I started Penfar FX in the fall of 2009. It's a one-man operation and all effects are designed, built and tested by me at my home in St. Johns, MI. I build the effects as they are ordered, so each one is built specifically for the person who purchases it. I don't keep completed pedals lying around since I'm a small operation. Helps keep costs to a minimum. I have been thinking about venturing into making PCB's. Just a little hesitant to fiddle with the chemicals used in etching. All my circuits are currently soldered onto stripboard, which I think adds to the handmade/boutique aspect of them.
I started looking into building in the summer of '09. I was looking for something that I could use with my Hot Rod DeVille to get some decent gain without cranking the amp. I did some extensive searching and decided to save some cash and build my own.
My first build was a Wampler 'Cranked AC'. I purchased the PCB, sourced the parts myself and made my own enclosure. I had no electronics experience when I started, so I had a lot to learn. I hung around the BYOC, FSB and DIYstomp forums getting help understanding things and finding resources. Much to my surprise the 'Cranked AC' fired up on the first try! That really got me started. I built a few more clones after that. It wasn't until early fall of '09, after I created the 'Fat Foot', that I decided I might try selling.
Once I decided to start selling I needed to come up with a name. The penny farthing/transistor logo and name are inspired by my love for the 60's show 'The Prisoner'. I've basically relied on word of mouth and some help from Gearmanndude to spread the word. I'm currently waiting on some reviews from Analog War Cry and a couple more demos from Gearmanndude.
I'm constantly drawing up ideas for new effects. If I'm not tweaking a current effect, I'm lying on the floor scribbling on my graph paper with the next idea to try. I just recently overhauled the Fat Foot. Oh baby, it sounds good! Other than the satisfaction of making a player happy, coming up with the names and art is my favourite part of the process. My latest effect is an OD/distortion pedal named 'Aces High'. Yes, I was listening to Iron Maiden at the time...
No big names sporting the Penfar FX logo on their boards yet. Someday, maybe, a Fat Foot could stomp its way to an Auerbach, Corgan or a White. The world may never know... -no, I think that's Tootsie Pops.