Pressure Plate Foot Switch

Introduction: Pressure Plate Foot Switch

About: Fan-powered livestream builds in auto, home, workshop, tech, science, geek and vr!

It's a new year and like many of you, I can't help but make some New Year's resolutions - especially with the year we've had! They're easy to make but not so easy to keep. To help "motivate" me this year, I'm building a NEW YEAR, NEW YOU BUTT KICKING MACHINE ...of some sort.

In PART I, it all starts with this pressure plate foot switch that will activate the contraption we come up with. They're great for homemade booby traps, DIY intruder alert systems or momentarily activating something. In our case, that something will be a Butt Kicking Machine.


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Now on with it...


Step 1: Create the Pressure Plates

I decided to build my plates using 1/4 plywood that I cut from a larger piece I had lying around the shop. You can easily do this project using cardboard instead but it will tend to get weak in the middle over time and cause your aluminum foil pieces to touch inadvertently, setting off whatever you have it hooked up to. Cardboard versions are great for Halloween projects and other temporary fun but I want mine to last all year.

I cut three 1'x1' plates using a jigsaw.

Put one plywood plate aside for now and cover one side of each remaining plate with aluminum foil as smoothly as you can and wrap the excess around the back. You can trim this off later. When these 2 plates come in contact, electricity will flow and whatever you decide to hook this up to will get power for as long as these 2 plates are touching.

Step 2: Cut Out the Insert

We need a way to keep the plates from touching unless pressure is applied. Grab the third piece of plywood and cut out the middle. I left about 1/2" of material along the edges.

Step 3: Wire Your Plates

Strip some insulation off a piece of wire and secure it to the foil side of one of your plates using masking tape. Repeat this process with your other plate.

Step 4: Assemble and Test

Place one plate foil side up and place the insert over it. Then top it with the other plate foil side down. The easiest way to test if it works is using the continuity feature of your multimeter. Simply touch each probe to a wire and it should be silent. When you press down on the switch, you should here a beep from your meter. If you hook it up and the meter immediately starts beeping then the foil pieces are touching somewhere. Try wrapping the foil tighter.

I used an LED to test mine. I connected the wire from one plate to the cathode (short leg of LED) and the anode (long leg) to the positive side of a coin battery. Then hold the remaining wire to the negative side of the battery to complete the connection. The LED should be off and only turn on with the switch is pressed.

Although it doesn't look pretty, you have a working pressure foot switch that you can start using right away. Just tape the plates and insert together so they don't shift around.

Step 5: Final Thoughts

Because this is going to be part of a larger build, I made a nicer looking container for it out of wood. I ended up painting the exposed surface of the top plate with chalkboard paint so I could write on it. I used spray adhesive to secure the foil to the bottom of that plate and trimmed the excess foil off so you don't see any of it from the top.

In my case, the wires from the switch will go to the solenoid of an electric sprinkler valve that will operate a pneumatic cylinder (made from PVC) which will in turn send a piston flying towards a shoe that will kick me in the derriere if I don't stick with my goals! LOL!


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