build a Cardboard Eurorack Case”
Looks like he put a lot of time into the finish work and the end result looks really nice!
But… if you’re gonna spend *that* much time on a case and already have the tools, why not just use wood?
I have been thinking of switching from stand-alone synths like the Microbrute and Roland SH-01 to Eurorack, but even before I start spending money on modules, I’m looking at $300 for a case with enough room for expansion. I don’t think cardboard is the way to go, for me, but I’d be prepared to learn some basic cabinetry skills and make one, unless some kind soul (hint, hint!) could point me at a manufacturer who won’t demand several hundred dollars before I’ve even bought an oscillator!
If you are cutting angled wooden end cheeks, why cant you cut the long, simple case from wood? It wouldn’t wrap around, but you could easily bevel the edge joints.
Maybe it would be better to use that plastic cadrboard stuff from campaign signs?
one reason to use cardboard is tools and noise. it’s easier to cut with a cutter knife and not as loud as a saw. some people live in noise sensitive environments, even if they have synths…
Except the pdf instructions for this want you to cut the sides out of wood.
So, since you are cutting wood anyways……
A jigsaw or bandsaw is probably just as loud as a blender or electric coffee grinder. And handsaws are of course very quiet in comparison.
Yep, why use cardboard when thin plywood isn’t too pricey and is much more durable?
I made myself a 1 row cardboard case which is quite suitable for indoors / bedroom use. Double thick cardboard with glue could be as sturdy as plywood, and easier to work. Of course, wood is perfectly fine, but I built my own DIY power supply and busses and started slow, reducing the basic cosr of a modular case + power. It was less than 80 euros for me.
Not every modular user is spending thousands, although true DIY tinkerers seem to be a minority within the culture. Respect to anyone who buys prebuilt elements, I just happen to find it more amusing this way
why even buy plywood… I made my 6U from scrap wood from old furniture. Only had to buy the rails, screws, and stain.
A eurorack case be the the cheapest thing about building a eurorack system.
I know Jens, and I’ve seen this system up close. It’s definitely not “temporary” or anything. These are built to last, really. Also, aren’t people missing out on the tinkerer aspect here? I mean, tinkering is awesome, and being a maker involves a certain amount of… irrationality, really. In that sense all of this is really awesome.
I made a cardboard rack, mainly as a proof of concept design, but I still use it. It is really sturdy actually. I will make a proper one out of wood but I am going to refine my design via cardboard first.
Sorry to be joining the discussion so late, most of you have probably moved on to other internet pastures. First off, big thanks to Synthtopia for posting my video, and also thanks to everyone commenting, not least Andreas – I had to look up what and who a tinkerer is, I like the comparison 🙂 Wood is a fantastic material, and I did consider making the cases entirely out of wood, but as Southpole writes, noise and tools are important factors, but also time. I can build a complete case (or two) over the course of a weekend in cardboard. I have now built six, so for each new, they become better and faster to build. With cardboard I don’t need to go to a woodshop, I can just sit in my living room and have a cup of coffee while working. The cases are also more disposable than a woodcase that I have spend a lot of time building. I can quickly build a new one to try out an idea, or having a spare as a travel case. Another good thing is weight. The cardboard cases are very light. If I had used wood I would probably have gone with thicker planks to make it less brittle. The cardboard I use is 2 mm thick and very solid. The wooden sides can be omitted, but nothing like wooden sides to lend class and style to your synth 😀 Right now I am planning a 150 hp cardboard case. I call it “The Long Pig”: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/338976