Introduction: Electronic Practice Pad
Practice pads are a must for every drummer. They allow us to practice quietly and develop our drumming skills. But practice pads are sometimes boring to use, not because of their actual use but because of their limited sounds. (At least for me)
So I decided to make a practice pad that can be used like a normal pad but can also be connected to a computer and through a midi sampler can produce any digital sound the user requires.
Here is a video showing the building proccess:
And here you can hear how it sounds:
Step 1: Tools and Materials
For this project I have used a limited amount of tools, so everyone can follow and make their own.
- Metal cutting shear (Used for cutting 1mm metal sheet and also 3mm rubber sheet)
- 100mm hole saw
- Rabbet router bit (10mm cutting width)
- 10mm drill bit
- Drill press
- Soldering iron kit
- Jig saw
- 25mm forstner bit
- Radial saw (A hand saw can also be used here)
- 6mm thick birch plywood
- 25mm thick wooden board
- 3x mono jacks
- 3x (16mm dia) piezoelectric transducers
- 3mm thick rubber sheet
- 1mm thick metal sheet
- Cushion foam (A more dense material would work better)
- Drum module
- Any drum sampler
Step 2: Preparing the Metal and Rubber Disks
Using a metal shear cut three 12cm metal disks out of your 1mm thick metal sheet and also three 12cm rubber disks out of your 3mm thick rubber sheet
Step 3: Cutting and Marking the Plywood
To construct the frame of our pad we will use three pieces of wood. Two 42 x 20cm pieces of 6mm thick plywood and a 42 x 20cm piece of wood. Any species will do as long as its thickness is 25mm.
Once we have all of our pieces cut, we should make some holes for the pads and jacks.
Step 4: Using the Hole Saw
Attaching a 100mm hole saw on our drill press will allow us to make three holes for the pads.
Step 5: Using the Forstner Bit
In order to attach the jacks on the plywood we will need to reduce the thickness of it just on the places where the jacks will go. With a forstner bit attached to the drill press we remove just 2mm of wood.
Now using a 10mm drill bit we can make three holes, one for each jack just in the center of each forstner bit mark.
Step 6: The Router
Using a router and a rabbet router bit, we made a 3mm deep rabbet on each one of the pad holes. Those rabbets will accommodate the rubber pads.
Step 7: Middle Section
At this point we have to make three holes on the wood using a jig saw. Those holes should be aligned with the holes on the plywood.
As an optional step we can clean up the holes using a spindle sander.
Now on the drill press, using a 25mm forstner bit we need to make three holes for the jacks, and three more 2mm deep rabbets around the pad holes. We need those rabbets just to make sure that the metal disks will not touch to the wood and make it vibrate activating the other piezos.
Step 8: Wiring the Piezos
Wire the jacks according to this link. Attach the jacks on the frame, use some silicone to glue the rubber pads on the frame as shown and glue the piezos on the center of each metal disk.
Finally solder the wires from the piezos to the wires coming from the jacks.
Optionally you can use some masking tape or any kind of tape to secure the piezo wires on the disks once they are very thin and fragile.
Step 9: Final Assembly
Cut out three pieces of cushion foam and put them in the holes. Those will push the metal plates and rubber up and also isolate each pad.
Place the top and bottom frames and add some screws to secure the whole structure.
Practically you are finished now, but optionally you can give it a better shape if you have a band saw or just by using a jig saw.
Step 10: More Info
This instructable is only for the drum pad making. In order to operate it you will need a drum module to connect the pads and a computer with a drum sampler plugin to generate the drum sounds.
How an electronic drum works:
An electronic drum, also known as digital drums or digital percussion, is a modern electronic musical instrument, a special type of synthesizer or sampler primarily designed to serve as an alternative to an acoustic drum kit or other percussion instruments. An electronic drum consists of an electronic or digital sound module which produces the synthesized or sampled percussion sounds and one or more electric sensors to trigger the sounds. Like regular drums, the sensors are struck by drum sticks or by the hands (depending on the type of drum pad) and they are played in a similar manner as an acoustic drum kit.
Strictly speaking, sequencers playing pre-programmed electronic drum tracks and electronic or digital drum machines are not electronic drums, because a drummer or other musician is not triggering the sounds. The electronic drum (pad/triggering device) is usually sold as part of an electronic drum kit, consisting of a set of drum pads mounted on a stand or rack in a configuration similar to that of an acoustic drum kit layout, with rubberized (Roland, Yamaha, Alesis, for example) or specialized acoustic/electronic cymbals (e.g. Zildjian's "Gen 16"). The drum pads themselves are either discs or shallow drum shells made of various materials, often with a rubber/silicone or cloth-like coated playing surface. Each pad has a sensor that generates an electric signal when struck. The electric signal is transmitted through cables into an electronic or digital drum module ("brain" as it is sometimes called), synthesizer or other device, which then produces a sound associated with, and triggered by, the struck pad. The sound signal from the drum module can be plugged into a keyboard amp or PA system for use in a live band performance or listened to with headphones for silent practice. Since digital drums have become more popular, companies have started selling digital electronic drum files, referred to as drum kits. While electronic drum kits are typically used to trigger drum and percussion sounds, a MIDI-equipped electronic drum kit can be used to trigger any types of MIDI sounds, such as synthesized or sampled piano, guitar, or any other instrument.
Source for this info: Wikipedia