Introduction: Sewing Machine and Serger Foot Pedal Base

I am lucky to have both a portable sewing machine and a serger. They are both operated with foot pedal electronic controllers.

The problem with these foot pedals are that the units are so small and lightweight they slip and slide on the tile floor and shift when they are pressed with the foot. When they are under the table out of sight, you may have to hunt among the clutter to find them again and the two similar pedals may be mixed up.

To make it a better and more comfortable experience with using the foot pedals, I made a base to hold the two foot pedals in place.

Step 1: Blocked In...

The foot pedal base is really just a fancy compartmentalized tray to hold everything in place.

Use any thin plywood or in this case, I had a piece of hardboard laying around that was perfect for what we needed. I did not need to have the pedals raised higher off the floor but you can build with thicker materials if desired.

Instead of using power tools and kicking up a lot of debris and dust when cutting particle board kind of stuff, you can deeply score the hardboard with a utility knife and snap it on the line to break and separate, just like drywall. Cut the line deep or else the material might rip a ragged edge or tear out a random piece from either side.

I used some 1/2 inch x 2 inch craft wood strip stock to form the sides.

Lay out your foot pedals and use a small scrap piece of stock pushed up against the sides of your foot pedal and as a spacer between the foot pedals to mark out exactly where you need to cut. No need to use exact ruler measurements. Cutting a hair bigger or outside the marked line will give enough play for the foot pedal to fit in...or else trim/sand later to make it fit.

Pieces are cut to frame out the pedal and make the holding compartment for each.

Glue the first piece on. When dry, test fit the next piece and mark the position so you can apply glue and glue it on.

Clamp for even contact between the hardboard and wood pieces. One or both may warp from moisture in the glue and will end up with some misaligned glued pieces if you don't clamp it securely or weigh it down to dry.

Step 2: Fit and Finish...

When I test fit the foot pedals in the base compartments, I had to make some adjustments so that they would fit when they are used.

I needed to make a groove to route the wire that came out the side of the foot pedal.

I needed to make a recess along the top so that the foot pedal top cover shell would be able to fit when pressed down.

I needed to trim the edge of the container bottom so that the pedal top cover shell could pivot freely.

Since I don't have a proper set of woodcarving tools, the whittling was done with a utility knife. I did gouge out most of the wire cable slot by drilling several holes and moving the bit to act as a router of sorts to mill away the wood. Wire flush cutters work surprisingly well for wood.

A wood rasp, surform tool, edge radius rounding slickplane, file, and sandpaper will handle the rest of the shaping and finishing. Use the sanding dust to mix with glue for filler if you find any large voids that may appear, especially at the glue joints. I did not cut everything exactly square with the hand saw and did not glue precisely.

Since the foot pedals are under the table out of sight, I can probably memorize which pedal is which but I added a texture under the sewing machine foot pedal for more positive tactile feedback that I am stepping on the correct pedal. I've got a box of both narrow and wide popsicle sticks so I glued some pieces to form the speedbump stripes.

I used the wide popsicle sticks to make the cable cover and hold-down. Pieces of bamboo skewer form the low sides to keep the cable in place.

Step 3: Step on It...

Round all corners and edges.

Sand smooth and remove sanding dust with a damp rag.

Use a dark color finish if you want to hide any wear or dirt on the pedal base. Use a light color paint if you want it to stand out and can see it easily when it is on the floor.

I am using a black stain/poly that I used for this guitar effects pedalboard.

Since it is water based, it may take a few more coats for even color and coverage. Sand lightly between coats.

To prevent the big rig from slipping on a smooth floor add on some rubber feet or non-slip stair tread/bathtub safety tape to the bottom.

I just printed the logo of the brand of machines I have for a sticker and glued that to the foot pedal base to make it look like an official accessory...which they should make... Fun fact: Janome means "eye of snake" in Japanese and was used as the company name because the bobbin mechanism used in their machines resembled a snake's eye.

When all is dry, put the foot pedals in their compartments.

Route the cables to fit and screw in the cable hold-down covers.

Now I can set up my sewing machine or serger on the table and have the pedals ready to go when I switch between the machines.

Make your own custom base to fit your foot pedals.


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