Air Pressure Kick Pedal for GH4

(Note: Wow, amazing how much press a mod I did in like 2 hours can generate!)

It’s Guitar Hero 4, I don’t care what anyone says.

Anyway, I had a request to build an alternative to the GH4 drum kit’s kick pedal for a person who uses a wheelchair. Tour apart the kick pedal and a few hours later came up with this:


Yes that’s right, it’s wrapped in electric tape.

Basically this turns the kick pedal into an air pressure diaphragm. You can now “kick” the bass drums by blowing into a tube.

Want to do this mod for a friend in need? Check out the easy how-to instructions after the break. Please note: this is for the Guitar Hero 4 (ahem WORLD TOUR) drum kit, not Rock Band. A Rock Band suggestion is at the end.

For yet another video of me acting like a moron while demonstrating my projects, click here.

OK let’s build this sucker. Rip apart a GH4 kicker pedal and you’ll find this metal disc in the base of it.

The Disc of Dreams

This is a piezoelectric sensor which creates a small voltage when impacted. What we’re going to do is make a small assembly that is sensitive to air pressure instead of… well… pressure pressure.

Even better than Possum B Gone!

Ever buy this Goo Gone stuff? Well you should – it works great. Use some to get the glue off the top of the sensor.

Always keep a lot of PVC pipe on hand... I do!

OK next cut up some PVC pipe. You’ll need 2 pieces, each about 1.5″ long. The inner diameter needs to be wider than the sensor, in this case, about 1.25″. This assembly will be in 2 halves.

The red is leftover plastic from the Jaguar portable

Next, glue some pieces of plastic onto the end of each piece of PVC. These are the end caps.

OK now run down to the hardware store and get a rubber hosing barb. Drill a hole into one of the end caps and glue the barb in but good. I’d suggest liberal amount of hot glue inside the pipe to make sure it’s well sealed.


Aforementioned liberal use of hot glue – hey it’s cheap.

Doesn't hurt as much as you might think...

Fun tip – if you cut yourself – perhaps while scraping off glue with a knife too close to your fingers – and the blood is getting all over your project, simply seal the wound with a bit of superglue. It works quite well, thanks for the tip Jesse!

OK now for the other half. Cut away the edge of the end cap so the cable can fit though. It may also be useful to drill some air holes so that this side of the assembly isn’t a vacuum.

Put the sensor and end cap on the other piece of PVC. The PVC should be short enough that you can still grasp and work with the sensor.

Now find a rubber glove or any similar type of material. Cut a small slit in the middle of it, then feed the sensor and wires through. Then glue the sensor over the slit onto the rubber to seal it airtight (seal up the slit).

Next stretch the rubbery material tightly around the PVC pipe and tape it down – you will note this is very much like making a drum in kindergarten. Be sure the sensor stays centered on the pipe.

Now tape the two PVC pipes together. I used electric tape for an airtight seal. Try blowing on the barb – you should feel the diaphragm “click”. This will simulate the foot pedal being kicked and voila – you have done it! Simply attach a tube of desired length to the barb and you are ready to rock.

Note: Use a tube with around 1/4″ inner diameter… if it is too small/thin it is difficult to get enough air pressure to trigger the switch.

The Rock Band drum pedal is somewhat simpler… it’s just a magnetic switch. To build something like this for it, do an online search for “pressure switches”, wire one to the pedal, attach a tube and go for it!

 

78 Responses to “Air Pressure Kick Pedal for GH4”

  1. Resiak Says:

    Looks awesome, I can’t wait until it gets here. Great video too, lawl. Now not only do I see the finished product i Get to see it in action, too. :D

  2. bjorno Says:

    Ben Heck is the next mother Teresa.

  3. Lambda_drive Says:

    You should attach the tube to a headset, that way you don’t have to clamp it with your teeth to keep it from falling down.

  4. Breath controlled Guitar Hero kick pedal - Hack a Day Says:

    [...] Heck] the uber modder has posted a new project. He has made a breath controlled kick pedal for all of the Guitar Hero style games. Though the tutorial focuses on Guitar Hero World Tour, he [...]

  5. George Says:

    Ben you know this paves way for the Jazz Band expansions right… Sax and Trumpet molds? Brass Band Hero anyone? Great work and kudos as usual for putting a new spin on an old interface to make it user friendly for everyone.

  6. News for Geek » Breath controlled Guitar Hero kick pedal Says:

    [...] Heck] the uber modder has posted a new project. He has made a breath controlled kick pedal for all of the Guitar Hero style games. Though the tutorial focuses on Guitar Hero World Tour, he [...]

  7. Ryan Says:

    lol jazz hero!! awesome

  8. Querystring » Breath controlled Guitar Hero kick pedal Says:

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  9. breath-controlled kick pedal for guitar heroes « Free Translate Center Says:

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  10. Daniel Velazquez Says:

    I thought you were going to use a fan or something XD

    The Piezo works for everything

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwWZEq3mUQM&feature=channel_page

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  19. Ben Heck fashions breath-controlled kick pedal for Guitar Hero | Techchill.com Says:

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  20. Ink and Virtue » Ben Heck’s Blow-Powered Kick Pedal Lets People in Wheelchairs Enjoy Guitar Hero 4 [Ben Heck] Says:

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  24. bryan Says:

    Sweet! I’ve always been a bit bummed that I could never be the drummer because of my spinal cord injury. Can’t wait to attempt to build this.

  25. Ben Heck fashions breath-controlled kick pedal for Guitar Hero | The-Informer Says:

    [...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments [...]

  26. GoNintendo » Blog Archive » Air Pressure Kick Pedal for Guitar Hero World Tour- What are you waiting for? Says:

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  27. Ben Heck’s Blow-Powered Kick Pedal Lets People in Wheelchairs Enjoy Guitar Hero 4 [Ben Heck] | The-Informer Says:

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  28. jopettitt.com » Ben Heck fashions breath-controlled kick pedal for Guitar Hero Says:

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  29. Air Pressure Kick Pedal for Guitar Hero World Tour | All about MICROSOFT Says:

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  31. Ben Heck fashions breath-controlled kick pedal for Guitar Hero | Technology Blog Says:

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  32. Free Gadget News » Ben Heck fashions breath-controlled kick pedal for Guitar Hero Says:

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  33. hossrex Says:

    It amazes me there isn’t a company that does this sort of stuff on a mass market level.

    With a fracking war going on, it would seem the already existent market for handicap accessible accessories would be noticeably increased.

    I know Ben is starting to market this sort of thing with his one handed controller, but with the insane popularity of games like this, why is he the only one?

    The country is going down the crapper, and big companies are still too stupid to realize the market for things like this?

    Bravo to you Ben. I hope someday you make a million dollars for being the only one intelligent enough to think of this stuff.

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  38. Ben Heck’s Blow-Powered Kick Pedal Lets People in Wheelchairs Enjoy Guitar Hero 4 [Ben Heck] | Gigategy Says:

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  39. lifekludger - disability : technology : life » Blog Archive » Puff activated kick pedal mod for Guitar Hero Says:

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  44. Console Hero » Blog Archive » » Ben Heck Creates Breath Controlled Foot Pedal Says:

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  45. How-To: Breath controlled kick drum for Guitar Hero - machine quotidien Says:

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  52. Radu Says:

    Hey.

    Interesting and applaudable mod, dude! :)
    I had a question though. Any way to get my GH4 drums hooked up to my computer? They only have a MIDI in, no out :(

    I had a look inside, and found a simple 2 pin connector on a PCB, that goes to that specific MIDI port. I tried to swap the connectors around, but no change.

    Any ideas?

    BTW, you looked like you were having fun in that video!

  53. Jeff Says:

    Can you elaborate on the type of pressure switch when doing a search for the Rock Band Drum mod? There are a lot of different types of pressure switches that pop up when just googling ‘pressure switches’.

  54. Mark Says:

    Instead of superglue–liquid skin works well for sealing bleeding cuts :x

  55. benheck Says:

    Radu, you could try that wireless USB adapter if you’ve got the 360 version.

    As for pressure switches, they don’t have to be very big or sensitive. For [another project that isn't on the site yet] I used some from a Michigan company called World Magnetics.

    Mark… I just super-glued a new cut. What’s liquid skin? Is that like liquid metal?

  56. GameZone» Blog Archive » Ben Heck creates breath-controlled drum pedal for Guitar Hero World Tour Says:

    [...] took a fair amount of fancy engineering, but Heck recently uploaded instructions to his blog that show how to remove the pedal’s piezoelectric sensor, and make it respond to air pressure [...]

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  59. Ben Heck fashions breath-controlled kick pedal for Guitar Hero | Are you reading? Says:

    [...] Ben Heck’s at it again, and this time, he’s cobbled together a breath-controlled kick pedal for use with Guitar Hero (or Rock Band, if that’s your flavor) meant for people in wheelchairs, or who don’t have use of their legs, but still want to get in on the rocking action. After tearing apart the kick pedal to expose its piezoelectric sensor, he mods it so that, rather than reacting to physical pressure, it’ll react to air pressure. To get the job done, you’ll need some PVC piping, a hot glue gun, and a drill. Hit the read link for full instructions and video of Ben himself testing out the device![Via Hack a Day]Source [...]

  60. Official Tech News » Ben Heck’s Blow-Powered Kick Pedal Lets People in Wheelchairs Enjoy Guitar Hero 4 [Ben Heck] Says:

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  61. Official Tech News » Ben Heck fashions breath-controlled kick pedal for Guitar Hero Says:

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  62. Ben Heck Creates Breathable Guitar Hero Drum Pedal | www.Multiplayergames.com - Multiplayer Games Says:

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  63. Blog Half Dog - Videogame, Anime, RPG, Tecnologia, Filmes (e camisetas sobre tudo isso!) » Blog Archive » Pedal acionado por sopro permite que cadeirantes joguem Guitar Hero 4 Says:

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  64. How-to: Pedal controlado con el soplido para Guitar Hero « Make: en español Says:

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  65. Ben Heck fashions breath-controlled kick pedal for Guitar Hero | e-Smart Tech Gadgets Says:

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  70.   Ben Heck’s Blow-Powered Kick Pedal Lets People in Wheelchairs Enjoy Guitar Hero 4 [Ben Heck] by Techno News Feed Says:

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  71. John Taylor Says:

    Great blog. Do you know of any relevant marketing forums or discussion groups?

  72. Shell Harris Says:

    Ben you ROCK!!! You are the hero of the day my man! Thanks for sharing the directions. I’m going to surprise my brother with it. I CAN”T WAIT!!! OMG He is gonna LOVE THIS MAN!!!!!!! xoxoxo -Shell

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  74. The Official Blog of Benjamin J Heckendorn Says:

    [...] a customer. It doesn’t have a fancy case but went together pretty quickly, kind of like the Guitar Hero drum pedal puff switch. (Well, not as quickly as that one, but faster than [...]

  75. Mike Says:

    Great mod! Used a lot of ideas from it for my el-cheapo puff switch for testing accessibility software (see website). Thanks!

  76. osis Says:

    Be careful with that superglue. sealing a wound with it may seem like a good idea but putting foreign material especially if it contains formaldehyde in an open wound can lead to more scar tissue.

  77. Craig Says:

    Any ideas on using this concept for a set of roland electronic drums??

  78. Ian Says:

    I came up with a similar concept (thought I was being original – apparently not hah..but this is great stuff). I have no visuals as I’ve not found anyone yet who can actually help me put this stuff together — but have a look at the blog – http://www.musingamused.blogspot.com and if anyone has any ideas/suggestions, feel free to contact me.

    DRUMMERS (and wanna be drummers) UNITE!!!!!

    -Ian.

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