The Hitmaker: DIY Trigger Suit for Stepdance Beatboxing

I once got challenged to create a musical instrument using Nerf material.

The Hitmaker shoe

Shoe with 1/8 jack installed

What I pictured was a stage-ready suit that could interface with Ableton and be used to blend Step Dancing and Beatboxing.

I set out to make my own. In researching, I have seen several examples of similar things people have done, but nothing quite like I would like to see.

I am close to being done, all that needs to be done is some tweaking to get the sensitivities of the triggers equaled out, and some tweaking to my code.

By the way, I didn’t end up using Nerf material. I used objects found at a thrift store.

Here is everything I have done so far if you’re interested in making your own.

If you make your own or have a similar project, please send me a link!


Getting Started

This project is to make wearable drum triggers to send MIDI notes to the DAW Ableton, where the individual triggers can be programmed as part of sequences, to produce individual sounds, or whatever you can imagine.

The suit I have designed has six triggers – two for the feet, two for the thighs, and two for the chest. I used Tom Hobson’s Beatsneaks design to get started, big thanks to him.


  • (6) Force Sensitive Resistors (FSR’s) – I got mine from adafruit
  • (1) arduino uno board. You can use a proto shield if you want
  • (12) 1/8″ audio jacks, mono or stereo work
  • wire to connect the FSRs to the audio jacks
  • an LED light
  • (6) 1/8″ male to male audio cables*

* my plan is to make this wireless. however, for the sake of a prototype it’s easiest to wire it.


mucho solder


I’ll be finishing this up shortly.