Dance Mat Mod

In order to satisfy my addiction to Dance Dance Revolution without feeding the remainder of my overdraft into the machine in the student union, I got a Logic 3 Dance Mat and an EMS USB2 Playstation to USB adaptor. Stepmania works very well on my Linux laptop so this has been generally very successful. There are a number of issues with the setup in my flat, though:

  1. Although it wasn't a problem initially, as I'm getting on to doing harder songs the mat tends to skid about on the floor.
  2. I'm concerned that with the mat just resting on wooden floorboards, the noise when I'm playing may be disturbing for the neighbours. I try to only play between about 11am and 9pm, but even then I can imagine it might be irritating.
  3. There are no ridges on the Logic 3 mat to indicate in a tactile way that you're drifting off the pads.

There are various mat mods suggested on the web, such as these two. However, I didn't particularly want to open up the mat unless it was really necessary, so I tried something simpler. My hope was that mounting the mat on a thick and heavy bit of wood with carpet underlay on the bottom would at least help with problems 1 and 2 above.

The MDF board
The MDF board

B&Q have a system where you can pick out some wood board and ask them to cut it to a particular size; you get the first four cuts for free. So, I bought the thickest MDF I could find and got them to cut it to 90cm by 115cm - slightly larger than the mat. The board is shown on the right.

Rug grip, double-sided tape and duct tape
Other raw materials: rug grip, double-sided tape and duct tape

The only other bits and pieces I needed are shown on the left. I couldn't find any carpet underlay in anything less than gigantic sizes, but Homebase sold this strange matting that you're meant to put under rugs to stop them from sliding around, so I thought I'd try that. I also got some double-sided tape for attaching it to the board and duct tape for holding down the mat.

It was easy enough to tile the bottom of the board with bits of the rug grip to the bottom of the board using the double-sided tape, and then stick down the corners of the mat with the duct tape. The duct tape isn't ideal, since really I'd like it to be a simple matter to remove the mat and take it into work, to other people's houses, etc. Some possible options that I thought about included:

Anyway, the finished result is shown below:

The finished product
The mounted dance mat plugged into my laptop, running Stepmania.

It seems to work OK so far. I think the noise is somewhat reduced, although perhaps not as much as I hoped. The rug grip stuff is just a bit gross, as well - if I can find some less sticky underlay, I'll swap to using that. To be fair, though, it doesn't slip at all now, so overall I think this has been a reasonably successful exercise. I'll probably get an extra mat to take apart and mess about with more at some point in the future. (But maybe by that stage I'll be needing a Cobalt Flux or Red Octane mat. :-))