Turning A Keyboard Into A Pedal Board

Dedicated pedal switches for your computer can be really expensive. Keyboards on the other hand, despite having way more buttons, are dirt cheap! What if you could use a keyboard to build a pedal board? This hack is so simple, it’s almost ingenious.

[Shrodingers_Cat] took one of his spare keyboards, xTupuuoa rather nice Logitech G510 gaming keyboard, and pulled all the keys out except for four. You can do this with a flat head screwdriver quite easily — it’s also rather satisfying sending keys flying with each flick of the blade.

He then cut up some spare DVD cases he had, and turned them into pedal covers. They’re actually just nested inside the keyboard — he added some electrical tape to make sure they stayed in place and put it under his desk for the first test — it works great!

Of course you could always make something like this with an Arduino and some scrap wood instead…

[via r/DIY]

24 thoughts on “Turning A Keyboard Into A Pedal Board

  1. That is really clever indeed, but I think an el-cheap-o keyboard would have worked better than the one pictured. Unless it has a lot more faulty keys and the screen didn’t work and you were up-cycling it, then that works just fine.

      1. It’s not just Logitech, it’s all membrane keyboards that don’t put something solid directly behind the mat. The one’s I’ve had that were either encased or had a sheet of acrylic behind them, still work just like new. Those are the ones I use to repair computers people bring me to work on.

      1. Wouldn’t say this is a hack. Basically it’s still a keyboard, but with less buttons and some plastic sheets cut from folded plastic sheets, and the device doesn’t do anything differently though now it’s for feet. It’s simple and easy to make, probably works for him just fine, so I give him points but I’d call this hobby crafts.

          1. he made it into something you can use with ableton man! you can record or play live looping music using this hack that you don’t want to say it is a hack :D if you don’t know it’s usage, don’t go around and say badmouth it…I personally can do a whole musical performance using this hack

        1. this is very convenient, easy and cheap way for foot pedal idea for musicians that will save them thousands and maybe make them be able to make money out of their performance using this, it is brilliant. If you can’t find a usage for it, then you don’t know a usage for it, other people out there will take this simple idea and make money out of it because it has unlimited usages

    1. Well, we could put an ardiono and a pi on it.. Some leds.. A prius battery pack…. And that would all be useless.

      Nice simple and elegant hack, in the view of old school hacks.

      Now, I think you can then use some mapping software to program the keys…

    2. Okay. Open up the keyboard, the electronics is often on a small board in the corner, though I’ve yet to open a USB keyboard. Figure out the matrix, and attach switches to the keys you want to use. Mount in a big box, and figure out pedals to control those switches.

      If you only need a few buttons, then repackage a mouse in this fashion, though I’m not how you get either device to be distinct from the usual keyboard or mouse.


    3. If my original keyboard is on the ground, I must use my big toes (and a lot of aim) to utilize it as pedal. So, I should reduce the number of the buttons and enlarge the remainer to have a nice and confortable usage.

      In this way, this post shows a trully hack!

    4. an amazing idea and I can do a whole musical performance on it, for a whole 1 hour show using multiple instruments and everything would be live looping….if you don’t know how important this “put covers on half broken keyboard=hack” is, then please keep it to yourself, this is brilliant because it is super important and useful for some people out there.

    1. Yeah, I think that’s the way to do it .. The little board in the keyboard packs a lot into a very simple package, and it’s not hard at all to to decipher the codes for various keys.

  2. I modded a model M, oops (it had a few keys missing and damage). I took all but 12 or so keys off. Like the IO project above I use it for looping. I got lots of false moves till I put a drop of glue down each hole to hold the flippers down.
    There was a two pedal (back and space) model on the market a few years back.

  3. Nice idea. But with that keyboard, i would have tried to rewire the keyboard to have the macro-keys (the ones on the left) on the foot pedals. This way, you could program/map basically every key and even macros on the different pedals.

  4. “not a hack” my arse. I guess some people can’t appreciate simple hacks. This is fantastic idea, I’m doing it ASAP. I have a spare keyboard somewhere. Just need to figure out how I’ll do the mapping/scripting.

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