Friday, August 04, 2017



"In December 2010 Tiptop Audio released Happy Ending Kit that made affordable all in one (power module, rails, rack ears and PSU) entry into eurorack a reality. Those of us who lived way outside the eurorack supply center like Berlin ordering a case was very expensive. I already had a Modular World case, but anything else was not an option and by the time I wanted to expand MW went out of business. So for me HEK was a blessing. Later on I bought two extra uZeus power modules as I wanted to try and build my own case but installing bus boards and sourcing power supplies wasn't something I wanted to do. So again uZeus and Z Rails were an easy and a very affordable solution. As it turned out I didn't need the third uZeus as one was enough to power my 6U DIY case. At some point I had the possibility to get the big second hand Doepfer Monster case from SchneidersLaden that a friend brought on a plane (100 euros overweight). At that point I sold my HEK, rails and the two uZeuses.

After a while I moved to Berlin and as a result I had to sell the monster. I got myself Tiptop Audio station 252 so I can travel with it on the plane. We all know though that any system inevetably will grow and as I am mostly playing live I got myself a brand new HEK. Originally housed in a 3U SKB shallow rack it became increasingly frustrating to carry around so I decided to build a skiff - a table top wooden enclosure for my HEK. On closer examination of Z-RAILS I realized that due to the rails profile I could do a much faster, much easier and slimmer skiff that I originally thought. Even better, I found a plywood exactly the same width as the Z-Rails profile angle. This video is the build of my latest one. It is already the fourth skiff that I build and the third one using Z-Rails and uZeus. the original 84hp HEK skiff (without the rack ears) is used as FX rack - it perfectly fits on top of our Mackie 1604-VLZ3. The other two are 104hp black rails used as front rows for the 2 Tiptop Audio Mantis cases we use for playing live. The fourth skiff is the 84hp super slim one that I build to house the Verbos touch Keyboard - that one has its own power connector on the front panel so the case can be very slim. It is the only one I build using the cheep rails sold at SchneidersLaden to see how different the building process would be. Those rails have softer aluminum. The build itself was more complicated, less precise and I wouldn't use those again unless I absolutely had to. The keyboard though does look sexy surrounded by black frame.

I am not a carpenter, not an electric engineer either, but I have some tools at home for knocking up some stuff at home like shelves for shoes and so on, nothing fancy but sturdy and practical, even though not particularly beautiful. Prior to the latest skiff I used a hand held electric saw to cut the wood - it is extremely dangerous and annoyingly not precise - all my prior skiffs are not cut very good, but still good enough to house Z-Rails. This time I decided to invest (119 euros) in a circular precision micro saw - now everything is as precise as I need it to be.

If you already own a Happy Ending Kit - it is extremely cheep, fast ( a couple of hours) and easy to convert it to a skiff and it is a matter of 2 minutes to convert it back! If you don't have it, getting Z-Rails and a uZeus would be still very affordable build:

Price list:

Partially pre-cut wood - 6.43 Euro

Modulor Berlin couldn't cut it any smaller, so I had to cut the rest myself, If someone you know can cut to size, then you don't need to cut anything at all.

10x rubber fits (need 4 for the skiff) - 1.20 Euros

4x M4 rails mounting screws - 0.52 Euros"

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