For some years now I have wanted to make changes to my setup. While my trusted Odyssey stand or my Grundorf table has served me well I have always craved a more DJ Furniture-like solution to add a hint of elegance to the setup. But what was out there never quite fit the bill. Finally, thanks to COVID and extra time on my hands I decided to throw caution to the wind and build a DIY modular booth.
Stringent requirements you say? Yep I have a list of them. I’ve gone through my own booths over the years and had my successes and failures with them that I have put together a pretty long list of items I am trying to fulfill from this:
- Have a unique and elegant look
- Try to mimic a furniture-styled presence without being flashy or overt
- Be lightweight enough to solo-carry up stairs and difficult loadins
- Must be able to be setup the frame in < 5 minutes, preferably < 3 minutes
- Allow the storage and transport of my controller
- Store my equipment pre-wired to save time connecting equipment
- Be strong to withstand body bumps into it
- Be durable enough to last a couple seasons
The Existing Options
As I mentioned there are some great existing solutions out there that really caught my eye, these three really in particular:
The ToadMatic Performancematic
One of the first production rolling booths out there made from 80/20 T-Slot aluminum, the ToadMatic really was a great solution. Hell I even created a prototype on paper many months before DJ Toad created his own version.
Now before anyone asks, I am not mad. Toad came out with his original Toadmatic long before I came up with my concept which took a number of elements from his ideas. But I also had to push my design to the side because of a few negatives I could not overcome:
- This would just barely fit inside my Town & Country loading in from the side
- A wheeled cart means I always have to have easy load-ins even with the big wheels
- No way for me to go up stairs unless I obtain Jedi powers
The Danny Max MaxDesign Infinity Booth
This is one sexy booth. While I am not the biggest fan of the tuxedo look, you cannot deny that it looks sharp. Given the ultra-lightweight materials used the only surface that was durable enough was this marine-grade white but it’s nicely accented with the black edges and it’s a good choice. And durable it is with DJ Rachel really putting it to the test by literally pouring food coloring, wine, and sledding in it down a snowy hill. You owe yourself the time to watch her video on it:
But there were a couple shortcomings of the booth for my specific needs that I had to pass on it for now:
- The dual-pillar leg design takes over the space where my SKB cases need to go. And who wants to see my legs?
- The standard size would not fit my Rane One well so I would have to jump up to it’s largest size
The Bunn Gear Command Console
DJ Bunn really put together an elegant T-styled solution with the Command Console and DJ Barr covers the review of it very well. This is the Bunn Gear second version, the first being all fiberglass and the newest one being aluminum. It certainly fits the modular and lightweight route. But it also had a shortcoming of my requirements.
- A permanent rack-mount center means I don’t have the ability to swap out pieces at a moments notice.
It’s Time To Build
So with those three of my top options not quite fitting what I need what was I to do? Would I be crazy enough to try to build my own booth with no prior skills building anything like this? Sure why not! LOL.
In truth I was terrified that I would build a dud. But after seeing a booth that put into action an idea I had to secure my pieces together I decided to throw caution to the wind and start to build. I scoped out what I was going to need and headed to Home Depot
And then cut all the parts down to what I was going to need
The first thing to build was the caddy which I wanted to make as lightweight as possible. After assembling with a screw-and-glue method and cutting out handles and a cable port this came in at 8 lbs. Remarkable how lightweight wood can be! To secure in the Rane One, instead of building a frame around it and foam line it I opted to cut “chocks” and glued them into the caddy. This would secure it down and save some weight in the final product.
The next phase was the base which consisted of two 22″x40″ plywood pieces, my blocks that would have tab-slots routed out for the caddy to slide into. 4 of the blocks would be hinged with slots routed out of that for the hinge to recess into. The remaining blocks served as the back platform for the caddy. To round out the base build I installed leveling feet.
Oh and a word to the wise, if you have a place like Home Depot cut your initial long boards down to something more manageable, double check their cuts. I learned the hard way that they were off and it made my first long cuts for my base to be off. I was frankly a bit pissed about it given once assembled my meeting of my front base, well, did not meet. It was off by 1/16 – 1/8″ depending where you were looking. But a cooler head prevailed by putting a piece of trim where this error happened and frankly I love the look of it. So a tip for the DIY crowd, sometimes your mistakes can force you into a fix that makes it look even better.
Up next was long and tedious process of painting with Duratex speaker paint. Best practice is to apply a coat and let each coat dry for 24 hours. This was a week-long process to finish up, but as Alton Brown would say, your patience will be rewarded.
The topper was a bit of a challenge. I ended up going through three iterations till I got it to where I liked it. A pro tip on using a router, it will get away from you way too quickly which is what happened with both of my initial toppers. But as things would go, going through those mistakes allowed me to refine my look and I decided on a topper that had a hang over the front and the corners.
Now comes the critical question on how to transport this all. Part of my initial design was to ensure it would fit into a SKB 4719-8 case so the caddy was made to fit inside and give an inch or so for each side to fit in. With cables, controller, and caddy this all clocks in at 62 lbs.
As for the base and topper, that comes courtesy of a Tuki cases custom case with a pair of dividers inside to keep things from rubbing against each other. With each leg coming in at around 18lbs, the topper at 4 lbs, and the bag at around 4 lbs, this is not that much heavier than the Odyssey folding stand I was using.
The Final Assembly
All together, it really came out well.
- Plywood: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Columbia-Forest-Products-1-2-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-PureBond-Birch-Plywood-833185/100020218
- Hinges: https://amzn.to/2OUawfu
- “Tabs” brackets: https://amzn.to/3th2tYU
- Feet: https://amzn.to/3eAhYHn
- Pins: https://amzn.to/2OoEMiM
- Ties: https://amzn.to/3rZYAqU
- Laptop stand: https://amzn.to/3vxaWcD
- Tuki covers: https://www.tukicovers.com/
- SKB Case: https://amzn.to/3vxaZFl