I agree. Where a multi-fx unit is great is if you're playing music you don't typically play/ covers / filling in for someone, you can really shape your sound without splashing out for fx you're not going to use much (so for me with this metal band it's been perfect).
Something the ME-80 has been great for is learning the effects that I want to play with but am not ready to splash out on individual units - for example, pitch-shifter or delays. The ME-80 has knobs everywhere too - which as you say is infinitely better than digital menus and way easier to play with while you're playing. The other advantage of a multi-fx over stomps is that you can obviously have multiple pre-sets that utilize simultaneous effects and you can sequence to your performance.
I would love to make a custom board though, but at my guess so far I'm looking at approx $1200 and I don't got that!
Well the cost of the actual board itself is minimal. Probably cost me about €10 to make it. I also had to buy velcro for attaching the pedals and I used cable ties for keeping all cables tidy underneath the unit.
The pedals themselves are mostly all secondhand, bought on ebay and other similar sites. The power supply cost about €30. It's a bit overkill for what it needs to do, but it works well and it doesn't buzz or hum. Overall I reckon the entire project cost me about €800, mostly spent over a long period of time.
I attached a 4 point extension lead to the back, for the power supply and the Whammy (the Digitech Whammy uses it's own power supply at a very high voltage, so it can't be "daisy-chained"). This leaves 2 spare sockets. I usually plug my amp into 1 of them. Then it's just a matter of plugging the extension lead into a wall and everything is good to go. All I have to do is plug my guitar into to tuner and the delay to the amp. I have it set up as follows: Telecaster > Boss TU-2 tuner > Crybaby wah > MXR compressor > MXR distortion > Boss MT-2 Metalzone >Digitech Whammy > Boss BF-3 flanger > MXR Eddie Van Halen Phaser > Boss DD-3 delay > Marshall JCM800 112 combo.
Here's a few pics: