Building Toe Buttons

April 1st, 2020
footboard, jammer, music
In controlling my rhythm stage setup I have been bringing instruments in and out by pressing buttons on my axis 49. It has plenty of buttons, but needing to press them with my fingers doesn't combine well with playing mandolin. So: toe buttons!

The most common tool musicians use seems to be the FCB1010. Not only does it have twelve buttons it has two expression pedals. While this would be nice, it's too bulky for me: I already have many things under my feet so I would need to move my feet too far to press the buttons. So I built something instead:

This is my footboard v3 with its four velocity sensitive pads, but now with six multi-color switches within easy reach of my toes. It's velcroed on to the main section and connects via USB:

I made it out of momentary push-button switches and a DIY arcade kit. It presents as a USB game controller, and I've modified my software to read from it with IOKit calls (110743b4e).

I cut a block of wood to the right size, leaving the tops of the buttons even with the footrest, cut a piece of plexiglass to match, and cut through them both with a bit the same diameter as the barrel of the switches. Then I drilled a smaller hole into that cavity for the signal wire to come out. Here's two of the switches in place:

I built a small box to house the USB controller out of 3/4 plywood. I didn't glue the top on, in case I later want to open it up to add leads for additional switches. Here's the external wiring:

I've only just set it up, but being able to bring things in and out without stopping my mandolin (both hands), kick drum (left foot), or breath controller (mouth) is really great!

Currently I'm only using the "press" and ignoring the "release", but I'd like to make "press and hold" be a different signal. Possibly I'd like something where a short press activate a mode, another short press deactivates the mode, but a press-and-hold activates the mode just for as long as it's held down?

Comment via: facebook, lesswrong

Recent posts on blogs I like:

What Percentage of People Are Bi?

More than half?

via Thing of Things February 26, 2024

How I build and run behavioral interviews

This is an adaptation of an internal doc I wrote for Wave. I used to think that behavioral interviews were basically useless, because it was too easy for candidates to bullshit them and too hard for me to tell what was a good answer. I’d end up grading eve…

via benkuhn.net February 25, 2024

Diseconomies of scale in fraud, spam, support, and moderation

If I ask myself a question like "I'd like to buy an SD card; who do I trust to sell me a real SD card and not some fake, Amazon or my local Best Buy?", of course the answer is that I trust my local Best Buy1 more than Amazon, which is notoriou…

via Posts on February 18, 2024

more     (via openring)