Jump to content

Pedal Builders: Are effects your full time job?


phishmarisol

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 101
  • Created
  • Last Reply
  • Members

Pretty interesting stuff here. I guess there are others out there as crazy as Joel and I to work 7 days a week to stay on top of things. We are trying to keep things under control and not be too mind boggling busy until we can build a work shop and hire more people. We do everything here at home: drill, powder coat, screen, load enclosures, solder, etch circuit board...etc...etc...plus manage coming up with new ideas.
As far as the electronics experience goes, Joel was an amp tech at a music store for several years before he started this full time. It amazes me how you can have only so many "Types" of effects out on the market.....but each company individualizes them and offers something slightly different than the other. It has been a real learning experience for me.....I play keyboards and never had all these cool toys to play with.
Later,
Andrea Weaver
HBE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Originally posted by HomeBrew Elec

Pretty interesting stuff here. I guess there are others out there as crazy as Joel and I to work 7 days a week to stay on top of things. We are trying to keep things under control and not be too mind boggling busy until we can build a work shop and hire more people. We do everything here at home: drill, powder coat, screen, load enclosures, solder, etch circuit board...etc...etc...plus manage coming up with new ideas.

As far as the electronics experience goes, Joel was an amp tech at a music store for several years before he started this full time. It amazes me how you can have only so many "Types" of effects out on the market.....but each company individualizes them and offers something slightly different than the other. It has been a real learning experience for me.....I play keyboards and never had all these cool toys to play with.

Later,

Andrea Weaver

HBE



That's very cool.

I do everything here too. Drilling , painting, labeling, soldering, etc... I've just recently had Donner paint some special boxes and Todd Money. I usually do all of my painting myself. Even the custom painted boxes, but there is a limit to my painting knowledge and wanted to give Donner and Todd a go at some custom painted master pieces. I've only out sourced once on a circuit board for my 90-TENN. The rest of my circuits are made by hand here and aren't etched. Just the one. I wish you guys luck on the workshop and hired help...:wave:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Started doing it really small-time about a little over a year ago and started really pushing it in early spring. It's accellerated FAR faster than I ever thought it would which is great because of the income, but bad in the sense that it means that 4 months after buying my first home I still haven't finished painting the kitchen... Painting plenty of pedals, but haven't even gotten to my own kitchen yet. Or the entry way. Or the hallway. Or the closets. Or the hall bathroom that smells like stale cigarette smoke...

This is a part-time gig for me and I don't see it changing in the future. I love what I do (litigation paralegal in downtown Seattle) and if this became a full-time job, the fun would disappear in a hurry. I'd constantly be worried that sales would drop in random months and that I'd miss my mortgage payment, that I wouldn't be able to afford health insurance for myself AND my family, etc.

I used to be a total morning person. 4AM wasn't a problem, but 10PM was lights-out for me. By 10PM the batteries were dead and I was useless for anything other than getting someone into the carpool lane on the freeway. Now I rarely get to bed earlier than 1:00AM. 2:00AM is usually the ultimate cutoff time for me.

My motivation for this is to have a hobby I can sink myself into and thrive in, and a way to pay off my freakin' credit card, and a way to then fill a room full of guitar gear. And then who-knows - maybe full-time?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I do Skreddy Pedals on evenings and weekends. I would have to have a VERY reliable stream of income before I started thinking about quitting my day job. I make a good living as a database/e-commerce programmer, but I enjoy effects and music and art SOOO MUCH. I'm starting to see Skreddy Pedals as my main gig more and more, and I'll eventually go to full time. I honestly don't see how I can make as much money as I need to just doing everything myself by hand like I do now. (design & layout, etch circuitboards, populate and solder circuits, drill, sand, label, and paint boxes, final assembly, shipping, marketing, and customer service are all me.)

I will have to go the way of Analog Man and ZVex soon and start outsourcing some of my processes to high quality 3rd parties, while retaining creative and quality control oversight. This will help me produce enough quantities to begin stocking dealers (I haven't forgotten you guys!), allow me to quit my day job, and let me concentrate more on research & development and customer & public relations.

Things as they are now are very nice, but I can't keep the late hours I've had to pull. I've already increased my lead time (3 weeks from order to finished product) to take some of the pressure off my personal life and let me spend a bit more quality time with my kids and my girlfriend in the evenings. That will change once things go into high gear with outsourcing. I may actually keep some INVENTORY some day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I'm not a pedal builder per se', but I figured I'd throw my chips in anyway. ToneFactor is my full time gig and has been for about a year and a half. We opened officially in december of '03 with about 3 or 4 pedal lines. Now we have pedals by over 60 companies as well as 6 ToneFactor Custom pedals made by some reat builders.

We're still very small time for the most part. It's just me and my wife occasionally my nephews for guitar shows and things like that. We're trying to open a brick and mortar shop soon, and I'm sure I'll have to hire some backup pretty quickly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Originally posted by UnkleSlam

I'm not a pedal builder per se', but I figured I'd throw my chips in anyway. ToneFactor is my full time gig and has been for about a year and a half. We opened officially in december of '03 with about 3 or 4 pedal lines. Now we have pedals by over 60 companies as well as 6 ToneFactor Custom pedals made by some reat builders.


We're still
very
small time for the most part. It's just me and my wife occasionally my nephews for guitar shows and things like that. We're trying to open a brick and mortar shop soon, and I'm sure I'll have to hire some backup pretty quickly.



This is a very good thing. Congrates Brad!!!!!:thu:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I started out as an Electronic Tech while in college, and then worked into engineering. I was an electrical Engineer for several big corporations for about 10 years. I had designed many products from low cost million piece a year to one piece builds. I had to design products to mee all the Safety standards (UL, CSA, VDE, IAPMO, California, etc), and most had to have an expected life of at least 20 years, AND they had to be cheap. I had reached the highest level I could as an engineer. I was a Senior Design Engineer, which meant I got to do all the design work, and offload alot of the "grunt work" to the younger engineers. Basically I had the job you dreamed about in engineering school, before you realized that it would be years before they would actually let you design anything.

I decided it was time to go out on my own. The other option was to move into management, and I didn't see any fun in that, so I decided that I had learned all I could about design, manufacturing, and field issues, and it was time to do something else.

I went part time at my engineering job while they found a replacement, and started designing pedals. In trying to pay the bills I took on alot of side work designing and building electronics for other companies. Unfortunately, that part of the business has kept me busy over 50 hours a week, which has put many of my own designs on the back burner.

I currently have several part time employees, and one going Full Time hopefully in a week or two. With the added help, I am hoping to spend more of my time with the pedal business.

As for who does the work, I have been buying the right equipment to do most of the work in-house. We have a CNC milling machine we cut and etch the boxes with (Powder Coating is done outside). We have a Manual Milling machine for Prototyping, We have an Auto Insertion Machine for SMT components, although we have not used that yet for Pedals, just for other products so far. We have many solder-desolder stations. I build fixtures for aligining any critical components. We assemble and test all pedals in-house.

My latest purchase was an Automated Terminal Crimper, which allows me to make my own wiring harnesses in-house.

I do all the Mechanical Design, Electronic Design, PCB Layout, and Software (All of my pedals are pure analog signal path, but they ALL have a microcontroller to control footswtiching, and battery detection, as well as other functions in some pedals). My twin brother (PHD in CS), is learing how to do software for me, and helps with alot of the other business stuff when he's not teaching.

My older Brother programs the CNC Machine and cuts all the boxes. He also deals with the Powder Coater. He does this on Nights and Weekends, which has become a problem as orders have increased.

Right now we are in a weird growth stage where we are going to go for it full out. I hope to hire another engineer someday to take over some of the work for the consulting business, and free me up to dedicate myself fully to pedal designs.

Anyway, what was the question? Did I answer it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...
  • Members
Started in 2001, I think there's a thread on some board that talks about my first compressor in March or April, full time from then on (yes, two full-time jobs stinks BAD!)...I quit teaching college in May or June of 2002, Had 2-3 employees by then, it's been a blur of 14-18 hour days since. Now we are up to about 16-18 employees depending on who is naughty and nice. My employees just kick ass, they are incredible in so many ways. All but 2-3 or three are guitar players/musicians and have a heart for this work. Some just blow me away with there abilities, could be where we are without them.

This work is a blast! Hung out with the Doobie Brothers this weekend and was able to let them demo the Katana, TMB, BD-2 and Compressor, they took them all! Plus got to talk about Coffee and Hawaii with Pat Simmons quite a bit!

There were some other effects on their board made by HC members, so the guitar tech is really hip and so is Westwood music who let them test and try out all the latest and greatest from the custom built/small manufactures out there.

This business is hard work for sure, managing business and putting out fires is a hard job...find time to sit down at the bench and design is near impossible any more. Again, wouldn't trade it for the world.

:love:

rk



From the archives of 2005. Where have all the builders gone.. :cry:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

great thread!!!

i dont consider myself a builder yet as im still in the learning process, have built a several circuits/clones here and there out of curiosity and wanting to learn.

im not one of those "cloners" that make bulk amounts of a known pedal (ie SHO's) for sale/profit, but if i did sell a clone, it would always be on ebay with a 99c starting bid.

would be interested to know how builders feel about that whole cloner/diy thing and how its affected them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

My story is similar to Z - I got laid off back in 2001 and I started building Mr. Ed pedals in my garage.


However, about a year later I got offered another IT job, so I moved to San Diego and worked full time, then I came home every night to work full time on ToadWorks.


When I moved back to San Francisco it was the same situation, I worked full time as the IT Director for a software company, but I couldn't keep it up, so we hired a couple employees, and they worked full time, and I worked part time at ToadWorks in the evenings.


And then the company I was working for went under, the assets were sold, and I was out of a job, so I said screw this, it's time to do ToadWorks full time.

So, we moved someplace cheap (Spokane, WA), and ToadWorks has been my full time job for almost a year.


I still get calls to do IT work, so every couple months I'll fly down to the Bay Area to do some consulting for a week - it takes me away from ToadWorks for a week, but the money I can make in that amount of time pays the bills for 6 months, so I can't pass it up.

 

 

i had no idea you guys were so close, i'm living in pullman currently. do any of the stores over here stock your products? specifically, atom heart music in pullman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Cool history thread! Nice to see I'm on track with my 2005 self's business plan.



Yeah, i saw my post. I was operating under the delusion that my wife would be helping me out. bwahahahaha. Not sure why I ever thought that. I love her and all, but the idea of working with her all day and then coming home and spending all night with her. :mad::mad:

Anyway, Subdecay has been my only source of income since mid 2005.... Although it wasn't really a steady income until early 2006 after we finally moved back to Oregon, and I had enough stability (like knowing where i was going to be living) to really grow it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
building effects is more or less my full-time job, but I have a part-time day job too so I can make ends meet.



That's probably how I'm gonna end up doing things. Eventually quit my 40-hour job. Then make 10-20 pedals a month + some part-time work to balance things out.

Lets see how it works out when this thread is bumped in another 5 years. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...