This is my Arduino Project. How to build an e-drum kit with Arduino?
Hello dear reader!
-Why doing such a Project?
First of all because if you like these kinds of things, you will enjoy the work process really much. Second, because its really cheap compared to real e-drum kits and you will be able to save a huge quantity of money. Anyway, lets move on to the main part of this article.
Step 1: Materials
You will need different measures of wood. I used 16mm and 10mm MDF for the Drum pads and then 5mm plywood for the Cymbals.
I highly recommend MDF for making this project because of its ease while working with it
- Arduino Mega.
I used an Arduino Mega 2560 because I included 9 components. Otherwise you can use an Arduino UNO, which is cheaper.
- USB m/m cables.
To connect the sensors to the Arduino board you will need either USB or Jack cables. Jack cables are better in this case, but you will save money if you get the USB ones. Apart from the cables you will also need to get their respective female connectors.
- EVA rubber. (Commonly known as swimming pool floor)
- Sensors. Piezos and a photocell.
The piezos are the sensors for the Pads and Cymbals. The photocell will work as a HiHat pedal.
- Resistors, Protoboard/Breadbord, electric cable, pin Headers.
- MIDI connector and MIDI to USB cable.
- Screws, nuts and butterflies
- Pet screen
- *E-drum structure
- Jig Saw
- Sander / Sand paper
Step 2: Drum Pads
Use the Jig Saw to cut a basic shape from the 16mm MDF. This will be the bottom of our Pads. I recommend you to cut them with a regular shape so it looks better in the end. After this, cut a ring from the 16mm MDF with the same size as the bottom of the Drum pads.
Once you have cut as many bottoms and rings as you need, it is time to move on to the next step.
Step 3: Head Membrane
To attach the head membrane to the pads, you will need to cut two more rings, which will be in charge of holding and tensing the membrane.
The first membrane-hoop needs to be from a smaller MDF than the bottom and first ring of the Pads. It has to be a bit thinner than the first pad, but you can only cut from the inside part, so that the outside edge of the membrane-ring matches with the outside edge of the first ring.
The second membrane-hoop has to be higher than the first membrane-hoop and his inside edge has to coincide with the inside edge of the first ring.
Once you have cut these two hoops, it is time to cut the membrane from our pet screen. You can choose the number of sheets of pet screen for making the membrane. I used 4 sheets for each membrane so I could play harder without breaking them.
With a hot glue gun, draw the shape of the first membrane-hoop, leaving some space between the hoop and the glue, on the four sheets put together earlier, so that they stay fixed. After that cut the membrane around the hot glue to get your first membrane. Repeat the process, as many times as membranes you want.
To tense and fix the membrane to the membrane-hoops, you will have to drill some holes through the first membrane-hoop and the pet screen, as the picture above shows. The membrane will go situated between the two membrane-hoops.
Step 4: Finishing the Drum Pads
Now it is time to screw the whole Pad together. Use the screws, the washers and the nuts. You can see the finished Pad on the picture below. Don’t screw the bottom now! You have to put the sensors first!
The sensor goes on the bottom of the Pad and “connected” to the membrane through a trigger pyramid. Anyway, you can adapt the Piezo-Sensor however you want.
Step 5: Cymbals
The cymbals are made out of a sheet of 5mm plywood and the EVA rubber. The EVA rubber is used to decrease the noise while hitting the cymbal.
You will have to cut (3) triangles of the plywood. And drill 2 holes on them. One of the holes is for the stick of the structure and the other one works to get the cables from the Piezo-Sensor through.
Step 6: Hi-hat Pedal
For making the Hi-hat pedal you will need a photocell and a left foot sandal. Remove the band of your flip-flop and put an elastic one instead.
Drill the sandal through and make some space for the sensor on the front part of the bottom of the sandal.
After that, you will have to weld the cables to the photocell and to the connector (usb/ Jack) situated in the back of the sandal.
Step 7: Kick / Bass Drum Pedal
For making the Kick pedal there are many options.
If you want to do my Kick pedal variation, you need some Wood, screws, some EVA rubber and finally, the Piezo-Sensor
Make an inclined wood structure and put the piezo sensor on it. Cover then the whole pedal with the rubber to isolate the sensor.
Step 8: Circuit
Every component should be now connected to a cable (usb/jack). You will have to connect those cables to a female adaptor and then to the breadboard.
Sensors usually need to be connected to the arduino board through resistors.
The Piezo-Sensors need a 1MOhm resistor between the analog input and the ground pin. The photocell works perfectly without resistor, but if you don’t want to overcharge it, then you should use a 10KOhm resistor and connect it between the analog input and the 5V pin.
Finally you will have to connect the MIDI adapter, which goes connected to the TX0 pin, the ground pin and to the 5V pin. You will have to connect the adapter with two 220KOhm resistors. One of them will go to the TX0 pin and the other one to the 5V pin.
Step 9: Arduino Code
The original code was written by Evan Kale but it has been edited and modified by me. It contains some Spanish concepts, so if you have any questions please let me know.
See Evan Kale's original work:
Step 10: Structure and Other Things
If you want to build a homemade structure too, i recommend you to use PVC. However, you will save a lot of time and work if you get a second hand drum structure. This way you will only have to adapt your Pads to the hook of that structure.
About the connection to a computer/mobile device, you will have to buy a MIDI interface or a MIDI to USB cable. You can find them on amazon, aliexpress...