Building a DIY Eurorack Case

9U 104hp DIY Eurorack case in cherry

I wanted a nice wood Eurorack case for my modular synthesizer, and after lots of research, I decided to build my own DIY Eurorack case. The final product is a 9U / 104hp cabinet I’m very happy with!

The sides, top, and front panels are cut from a piece of 3/4″ cherry (12 inches deep). I finished it with a few coats of an easy wipe-on polyurethane. With the help of a very talented and generous neighbor, we cut all the wood parts in a few hours. I then spent a week sanding, gluing, and finishing the final product.

Parts

I ordered the rails and end-brackets from Pulp Logic. The parts came really quickly and was easy to put together. I went with sliding nuts instead of threaded strips for more flexibility on mounting modules tightly together. Don’t forget to order screws and washers to prevent rack rash!

For power, I went with a DIY build of the Synthrotek Case Power Blue system. This provides 12V at 3A, -12V at 2.5A, and 5V at 1.5A – way more than I should need. I added 2 noise filtering power distribution boards (affiliate link) to provide power to the top two rows. Be sure to plan out your rack at ModularGrid and pay attention to power requirements! The DIY build was a bit tedious (about 1 hour per board), but not difficult. You also save quite a bit of money by building it yourself, so if you’re handy with a soldering iron, this is the way to go. The TipTop Studio Bus system also looked pretty nice, but at the time I was doing the build, they were sold out everywhere.

I used a 3/4″ x 12″ cherry board. In reality, it gave me about 11 3/8″ to work with. I really wanted to use walnut, but I couldn’t find wide enough walnut planks and I wanted to avoid edge-gluing the boards.

Advice For Building Your Own DIY Eurorack Case

My primary advice to people building your own case is: don’t rush it. Take your time to plan out your system, shop around for parts, and make sure you measure carefully.

Beyond that, make a cardboard mockup to make sure you like the profile. When I did this, I decided I didn’t like how thick the top of the case was. I shaved off 5/8 of an inch from the design, and I think that made a big difference. I still had plenty of depth for modules (70mm on the top row), so this wasn’t a problem.

One woodworking tip – finish the pieces before gluing. If glue leaks out when you clamp, you can wipe it off with a wet rag, but it will show up in the finish. If you finish first however, then the glue can be wiped off without any residue remaining. The WATCO poly was pretty easy to use, didn’t stink to much, and dried quickly.

Update – After using the case for a couple of months, one thing I wish I’d done a little differently is to have less of an angle between the bottom two rows. All the modules fit fine, but sometimes patch cable ends can bump into each other if a jack on the bottom of the middle row aligns horizontally with another jack on the top of the bottom row. I’m also glad I put 3/4″ rubber feet on the bottom of the case, because I’ve found it’s nice to route the power, MIDI, and pedal cables from my keyboard under the case to the back of the desk.

Final Words

A huge thanks to Matthew Goike for advice and inspiration for this build and to Synthrotek for making awesome DIY kits!

Author: Jason

I am currently a Senior Software Engineer with nearly 20 years experience devising test strategies and test plans, building test automation, managing software teams, and helping developer teams improve testability of their code. My thoughts on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any employer, past, present, or future.

3 thoughts on “Building a DIY Eurorack Case”

  1. Hi Jason
    I happened upon your site yesterday. Lots of food for thought and helpful hints & tips.
    It’s been my wish, for many, many months now to build my own Eurorack case (from wood). Your case is the type/design that I am aiming for. So it’s nice to have some guidance. Mine will eventually be 12U & 126hp. I already have the rails and end cheeks.
    I have a question. How did you work out what angles the rails should sit at, to one another?
    Hope you well,
    Simon.

    1. Lots of trial and error 🙂 As I was designing the case on paper, I made a full scale drawing of the angles from the side and played around with them until I liked how they sat. Even after all that, I still ended up making the angle between the bottom a bit 2 rows a bit too tight, such that cables the top of the bottom row can get in the way of cables at the bottom of the middle row. My best advice is to draw it out full scale and see what works for you before cutting any wood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *