Thin Footswitch

by PacificBlue, published

Thin Footswitch by PacificBlue Oct 28, 2012


Thin Footswitch is designed to trigger the scary props in your front yard on Halloween when Trick or Treat'ers pass by. You'll need some aluminum foil, a bit of double-stick tape, and the connector off the other end of the wire from the "Try Me" button on the box the animated prop came in. It's 144mm square & 5mm thin, small enough to print on most 3D printers. Print it half-black to hide it, half-bright so you can't miss it, or print one side in flourescent filament so it glows under blacklight, use your imagination!

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Don't be intimidated by the number of photos or instructions, this is a really easy project to do. I know there may be questions about details so I took lots of pics. In fact you can just follow the pictures & only refer to the instructions when necessary. Print time is about 20-30min per part and assembly is about 5-10mins.

By picture # (not counting first 4):


4) Take a sheet of aluminum foil, fold in two to make two layers. Place CENTER DIVIDER over foil and trace outline to be used as a cutting guide.

5) Your foil should look like this when done (I used the stylus from an old smartphone) Now cut along the lines.

6) Finished result: 2pcs foil (I used the BOTTOM CASE as a straight-edge and ran an exacto knife along the edges, you can use scissors - doesn't need to be perfect)

7) Detail of the 3 printed parts showing the hole & cutouts for the wire. Note: CENTER DIVIDER (on top) still has support material in the cutout that needs to be removed.

8) Detail showing support material removed so wire can get thru.

9) Layout 2pcs foil shiny-side down. Put double-stick tape in each corner + the center as shown.

10) Flip each foil over, center & place inside TOP CASE & BOTTOM CASE.

11) The TOP CASE has a hole on one side for the wire to pass thru. Insert wire as shown. Tape a wide strip of tape just after the wire enters the hole (I used Kapton tape). Then with another piece, tape the stripped end of the wire to the foil as shown.

TIP: Use the CENTER DIVIDER as a guide to help you see where the open areas are so you can place the wire so it doesn't get crushed by the divider (see next photo).

12) Detail showing CENTER DIVIDER used as a guide to see where to place wire & tape.

13) Grab the BOTTOM CASE and tape the wire to the foil as shown.

14) When done, BOTTOM CASE & TOP CASE should have wires attached as shown.

15) Place the CENTER DIVIDER shiny-side UP and affix 4pcs double-stick tape as shown (this isn't necessary, but I didn't want it falling out during assembly).

16) Flip CENTER DIVIDER shiny-side down and stick inside BOTTOM CASE.

17) Detail of wires going to BOTTOM CASE & TOP CASE after adding CENTER DIVIDER.

18) Detail just before closing both halves: After closing you can seal the perimeter with tape to keep dirt & moisture out.

That's it! You're done! Keep in mind Thin Footswitch is only good for low-voltage projects. DO NOT use this to switch AC current! (the foil will arc & disntegrate in no time and the thin ABS can't take the hotspots of heat) I also don't recommend it for use in any critical applications as by the nature of its design it's output is somewhat noisy having no debounce circuitry of any kind.

You can throw a rug over Thin Footswitch or double-stick it to a wall and paste a drawing of a HAND or a TARGET, or a "PRESS ME" sign. Print it half-black to hide it, half-bright so you can't miss it, or print one side in flourescent filament so it glows under blacklight, use your imagination!!

Have fun!