Instructables
Picture of Electronic Drum Kit
Drums are fun, let's face it. But they are too expensive and cumbersome. The solution? Build your own electronic drum kit!
 
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Step 1: The theory

A keyboard is really a bunch of switches. So to make the drum kit, we build our own switches, and wire them up to a keyboard controller. This plugs into a PC, where a program listens for keypresses, and plays a corresponding .wav file

Step 2: You will need

Picture of You will need
  • Keyboard
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Plastic
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Computer
  • Multimeter
Not shown:
.wav files

Step 4: Pad it up

Put the keyboard aside. Now we need to make the pads.

Grab some cardboard (half Manilla folders work well) and some of the aluminium foil. Put one 'panel' of the foil onto each of the inside panels of the folder (they must not touch). Attach a wire to each of the al foil panels.

Next, cut some plastic to size (I'm using transparencies here), and cut some holes in it, tape it over one of the aluminium panels

Rinse and repeat. I created 2 for the purpose of this instructable.

It is probably a good idea to test with a multimeter
joeyjerry5 months ago

This idea is fine but when I hit the pad randomly and/sometimes with less pressure it does not register a hit and no sound is produced. Any alternate method to make the pads?

idontcar33 years ago
you wont believe me but i had the same idea but with piezos, and its kinda hard to find them locally =).. so.. thanks for the alluminum foil idea :D i'm trying tonight ^^

Did you try to do it with the piezo? or did you do it this way & did any of the two techniques work?

rioligity1 year ago
i think its better to use styro film at the plastic drum pad because it can last longer :) by the way thanks for this XD .....
DJG1 year ago
This works great on my Vista PC, but not at all on my XP laptop that I'd like to use (to make the system mobile). Is there any way, munchman, of producing a version that worls on XP, please?
D Inventor1 year ago
man big BIG problem.......when u play hi hat and base or snare or whatever two things to gether no sound is produced of else only one sound is produced!!!!! :( Can u fix this or else tell another software without any lag in sound....pls help thanx...!!!
DJG1 year ago
Thank you very much! It works a treat!
Dave
DJG1 year ago
Hi Munchman. Great Instructable, but I'm having problems with the software - when I try to run the .exe file I get an error message: "Error: Please make sure there is a profiles directory".
I'm using Windows Vista - what should I do, please?
Dave
error msg.jpg
munchman (author)  DJG1 year ago
Hi DJG, You'll need to create a folder named 'profiles' in the same location as the .exe file. Within that folder, you'll need to create another folder (named whatever you want), with your .wav files in it. Hope this helps :)
Hi, I´m really interested in making one of these, and I would like to know if this diagram will work, because, seriously, I find it easier to do ;) If no one can answer this, I´ll try and share my results.

Thanks in advance.

munchman: your instructable is great, but IMHO, maybe you could try not to use slang, and to explain a bit more on some sections. I mean, it´s understandable, but... well, it can always be better.
diagram.jpg
thealeks3 years ago
OMG YOU ARE GOD!!! this is exactly what ive been looking for! i have the software already, i just need some sort of hardware for "playing" drums and recording into cakewalk. i will make this asap.
duck_tape_4 years ago
This popped up when I tried to open the program
drum kit error.bmp
I have windows 7 and it appears that munchman has vista, so if you have xp or whatever it could be that.
munchman (author)  duck_tape_4 years ago
Are you sure that you have the .NET framework and that you have unzipped the program?
Pestana154 years ago
hello people I've got a little problem I've got the key codes and I've potted in the profile, but to play the notes I've just to hit the pads, but when i hit them no sound come of my speakers. could somebody help me plz. reply quickly plz, i need this as sone as possible thanks for your time
samzaxe5 years ago
hey there...dude am also trying the process that you showed in this tutorial. but isnt it better if we use piezo transducers instead of aluminium foil to complete the circuit. please reply i am in the middle of process... waitinzz
munchman (author)  samzaxe5 years ago
Try It!
dude am trying......but the problem is that piezo works both ways.. that is tht it makes sound when current is given and generate current when force is applied.and when i atttached the keyboard extended wires with pzo the circuit was completed. can u help me with any idea that the piezo only takes input as force and should ignore any sort of current comin from the keyboard wires thx
try to put diods in the positive wire of the piezo that will oneway the electric flow.
munchman (author)  samzaxe5 years ago
If a piezo generates current than it's a bad idea to use it here. All you need is a switch. The described method does this.
this is very cool...but it guess there is one problem...two sound files cant be played together...i guess a keyboard allows only one press...if two buttons are pressed together...only one appears....can u help me with this....or can i use gamepads instead of a keyboard??? please reply i;m in the middle of the process...

Thnk you
carlatf4 years ago
Hi,
I don't wuite understand what you wire with what in the keyboard :(
Would you be so kind to explain a little bit more?
best regards!
danymw4 years ago
it's way cheaper and customizable using a cheap gamepad like i did for my knex guitar ^^.
thanks for the pads idea,i'll rate if it works well enough
what it is the sheet of plastic for?
xhaylowx5 years ago
where do the wires go? one to each 'panel'? and so it triggers a note back to the keyboard when you hit it and the alluminum foil touches?
munchman (author)  xhaylowx5 years ago
Exactly, the aluminium foil 'panels' touch together through the holes in the plastic, connecting the two wires together and completing the circuit.
you should add that up there. and is it okay if i don't have a multimeter and don't use one?
xhaylowx5 years ago
can i just use a peizo instead of the aluminum foil and such, and just wire it back to the keyboard?
munchman (author)  xhaylowx5 years ago
I don't think so, does a piezo act like a switch?
a peizo detects when an object is hit and how hard it's hit.
munchman (author)  xhaylowx5 years ago
In that case, no, not with this version. I am, however, planning a v2.0 using an Arduino and some pressure sensors. Stay Tuned!
xhaylowx5 years ago
you did say rinsing, right? how do you rinse it?
munchman (author)  xhaylowx5 years ago
I just meant repeat, like make another one. It's just slang.
hg3415 years ago
that is a very cheap and cool way to do that i don't have a spare keyborad though