Introduction: DIY Electronic Drums

Picture of DIY Electronic Drums

Converted my Roland TD3 KW Electronic Drum Kit. Upgraded it to a TD6 module with meshhead drums.

Step 1: Cut Tom Drum in Half With Jigsaw

Picture of Cut Tom Drum in Half With Jigsaw

I found this tom on eBay for $30.00. The price included shipping. This tom was cut in half with a jigsaw to create two 10" toms. I used tape around the cut line to prevent splintering.

Step 2: Roof Truss Clip

Picture of Roof Truss Clip

Roof truss clip. Purchased at Menards $0.49

Step 3: Roof Truss Clips to Support Cross Member

Picture of Roof Truss Clips to Support Cross Member

The roof truss clips are attached inside the drum shell where the lugs connect. They will support the spoke cross member.

Step 4: Tom Mounts

Picture of Tom Mounts

Cable clamps purchased at local hardware store $1.50 The red arrows show where metal had to be removed with hacksaw to make flat. Black arrows show metal strips drilled with holes that were added to modify the clamps so they will grab the Roland L rods.

Step 5: Tom Mounts

Picture of Tom Mounts

The cable clamps where a low cost way to mount the toms to the Roland L rods.

Step 6: Tom Mounts

Picture of Tom Mounts

Clamp shown with Roland L rod.

Step 7: Wood Spoke Cross Member

Picture of Wood Spoke Cross Member

I used wood cut out with a jigsaw for the spoke cross member.

Step 8: Wood Spoke Cross Member

Picture of Wood Spoke Cross Member

Drilled 1/4" holes in wood spoke cross member & Outlet box cover.

Step 9: Assembled Wood Spoke Cross Member

Picture of Assembled Wood Spoke Cross Member

Assembled wood spoke member with adjustable sensor support.

Step 10: 1/4" Jack

Picture of 1/4" Jack

I drilled a hole in the shell for the 1/4" jack. These jacks where not long enough to go through the drum shell. With the right size drill bit I was able to screw the jack into the shell. It was a nice tight fit.

Step 11: 35mm Piezo Sensor

Picture of 35mm Piezo Sensor

35mm Piezo Sensor is attached with double sided foam tape. The Piezo Sensor is connected to the 1/4 Jack.

Step 12: Foam Sanding Block

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I cut the foam sanding block into 1"x1"x1.5" foam blocks with a miter saw and peeled of the sanding surface.

I tried the foam cones. Had triggering problems like double triggering, miss triggering . Made many adjustments to the module with no success in getting it to trigger properly.

The sanding block foam blocks work great. I was able to set the module back to the default settings. No triggering problems at all.

Step 13: Double Sided Foam Tape

Picture of Double Sided Foam Tape

Double sided foam tape used to attach foam block to sensor.

Step 14: Adjusted the Sensor Support

Picture of Adjusted the Sensor Support

I adjusted the sensor support so the foam block is 1/8" above the rim of the drum shell.

One down and three to go. Now I need to create some DIY mesh heads using fiberglass window screen.

Step 15: Other Tutorials

Picture of Other Tutorials


szellner (author)2017-05-29

Im sorry i meant 2 inch squares

szellner (author)2017-05-29

Nice work. If you are now encountering double, false, and crosstalk triggering. I woukg sugest cutiing uo a mouse pad in 3 inch squares. Then laminate them so the squares are about 3/4 of an inch thick. This shock mount should effectively isolate the piezo from shell vibration. Place the piezo on top of the shock mount you have made. And cover the piezo with your cone. You can also glue another piezo or two to the spidrr you made and use that as a rim trigger. You will have to look up the wiring for a roland module which is wired differently than an alesis module. You will need to employ a srereo jack and cable to use this feature.

dilsonbelper (author)2016-11-15

Great job looks great....

siddiq4321 (author)2011-07-06

this siddiq , India,
i have a very cheaper and working method :

1)use the software flexi music orchestra - a very user friendly software to play wav. files etc. on the keyboard
2)download yamaha / ronald / alesis drum samples over the net or from torrents ...they are very quality one and ull have no complaint
3)load all these sample to the key u want for EACH drum/cymbal ...which is pretty lengthy and save it ..
4)then comes the hardware ...use and old PC keyboard -ic ...or if u get confused with the ic pins j...just keep it attached to the plastic sheets which are below the keys ...and the pass out a pin ter . rhe conductor holes ..which is again a time taking job ..but cheap and working
5)now on other ends of the wire ..anttach a piezo...which is the cheapest drum trigger ..of if u r keyboard does not get enouhgh gain on tapping ...the attach 2 /3 in series and keep one above another ,,....and place it beneath the mouse pad (to experiment ) ..the strike u r mouse pad to play ....

was it helpfull ?????/////////////////////////
don't forget to tell me how was it .....

Murder Moose (author)siddiq43212016-04-26

That totally works!!

mattcc (author)siddiq43212012-05-11

The only problem is you can play 2 keys at the same time :/

mattcc (author)mattcc2012-05-11


thealeks (author)siddiq43212012-03-31

piezos wouldn't work with a pc keyboard, they generate electricity, whereas the keyboard buttons are simple switches, temporarely connecting the circuit

siddiq4321 (author)thealeks2012-04-01

U need to see my instruc.

cure1973 (author)2014-10-28

What is the rubber on the bottom of the drums? Im looking for the same sort of thing for my kit!

mikejl47 (author)cure19732014-12-03

It is just a fuel hose with a slit on one side that slips over the bottom of the drum shell.

robsedleski (author)2011-02-21

I bought a Roland TD-6 that came with a whole bunch of auxiliary electronic percussion equipment included:

-Alesis D4 module / brain
-11 cymbal boom arms w clamps, foams, and washers
-10 home made drum pads (metal plates w foam and rubber covering; piezoelectric sensors with RCA outputs

I just use the TD-6 on its own, so I'm thinking that these items might be of interest to those in this forum. I live in Vancouver, BC, and my email is

If you know of anyone that might be interested, please pass this along.


dhane (author)2010-09-23

hi.. can you help me to make a circuit? i have a boom sound and i wanted that every time i hit the pad the sound it produce is the boom sound which is mp3 format that i have..

pady_j (author)2010-08-22

im in the process of converting my acoustic kit into a mesh head, triggered Alesis DM-Pro metal blasting machine but i made a test drum like yours and i ran into a problem. i made a drum pretty much identical to your design. my problem with it is instead of my drum being too sensitive (which seems to be everyone problem on the internet who is trying this), is it's not sensitive enough in the fact that i have to hit it way too hard to get sound out of it. i tried putting less foam on it, my settings on my Roland SPD-S are too the max sensitivity and lowest threshhold, im wondering if maybe its my peizo i bought. its from a peizo buzzer i got from The Source (radio shack in canada). my materials besides the peizo are all identical. i was wondering if you or anyone ran into this problem or could help me figure this out. thanks.

bigredlevy (author)2010-06-17

I simplified the design a bit by removing the adjustment mechanism. it's a bit harder to set up initially, but i guess equally less work in construction.

Perhaps as a result of the design changes, i got a LOT of crosstalk and double triggering. i moved the piezo to the top of the foam block, but this has resulted in a few sensitivity issues.

I'm running the piezos through an arduino serial converter -> virtual midi port -> ableton. response isn't great, but that's due to lack of processing power.

everything i used is here (i didn't actually buy it, just gleaned the site for info)

thanks for the instructable. LEVY

tommah04 (author)2009-08-06

when I made a few and hooked them up I was getting ALOT of crosstalk, any tips (besides messing with the module) I could do to help this?

mikejl47 (author)tommah042009-08-06

The only other way is to isolate the drums on the rack as much as you can. The best way is use the crosstalk settings on the module. I know the cross talk settings on the Roland modules work very well for fixing that problem.

me too!!

drummonkey92 (author)2008-01-22

my sentiments exactly can we get a petition goin sayin more drum based instructables n less k'nex? lol

avwos (author)drummonkey922009-07-26

4th signature

UberNoober (author)drummonkey922009-06-17

I would SO sign that one! :D

Haha so true...

gnargnar (author)drummonkey922009-03-10


smallman98 (author)2009-04-15

i agree

gnargnar (author)2009-03-10

i'm picking up two toms and a floor tom for thirty bucks tomorrow hopefully, so we'll see if this instructable makes as much sense when i'm actually destroying perfectly good drums eh? you wouldn't happen to live in southern california would you? you need to make one for cymbals now. the new "surge" cymbals that alesis has look pretty sweet and do-able. maybe even some sort of appliable surface on the bottom so you don't have to ruin cymbals...? i'll work on it

mikejl47 (author)gnargnar2009-03-10

Sounds like you got a good deal on your drums. I have tried a few things with cymbals. I never did finish the cymbals on my acoustic conversion. Not sure what I really like, so I haven't spent to much time on the cymbals. I did make some mesh cymbals for my Rock Band kit. I also made some single zone cymbals out of wood. Make sure you check out my website. I may have updated few thing. I live in northern Minnesota and we are having a blizzard right now. Good luck with your project.

MilotisX (author)2009-02-16

The Glossy blue finish didn't completely crack and get destroyed when you started to cut?

o48Mike (author)2009-02-08

WOW! I came here looking for something to turn gum rubber pads into mesh pads and I found this! I'd really like to do this sometime if I could convince my dad to do it with me since he's the handy man of the house. Just need a couple cheap drum shells since I'd likely make a bass drum too. But I do have a question. How would you do a double trigger drum with only one plug? My drum module only supports a single plug in but it has two triggers one for the head and one for the rim. Would I need peizo in there and just have it wired to the same port? Thx man I really hope I get to do the full kit conversion because I'm hatin' the electronic kit my parent's got me for x-mas I have cymbals and drums breaking left and right on me.

mikejl47 (author)o48Mike2009-02-09

Here is a diagram on how to wire a double trigger drum.

If your module supports duel trigger drums. You would use a a cable with stereo plugs.

QuestionConvenience (author)2008-02-07

Great instructable. Good pics, concise instructions, good idea, and nice execution. Do you get paid for this?!

dg33 (author)QuestionConvenience2008-10-29

Can you get paid to do instructables???

rabid_chickin (author)2008-09-20

Could you post a video? Ive always been skeptic of the quality of standalone triggers and i wanted to see if it could pick up ghost notes. I was also wondering if anyone knew how to get rimshots to work in a kit? Does it take another trigger entirely?

tailortrik (author)2008-08-14

find another howto guide on my site!

gradof6b (author)2008-07-03

I have a question about your buket drum kit. Wouldn't it have been easir to just use the sensors in the yamaha drum kit and basically just rearrange them?

RockmanAU (author)2008-05-27

Thanks for the replies Mike.

RockmanAU (author)2008-05-26

Hi, You said, "I used tape around the cut line to prevent splintering." Q: What sort of tape did you use for that? Thx in advance, Rock

mikejl47 (author)RockmanAU2008-05-26

I used that blue painters tape.

RockmanAU (author)2008-05-26

Hi, You said, "These jacks where not long enough to go through the drum shell. With the right size drill bit I was able to screw the jack into the shell. It was a nice tight fit." I don't follow you here, I understand that the Jack plug may not fully seat if the female socket doesn't protrude enough but please explain how you overcame this & made it fit. You lost me there. Thx in advance.

mikejl47 (author)RockmanAU2008-05-26

The screw area of the jack wasn't long enough to go all the way through the drum shell to get the nut on. I drilled a smaller hole so I was able to just screw the jack in.

RockmanAU (author)2008-05-26

Hi There, Is the sensor support a static device or does it have some suspension. I am guessing it's static and the suspension comes from the foam in the sanding blocks only. Please clarify for me man. Thank You, Rock

mikejl47 (author)RockmanAU2008-05-26

Yes, the sensor support is static device.

RockmanAU (author)2008-05-26

Yo, Could you give me an idea of what these sensors cost you, what type/model/specs they are & where you got 'em please? Thank you Mike, Rock

mikejl47 (author)RockmanAU2008-05-26

I use piezos purchased here

RockmanAU (author)2008-05-26

Good Job Mike, Great when it all works fine! Rock

drummer ian (author)2007-12-13

nice instructable, what kit does every1 play here?

drummonkey92 (author)drummer ian2008-01-22

this instructable is pretty cool, but i dont have an electronic kit...i mite have to buy/make one soon tho btw i play mapex venus series with mapex double pedal (as of last weekend :)... i got sabien b8 hats and ride, sabien pro crash, and ziljian zxt crash how bout u?

drummer ian (author)drummonkey922008-01-22

nice kit, im on a mapex saturn atm finished in lush twilight stardust ;p, playing a tama iron cobra special edition double bass pedal

drummonkey92 (author)drummer ian2008-01-23

nice, i like mapex theyr affordable n normaly pretty good quality

gmoon (author)2007-12-12

Ahh, dude, I'm all for cross-promotion, but I'm a little disappointed your last step (the mesh heads themselves) is just a link to an external website (your own, I assume.)

Too bad, I think the kit is pretty sweet...

Why not at least finish this particular instructable and then offer outside content after?

mikejl47 (author)gmoon2007-12-12

I plan on adding all the tutorials from my website here. I just didn't have time today. I didn't want to leave the drum diy hanging in mid air. Thanks Mike

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