I know what you're thinkin.. big tall Jon plays DDR? Sadly I've become addicted to it. It's good cardio for my tall ass, and the songs are catchy (Thank you Lynzi :-p) I run strictly Stepmania and run the core songs from all of DDR and ITG. I'm more of an ITG addict than DDR.
So what to use that isn't as crappy as a soft pad or those thick foam ones? Metal pads. BUT.. I'm a cheap college student. I can't afford a $200 pad. Plus, I love to make things :) It's REALLY EASY to build one of these pads that work just as well as the original arcade ones. All they are are really big momentary switches.
Here's the progress I've made so far:
I got this going based on what I've seen on these sites:
Arcade Style Dance Dance Revolution Metal Pad
The proverbial pile-o-parts:
Sheet of Pegboard (leftovers in our house)
(2) 1/2" sheets of 2' Square plywood (Home Depot)
(2) 1"x2"x6' pine strips (Home Depot)
1/8"x16"x6' Polycarb scrap (Junkyard)
0.030"x13x7' Stainless Sheet (Junkyard)
(16) 2" Corner Braces (Home Depot, and pricey lil bastards..)
A Gamestop brand Xbox soft pad (Cash Converters, dirt cheap)
The pad is the exact one depicted in the inventgeek link above. Speaking of which..
After 8 screws, the casing on the pad comes off, and you see how the board is attached to the pad. It's all weird thin contact pieces that just tape onto the board traces. Easily removable. In fact, the whole board is easy to take off. 2 screws, and some finger force on the molded plastic bits and it's out. Be sure to clean the black residue on the contacts before trying to solder.
Now that the board is removed, time to start working on the actual pad!
Here are the non-stepping pad pieces. They need to be cut to 10.875" (or 10 7/8"). These will be covered over top with the stainless steel.
I called it a night after this as I shopped in the morning and had other errands to run today. More to come!