Rock Band Pedals

A common problem with the rock band pedals is snapping in half. When I started playing RB drums, I didn’t have any problems or worries about this, I played heel down all the time. I went through drum kits like mad (thankfully I got a decent one before they stopped replacing them), they broke quite easily; they’d either stop responding to input, or grow overly sensitive to crosstalk. Anyway, once I got to the hard or expert level and started playing songs with a fair amount of bass pedal, I switched to heel up style. Some songs are much easier, especially some of my favorites, like songs by The Who. If played heel down style, my leg usually cramps up and I can’t play at all after that.

Playing heel up style puts a lot more pressure in the middle of the pedal, where it’s unsupported and not reinforced. My pedal broke rather quickly after I started playing heel up style.

I had my pedal replaced under warranty, but the warranty was limited and the design flaw wasn’t being addressed. Rock Band 2 tried to fix this problem (but caused another) by covering the top of the plastic with a thin piece of metal. This way the pedal flexes less and is held together even if it snaps. However, this just caused the pedal to snap right above the hinge instead. I didn’t want to suffer from endless broken pedals, so I decided to make my own that wouldn’t break. I don’t have a 3d printer, or metal working tools, so I built a pedal out of what I could work with: wood. I first built a single pedal out of pine; I made it twice as thick as the stock pedal, but all the other dimensions were the same. I just had to take the pedal apart at the hinge, transfer the mounting hardware and magnet (used to trigger the reed switch that connects to the rest of the kit), and it was all set. It was a rough cut, and made rather quickly, so I didn’t like it (it also wasn’t a great piece of pine). It worked great though. I decided I should make some out of hardwood. I bought the smallest piece I could find, I think it was oak, and decided I would make some wood pedals. A family friend has a good woodworking shop in his house, so my dad and I ventured over there and made 10 pedals, 5 each for rock band 1 and rock band 2 style bases. They have nice routed edges and feel very nice. I’ve been using mine ever since and I’ve had no problems at all. The original plan was to sell them online, but I never ended up doing that (Anyone interested?).

Top and Bottom of pedals, ready for mounting hardware:

Pedal on a base:

Pedal on base showing mounting:

I eventually bought an Ion drum kit (from craigslist, it was in my price range there), but I didn’t like the pedal that came with it. Luckily, it’s just a basic open/closed switch just like these pedals, so I soldered together an adapter real quick and now use this pedal with the Ion. Adapter:

Room Lighting

When I’m using my computer in my room at school, I don’t like having the main room light on because it’s a little bright. It’s rather awkward sitting in the dark, so I needed some dimmer lighting. My roommate found a Jimmy John’s sign in a dumpster and he left it in my room while he went abroad. It had a broken pin in the power socket, easily fixed with some pliers (what a waste for Jimmy John’s to throw it out). I tried some 12v wall warts I had, but 2A just isn’t enough to power this thing. I found a ps2 slim power supply works great and gives just the right amount of brightness with its 8.5v at 5.65A, though the supply gets a little warm. I actually need the supply for my ps2, so I looked elsewhere. Computer power supplies work well, supplying 10A+ at 12v, but the sign is a bit bright at 12v, so I scrapped the idea of using that as mood lighting. Then it hit me: a lite brite. A sweet toy I remember playing with when I was little, would provide a little light and could show off a sweet picture. I acquired a lite brite from craigslist and scanned in the plastic piece that holds the pegs. I erased the holes, so I had a rough template that I could layer over a picture in Photoshop to get a guide for making a design. I like the old school Apple logo, so I chose this as my design. It turns out that lite brites don’t come with nearly enough pegs to fill out even half the board, so I’m in the process of getting more pegs.

Here’s a couple pictures of it in its current state:

Update: I got some more pegs (and another lite brite), so I was able to finish it. Some of the pegs are a different style, and I don’t think it looks as good as it can, but I’m not about to spend any more money on this.

Also, this is the Jimmy John’s sign at the brightness I liked: