I made my own cajon a while back and I’ve wanted to jam, but without a band it seems that I’ll need to play my own music to drum to, so I need a kick pedal. I wanted one that was cheap and versatile. Also, I like the home built wooden look.
While I could buy a drum kick pedal and mount it on the cajon, it couldn’t be easily moved about to hit different sides of the cajon and for everything else I felt like hitting, well, I would have to build a new mount. Also, buying one costs money and because I have tools, I can build multiple kicks for free.
Step 1: Cutting Out the Parts
There are five parts to the pedal.
You want your base to the same thickness as your cajon feet. That way, you can slide it under the cajon and when you sit on the cajon, the base is trapped by your weight and won’t move.
Mostly my measurements were based on the shapes I could get out of the scrap wood I was using. So I would encourage you to get the idea right and then experiment with the wood you have and the place you want to hit your cajon.
The pedal needs to be shaped like a paddle. You can make up the size based on how you want to rest your foot. I decided mine would be a square about half the size of my foot. It was about 7cm wide, 9cm long plus a handle about 9cm long. The handle of the pedal needs to be as long as the sides are wide and as wide as the thickness of the wood used for the beater. I was using 18mm ply for the beater, so I made mine about 15 mm wide.
The sides need to be wide enough to be stable, but not so wide that they get in the way of the pedal. They need to be long enough that there is room for the pedal to move, but could be as long as you would like them to be. Mine were about 8cm wide and 15cm long.
The beater is basically a stick with an circle attached to one end. That's it really. My circle was the diameter of my PVA glue bottle. Maybe about 5cm? The length of the beater was the length it needed to be to hit my cajon around the middle. Mine was about 12cm. Make yours how you need it.
Step 2: Assembly
Once you've cut your bits out, you need to put them all together.
It's best to do in this order. I didn't and got lucky. When I made the second one, I did it in this order.
Screw a hinge to the base.
Screw the hinge to the pedal.
Drill a hole through the two sides.
Drill a hole through the beater.
Put a bolt through one side, then a washer, then the beater, then a washer, then the last side, then a nut.
Figure out where the sides go so that they line up nicely with the end of the pedal and the pedal doesn't hit them.
Glue and screw them on.
Step 3: Mechanics
Now we've got a little bit of playing about to make sure the kick feels right.
Attach a rope to the beater. You want it attached about at the top of the circle.
I attached it by drilling a hole, putting the end of the rope in the hole and then putting a screw in there.
Attach a rope to the pedal. I did this by drilling two holes and feeding the rope through and tying a knot. This was good because it's adjustable and it made it easy to get the right pedal feel.
Then you need to make a way for the pedal to spring back. I used springs, but you can use rubber bands or bits of inner tube. I used springs, I figured out where I wanted the pedal to be when the springs were relaxed and I added eyelets to the beater and the sides to pull it back.
Now it's done. The only thing left to do is add some cushion to the beater. I wrapped the sleeve of an old shirt around it. I've also tried a tennis ball (but it was a cheap one and the rubber was too hard.)
Step 4: Have a Play
Step 5: Other Options
Having a long thin base is real handy, because you can use a spring clamp to add all kinds of percussive elements to hit with the beater.
Once I made the first one, I figured that I could make another one with the option to attach a drumstick or brush. At first I just made a tight fitting slot to slide the drumstick in, but the following day, this was revised to a new beater with two pipe clamps attached. This means that I can attach a stick or brush horizontally or vertically and this changes the number of uses that this little pedal can have.
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