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Build your own cheapass DDR hard mat without rewiring!


#1 mrpotatohed   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   242 Posts   Joined 14.8 Years Ago  

mrpotatohed

Posted 17 February 2005 - 03:03 PM

Hi folks!


I have been using soft mats for a while now and I notice they only last a couple of months before they get holes in the bottom or the wiring goes bad. I was looking for a deal on DDR hard mats but everything is way $$. So here is my solution. Make your own DDR pad from simple stuff you can find at any home depot or Lowes for a fraction of the cost.

Here is what you need.

A soft mat dance pad $15-20

Any pad will do really because when we are done it is going to be super sturdy! Here is an example.

http://www.gamestop....oduct_id=801817

A chunk of plywood. Free-$20

The thicker the better on this one. I would suggest at least an inch thick. The heavier and thicker your base the less it will slide around on you. My mat is about an inch and it never moves on carpet. This doesn't have to be expensive lumber. Any large piece will do. Just make sure it is at least 1 inch bigger than your pad on all sides. I found mine in a lumber scrap pile so it was free! (I asked first LOL)

Vinal plastic hardwood floor covering $5-7

This is relatively inexpensive to buy and can be purchaced by the foot. The kind i used was smooth on one side and rougher on the other. IMPORTANT: do not purchace the type with spikes on the bottom as it will damage your pad within seconds!

here is a pic of the stuff I used held up to the light
Posted Image

This stuff usually is 3-4 feet wide so you are going to need enough to cover the entire board and tuck under. About 5 feet should do you, but measure to make sure.

Thats it. Here is what you need to assemble your masterpiece

1. A staple gun. -- If you don't own one, mooch from a friend who does. Think cheap, people!

2. Clear Packing tape -- the wide stuff used for mailing packages. "Borrow" from school, work, a mailman... you get the idea.

3. Scissors -- Don't run with them!

4. Sandpaper -- any grit -- optional

Got all your stuff together? Great! lets get working then shall we?

The first thing you are going to want to do is make sure your board is the right size. If you want it to look nice, a 1-2 inch boarder works well. You can get away with a little larger if you don't have access to cutting tools. If your board has splinters or is rough you can run some sand paper over the whole thing to smooth it out. Pay special attention to the corners and edges as these can catch toes while getting on and off your mat.

Next lay the mat out on the board and smooth out all the wrinkles. This is especially important because we are about to set your mat in stone per se. Once you have the mat to your liking start by taping down one edge flat on the board. Use one long piece of tape to go along the entire edge of the mat. Use 2 or 3 long pieces if needed to really stick it down. Go to the opposite side and, using gentle pressure, pull it snug and tape it down the same way. Repeat on the top and bottom until you have the entire mat taped to the top of the board. This will keep it from sliding around under your plastic protective top layer.

Now you can start putting the cover on. Place the first piece of vinal smooth side up at the bottom of the board. It should extend about 5 inches over each side and the bottom. While pulling the plastic tight, wrap it around the board and staple it down on the UNDER side of the board. Never put any staples in the side with the mat as you may accidentally puncture the mat and risk damaging the mat or yourself. Put the second piece on the top end of the board overlaping the bottom piece by about 3-4 inches. Staple it down just like the bottom piece, under the board.

Almost done! Take some clear tape and run a couple of long pieces across the seam made by the two plastic sheets. Presto! all done. Here is the result.

Posted Image

Depending on your resourcefulness and cheapness, the whole package ranges from $20-$50. Much better than the hard mats which can go well over a hundred bucks! I think it took me about an hour to figure out and assemble the mat. I have been using it almost every day for 6 months and there are no signs of wear at all! It looks great and i can even do slide moves on the smooth vinal. It holds up to bare feet, socks and shoes. If it ever does wear out, i can just by another cheap mat and recycle the rest of the parts.

I hope the instructions are clear. Reply with any questions and post pics of your mats if you decide to try it!

Enjoy!

EDIT: Also, don't pay big bucks for DDR games! You can download a free DDR game for your PC (just as good IMHO) and get a cheap Playstation2/USB adapter off ebay. Just make sure you buy the type that allows two inputs at the same time.



Find it here:
www.stepmania.com

adapter:
http://www.atruerevi...m/PS2/index.php (cheaper on ebay lol)

#2 evilmax17   Yardsaling CAG CAGiversary!   7480 Posts   Joined 15.1 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 03:08 PM

Yeah, my GF and I used two of these before we got a Cobalt Flux. The OP did a good job of explaining what to do, but here's the guide we used: http://www.ddrfreak....?postID=7890244

Funnily enough, my first post ever on CAG was very similar to this. :)

#3 Wshakspear   Worst. Post. Ever. CAGiversary!   5610 Posts   Joined 15.1 Years Ago  

Wshakspear

Posted 17 February 2005 - 03:10 PM

I think im going to make this my weekend project. Simple, realatively cheap...why not...

#4 mkelehan   Xbox Live Arcade Fiend CAGiversary!   2469 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

mkelehan

Posted 17 February 2005 - 03:12 PM

I prefer to tape it to hard foam, like a RedOctane insert. That way, it's still soft on the feet.

#5 moiety   Yardsaling CAG CAGiversary!   2394 Posts   Joined 14.7 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 03:16 PM

For those of you with softpads (or have no interest in buying/upgrading to the metal pads), this is a great way to extend the life of your pads. You may find that you'll have to restaple at times, but that's really all the maintenance you'll encounter.

I still highly recommend the Cobalt Flux, but for people on a budget or passive players, this is really the best route to go for your softpad.

#6 cdeener   Love Those Price Drops!!! CAGiversary!   4938 Posts   Joined 13.6 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 03:17 PM

Nice, I would have to build for my friend that loves DDR. This would make a sweet gift.

#7 BigDirty   Moderator Emeritus CAGiversary!   1518 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 03:19 PM

My first pad mod, I took one of the EBay foam igition style pads, removed the "dense" foam insert, inserted a piece of flooring cut to fit, and then layered a piece of anti-fatigue mat on top of it.

Very soft on the feet, but very sturdy and very responsive.

#8 mrpotatohed   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   242 Posts   Joined 14.8 Years Ago  

mrpotatohed

Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:16 PM

Yeah, my mat feels a little stiff under the feet, but I prefer to use shoes (I use shoes in the arcade so it feels wierd otherwise). My Nikes give me all the padding I need =)

#9 The Successful Dropout   eye we tall did CAGiversary!   9551 Posts   Joined 14.3 Years Ago  

The Successful Dropout

Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:26 PM

I still highly recommend the Cobalt Flux, but for people on a budget or passive players, this is really the best route to go for your softpad.



link please [-o<

#10 supadupacheap   Off his medication CAGiversary!   3874 Posts   Joined 14.0 Years Ago  

supadupacheap

Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:33 PM

I still highly recommend the Cobalt Flux, but for people on a budget or passive players, this is really the best route to go for your softpad.



link please [-o<


http://www.cobaltflux.com/

#11 fragmanslayer   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   394 Posts   Joined 13.8 Years Ago  

fragmanslayer

Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:43 PM

Boy those are not cheap...

#12 evilmax17   Yardsaling CAG CAGiversary!   7480 Posts   Joined 15.1 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:46 PM

Boy those are not cheap...


No, but they ARE worth it to the serious DDR player. If you're going to sink the money on it, you might as well get a Stepmania setup going, so you can play any DDR song ever.

#13 Rig   Rig = Lunar CAGiversary!   13999 Posts   Joined 14.1 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:50 PM

I purchased a metal mat off ebay. (He listed it wrong, so I got it for $40, instead of $140!) A lot of people say they dislike theirs, and I think I know why. If you purchase a metal mat off ebay, chances are they will have weak connectors after a few hours of play. I found that my arrows, one by one, quit working. I removed the arrows, and noticed the connectors are broke loose. After a little soldering (which is pretty easy to do) my mat has been perfect. I think I am going to try and build my nephews foam mat like the one above.

#14 lupe121283   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   230 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

lupe121283

Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:51 PM

hey thanks, let me try this out later on. I have friends coming over on saturday, and this would be awesome to do.

#15 Wshakspear   Worst. Post. Ever. CAGiversary!   5610 Posts   Joined 15.1 Years Ago  

Wshakspear

Posted 17 February 2005 - 05:16 PM

Any ideas on where to buy padding? What kind you've used?

I've got a fabric/craft store a few stores down, and i'd be [icking up the board and plastic from Lowes, so any tips would be appreciated

#16 The Successful Dropout   eye we tall did CAGiversary!   9551 Posts   Joined 14.3 Years Ago  

The Successful Dropout

Posted 17 February 2005 - 05:36 PM

Boy those are not cheap...


my thoughts exactly...normally, i have a little extra cash to play around with then what most people on here care to blow on gaming...so i was thinking, okay, if their a hundred each and they're the best...then they're mine....but jesus christ....i dont know if id pay that much for the actual arcade system...


edit: nevermind, i thought the price of 2 was the price of 1....either way, thats not for me unless i somehow come across an extreme amount of extra cash

#17 BigDirty   Moderator Emeritus CAGiversary!   1518 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 05:36 PM

Any ideas on where to buy padding? What kind you've used?

I've got a fabric/craft store a few stores down, and i'd be [icking up the board and plastic from Lowes, so any tips would be appreciated


If you're going to be at Lowe's, that's where I picked up my anti-fatigue mat. It should be in the section where you can buy carpet by the roll.

My 2 cents on the Cobalt Flux: I personally don't like it, it feels like you're on nothing, and the model I played on (GameOn NYC), tended to slide around. I like my Red Octane metal pad much better, it keeps the arcade feel, and it also is sturdily constructed unlike many of the ebay metal pads.

#18 The Successful Dropout   eye we tall did CAGiversary!   9551 Posts   Joined 14.3 Years Ago  

The Successful Dropout

Posted 17 February 2005 - 05:43 PM

Any ideas on where to buy padding? What kind you've used?

I've got a fabric/craft store a few stores down, and i'd be [icking up the board and plastic from Lowes, so any tips would be appreciated


If you're going to be at Lowe's, that's where I picked up my anti-fatigue mat. It should be in the section where you can buy carpet by the roll.

My 2 cents on the Cobalt Flux: I personally don't like it, it feels like you're on nothing, and the model I played on (GameOn NYC), tended to slide around. I like my Red Octane metal pad much better, it keeps the arcade feel, and it also is sturdily constructed unlike many of the ebay metal pads.


is that one of these 2 or something else?

$99.99
http://www.gamestop....oduct_id=801785

$49.99
http://www.ebgames.c...duct/239042.asp

#19 BigDirty   Moderator Emeritus CAGiversary!   1518 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 05:58 PM

is that one of these 2 or something else?

$99.99
http://www.gamestop....oduct_id=801785

$49.99
http://www.ebgames.c...duct/239042.asp


Niether. It's the metal pad, and can be seen at http://www.redoctane...nemetalpad.html

IMO it's the best metal pad available. The next one on the list is the BNS metal (http://www.buynshop....4/VG-DDRXBPDMA/)

#20 evilmax17   Yardsaling CAG CAGiversary!   7480 Posts   Joined 15.1 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 06:06 PM

While we're on the subject:

Metal Pad Discussion
Soft Pad Discussion

Cobalt Flux Discussion
RedOctane Metal Pad Discussion

#21 Wshakspear   Worst. Post. Ever. CAGiversary!   5610 Posts   Joined 15.1 Years Ago  

Wshakspear

Posted 17 February 2005 - 06:06 PM

If you're going to be at Lowe's, that's where I picked up my anti-fatigue mat. It should be in the section where you can buy carpet by the roll.


Oh, ok. Those are the mats that you see in stores at the register for thier cashiers, right? Thanks for the info.

#22 BigDirty   Moderator Emeritus CAGiversary!   1518 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 06:12 PM

If you're going to be at Lowe's, that's where I picked up my anti-fatigue mat. It should be in the section where you can buy carpet by the roll.


Oh, ok. Those are the mats that you see in stores at the register for thier cashiers, right? Thanks for the info.


Yeah, that's the stuff, it's a grey squishy material, pretty dense... Sounds like you know what to look for.

#23 Killdozer   FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF CAGiversary!   224 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

Posted 17 February 2005 - 09:35 PM

When I used the flimsy pads they were total junk in less than a month. I got a Red Octane pad a little over a year ago and it's still doing great. The only problem is.......does anyone know where I can get DDR 4th mix?

#24 Wshakspear   Worst. Post. Ever. CAGiversary!   5610 Posts   Joined 15.1 Years Ago  

Wshakspear

Posted 17 February 2005 - 09:52 PM

If you're going to be at Lowe's, that's where I picked up my anti-fatigue mat. It should be in the section where you can buy carpet by the roll.


Oh, ok. Those are the mats that you see in stores at the register for thier cashiers, right? Thanks for the info.


Yeah, that's the stuff, it's a grey squishy material, pretty dense... Sounds like you know what to look for.


Sweet. I'll do some measuring when i get home, and depending how sick my GF is, running out to lowes/Home depot and getting the supplies. Thanks for the tips!

#25 punqsux   1K posts & all I got was this lousy rank CAGiversary!   11197 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 18 February 2005 - 04:43 AM

where can you find the ddr 1-8 song pack? every torrent on the net is crashing, the only one i could get to dl off a torrent is the anime pack, which im sure ill suck at because every custom track in step is ment for heavy gamers...

any help?

#26 regisphilbi0   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   1599 Posts   Joined 14.6 Years Ago  

regisphilbi0

Posted 18 February 2005 - 06:42 AM

I'm definitely going to mod my pad soon. This is awesome!

#27 Heyricochet   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   790 Posts   Joined 13.9 Years Ago  

Heyricochet

Posted 18 February 2005 - 01:33 PM

Not trying to be insulting cause obviously people are being helped by this, but oldest DDR mod evar.

#28 evilmax17   Yardsaling CAG CAGiversary!   7480 Posts   Joined 15.1 Years Ago  

Posted 18 February 2005 - 01:41 PM

where can you find the ddr 1-8 song pack? every torrent on the net is crashing, the only one i could get to dl off a torrent is the anime pack, which im sure ill suck at because every custom track in step is ment for heavy gamers...

any help?


www.ddruk.com had all the official stuff, but they're currently down. I'm sure that if you hopped on Direct Connect you could find them all. Just search for "DDR bumper pack".

If you play SM with your fingers for awhile, I guarentee that you'll be able to read Heavy in no time. It makes the transition on feet much easier.

#29 mrpotatohed   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   242 Posts   Joined 14.8 Years Ago  

mrpotatohed

Posted 18 February 2005 - 02:00 PM

Not trying to be insulting cause obviously people are being helped by this, but oldest DDR mod evar.


Yeah, i read the article posted earlier. Lol, i wish i had known about it. would have saved me an hour of typing or so. My friend had a mat on a board and improved on the idea with the flooring to make it sturdy. looks like this has been around for a while. sorry =)