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Chapter 6. The Gysin Device > The Cylinder - Pg. 193

MAKE: PROJECTS Eccentric Cubicle < Nano-Project > Sewing Machine Pedal Hack: Speed Control, Cheap Figure N6.01: Illustrated are two random pedals I grabbed from my stockpile. The one on the left is from the early 70s, the one on the right from the early 60s. Both mechanisms are functional, but a look under the hood reveals some critical differences in technology. A t last! Variable speed everything. Mostly. Once again it's time for Makers worldwide to show proper respect to the Needle 'n' Thread community. So much about their art revolves around the efficient, precise use of purpose-designed tools. Take the sewing machine for example: exact, versatile, built like the proverbial brick excretorium, and equipped with a magnificently hackable foot pedal speed control. You can eas- ily find fully serviceable but unappreciated sewing machines at thrift shops and swap meets for under 20 bucks, which will net you a dandy little fractional horsepower electric motor, the aforementioned pedal controller, and the sewing machine proper. With a bit more rummaging around, you can often find just the pedal mechanism, alone, unloved, and priced under $5. Take a screwdriver with you when you're shopping so that you can have a peek inside. There are a few different varia- tions on the speed control mechanism, and some are more appropriate than others for the task at hand. The pedal on the left has a continuous sweepable resis- tance element ending in a "full on," while the older one uses cascaded resistance elements to give six discrete voltage positions (plus "full on"). It's your call as to what you'll find most useful. I've heard concerns that the graph- ite block used as the resistance element in the continuous Figure N6.02: What you'll need. controllers can degrade in quality of resistance and/or somehow cause damage to the motor it's controlling. I've had the same hacked pedal driving my Dremel for eight years, and both pedal and tool are doing just fine, thanks. [Figure N6.01] Get yourself the pedal of your choice, ten feet of zip cord, a couple of twist-on wire nuts (Marrette connectors), a couple of crimp-on terminals, and a bog-standard dollar-store exten- 182