September 24, 2018 by vicwomg
Update: These are on sale now at my store!
Being a working musician, city-slicker, and general disliker of ridiculously loud music, big heavy amps are not my thing. While it would be a great honor to someday be featured on the venerable Rigs of Dad, for now I’ll save my back. My chosen tube amp to date is the classic 10″ Fender Princeton Reverb. Light enough to carry with one arm, and enough power to get me to the Tone-Zone®.
However, one problem I have with smaller combo amps is that they can be difficult to hear in live situations. Amps placed on the floor simply aren’t pointing in the right direction to be heard by someone standing on stage. Sometimes I’ll hike my amp up on a chair, but that also takes up a lot of space and is unsightly. What I need is some tilt-back assembly, which would allow an amp to point upward at an angle.
So what’s out there on the market?
There are the Fender official tilt-back legs, two thin metal legs that are mounted on the sides of the amp. Pretty cool-looking classic design, but it requires drilling to install and can’t be removed and used on other amps easily. Plus they cost $40… for some bits of metal and screws. Nah.
There’s also this kind of thing, but who wants to carry around more heavy-duty stuff? One trip from the car is my rule. We’re quickly entering dad-rig territory with this. Also, it’s $40. Oof. Spending money, right?
The Hamilton Unistand. Now we’re getting closer. I like it. Minimalist, adjustable. But also looks bulkier than what I want to throw into my amp’s cabinet. Pretty good price at around $20, but still high for an item that is just, well, a glorified stick. I have multiple amps that I use, too. You can bet I’m gonna forget to bring it if I need to share it among them.
Fueled by my usual combination of need, DIY-ethic, and extreme cheapskate tendencies, I decided to make one… or heck make a few! Dare I say: one for each amp! 3D-printing to the rescue again!
I figured I could just use gravity to keep the thing secured to the frame. So I opted to attach it the the amp’s back panel bracing. I used a 0.5″ wooden dowel, which you can get at any hardware or art supply store for a couple of bucks.
Saw one end off at a 45-degree angle and insert/glue into the opening. Saw off the other end at the desired height. You might need some trigonometry to get precise numbers, but I can save you some time given some common angles.
First, measure the height (in centimeters) from the floor to the bottom of the amp’s back bracing. Let’s call it “Y”.
- For a 60-degree tilt (which I think is ideal), multiply Y with 0.866 for the dowel length in cm
- For a 45-degree tilt (a more extreme angle), multiply Y by 0.707 for the dowel length in cm
Then similarly glue the rounded cap to the other end. You can also skip printing the cap use a standard 1/2″ rubber leg tip, which is quite a bit more stable on smooth surfaces.
And here’s the thing installed. Slides right on and off with enough friction to keep it from sliding around. When you’re done, throw it in the back of your amp and it adds nominal weight to your non-dad rig.
Design files are up on Thingiverse, if you’d like to make your own. Get ’em here.
Or buy one from my store here!