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In case you didn’t know, I host a podcast, along with David Picciuto and Jimmy DiResta,  called Making It. We usually record for an hour or so at a time, and during that time, I almost always have to clear my throat, cough, or otherwise mute my mic (like when my kids stomp around upstairs). Up until now, I would have to move my mouse over the software mute button, hope I got there in time and click it. Since I’ve always had lots of guitar pedals, it made sense for me to make a simple mute pedal for my microphone that lives under my desk. I can easily stomp it to mute the mic, then release it to unmute. It turns out, everything about the project is extremely simple, so I decided to complicate it just a little bit (I do that) by putting it in a box made from wood and metal.
I used scrap aluminum and wood that I had around to make a simple pedal and it works like a charm! Check out how I did it below.

Note, this particular wiring setup is specifically for a phantom powered microphone. A non phantom powered microphone just has a different wiring setup, although it’s equally as simple.  These options are both very different from creating a hardware mute switch for a USB microphone.

Here’s what I used:

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Woodworking:

Electronics:

I started with some scraps of aluminum and hardwood.

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I cut down two strips of wood about  2″ wide.

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Using my finger on the side as a guide, I drew a line approximately down the middle of each piece.

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I used that line to cut the pieces in half using a band saw. You could also do this on the table saw with a fence.

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Then I squared up the ends of all four pieces on the miter saw.

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On my crosscut sled, I set up a stop block and two longer pieces for the front and back panels.

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I cut two shorter pieces for the ends.

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I used an Incra box joint jig to cut box/finger joints, but you could also make a jig on your own.

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I cut all of the pieces making sure that the fingers on the end pieces fit into the fingers on the front/back pieces.

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I’d done sever test cuts to get the joint tight, so once glued, I didn’t even need to clamp it up. It was a good tight fit.

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I used a disc sander to remove the tips of the fingers and smooth up all of the faces.

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I drew an angle on one end of the box with a straight edge. This wasn’t any particular angle, just one that looked “right”.

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Most band saw tables can be adjusted to different angles. I adjusted mine until the drawn line was parallel with the blade.

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Then I used the fence to line up my drawn line with the blade.

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I just cut the box, along that line giving one face an angled opening.

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I traced the outside of each opening onto some 1/8″ aluminum.

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I cut these two pieces out, slightly oversized so I could sand them flush after assembly.

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I lined up the pieces and traced the inside of each opening so I had a safe area for drilling.

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In that area, I punched each corner as a start for drilling holes.

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I drilled small holes in each corner of both pieces.

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Then I countersunk each hole so the screw heads would end up flush with the surface.

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With the pieces lined up, I marked each hole, in the wood, with my ice pick.

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I predrilled the holes to avoid splitting the wood when adding screws.

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Then I screwed on the plates with #6 screws.

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On the belt sander, I first sanded the faces to get the aluminum flush with the wood.

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Then I rounded over the corners by rolling the box as the edges were being sanded.

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I found the center of the top panel and punched a spot there.

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This punch gave me a start to drill a 1/2″ hole for my stomp switch.

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I fit traced the outline of the XLR plugs on the back of the box.

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From the outlines, I found the center of each plug and marked it for drilling.

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I drilled a hole for each plug (which require different size holes, FYI).

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I fit the plugs in place and marked the screw holes, then predrilled them for later.

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The XLR plugs have 3 terminals each, so I soldered on a wire to each.

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I fed the wires through the holes and fit the plugs in place.

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First, I soldered both terminals labeled “1” together (red wire).

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Then I solders both terminals labeled “2” (green) together, and did the same for terminals “3” (black). At this point, the device is just a pass through.

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I fixed the plugs in place by screwing them in.

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Then I solder on a switch, with one terminal to the black wires, and a second terminal to the green wires. When the button is pushed, the green wires connect the black ones and short the circuit, stopping the audio signal.

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The last things were to screw on the nut for the switch and screw the front plate to the box.

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I tested right away and the audio signal is completely dropped when the button is depressed, without any type of click or pop.

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_YT_mutePedal