Picture of ResoDrums -- Electronic Hand Percussion
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This is an electronic instrument played like a hand drum but with synth sounds. It is both sensor and speaker, so you can actually feel the sounds with your hands as you make them (the computer sounds are coming from the bowls themselves). It is inexpensive, provided that you already have a computer, and can be built in about an hour. No special skills are required to build it (heck, I did it and I solder like a kindergartener).

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Step 1: Parts & Tools

Picture of Parts & Tools
This is the list of things you will need to make the ResoDrums. These instructions assume that you are making a two-drum setup (the best plan for a typical stereo input computer). The software is modular, however, so you can build as many ResoDrums as you have audio inputs.

A) two shallow wooden salad bowls -- available everywhere. I would recommend getting them secondhand at a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Try to get flat bottom bowls that are around 1/4" thick and carved from a single piece of wood. Avoid bowls with a ridge around the base.

B) two piezo discs -- these will cost about a buck apiece at any electronics shop. Get the largest ones you can find (the ones shown are about an inch and a half in diameter). If the piezos have any plastic housing or wiring, remove it. You will only need the discs themselves.

C) two electro-mechanical transducers -- these are basically the magnetic drivers of speakers without the diaphragm (cone). Whatever you attach them to becomes the diaphragm, in this case the bowls themselves. I like using either Vidsonix Phantoms (for larger bowls and lower frequencies) or Vidsonix Ghosts (for smaller bowls). They're less than $20 apiece from Vidsonix via their
ebay store.

D) an audio cable -- 1/8" stereo on one end and dual mono on the other (for example dual RCA as shown). This will connect the output of the ResoDrums to your computer (here assumed to have an 1/8" stereo jack). Alternately, you can make your own quite easily with just an 1/8" plug and some wire.

E) an audio cable -- to connect your computer's audio out to your amplifier's audio in (1/8" to 1/8" cable shown---your equipment may vary).

F) an amplifier -- a stereo audio amplifier that is 8 ohms and at least 15 watts (so just about any home stereo amp will do). Here I've used a class-D amp, which is small enough for easy transport.

G) 6 wood screws -- the screws that come with the transducer are too long (they will go all the way through the bowl). You will need shorter screws (about as long as the thickness of the bowl).

H) 6 washers -- these will distribute the pressure of the screws so you can tighten them without cracking the transducer's mounting plate. You'll want ones that are about the size of a quarter with a small hole in the middle.

I) spacers -- the cheap rubber bits with adhesive (available at any hardware or home furnishings store)

J) glue -- epoxy or jut plain superglue

K) a laptop -- mac or pc

L) a soldering iron & solder

M) pliers/wire cutters

N) a screwdriver

O) an awl

P) tape -- gaffer's tape is the best, but just about any tape will do the trick
mattcc3 years ago
Are there any other types of software i could use for free?
I'm running Vista and installed the Max5 Runtime, then put the ResoDrum.exe file into the same install folder and ran it. I just get a red list of text that says, "max | doesn't understand 'db.addvirtual'" a hundred times. I'm a noob and don't know what I've done wrong. Help?
Has anyone solved this? I would like to try this on Win 7 as well...
wkraml wkraml4 years ago
I have SOEM success with the MAX5 runtime and the Max Patch - I have to start the Max5 runtime as administrator. Software runs, recognizes input and shows things on waterfall display etc. Only problem so far: nothing reaches the output... :-(
choleraine5 years ago
Is the amplifier necessary?  I'm new to this...
hippyland25 years ago
in the first image i tought they were the size of the fisrt digit on the pinky finger couuld they be made that small? like 1.5 cm square
I have made a couple of these however I use them as "Stompboxes" through my guitar amp.
ampRiser5 years ago
Very cool!! is this an original Idea? Frederick
retrostruct5 years ago
Could not get the software to run on Windows7, will try and hunt down a machine with something else on it. It's a pity, as it looks interesting! Sort of thing I'd like to play around with.
karate56625 years ago
Nice instructable! I don't have access to any pieze transducer's where I live, so I substituted some speakers in. funny thing is, it worked! I made my own set for under 5 dollars, then attatched them to the underside of my desk so that tapping on the surface makes music!
mikemorana5 years ago
This question may sound totally ridiculous, so excuse the noobtastic nature - would this work at all with some of the mainstream audio programs( Fruity Loops, Sonar etc). Perhaps something like a MIDI instrument. If anyone knows if its possible (even if through some loophole) let me know please :)
NuGFX5 years ago
I saw something they call a "Piezo transducer" could this replace the piezo and transducer?
alloyelectric (author)  NuGFX5 years ago
Good question! Actually, "piezo" is just short for "piezo transducer". A transducer is something that converts from one form of energy to another (in this case from mechanical to electrical). So really, this instrument design makes use of two transducers: one to convert the mechanical energy of hitting the bowl into electrical signals that the computer can "hear", and another to convert the electrical signals that the computer outputs into mechanical energy we can hear.
Wow thanks alot I might have gone out and bought the 'piezo' alone And this gives alot of insight to wats really goin on when u hit the bowl
That's pretty nifty! I can't say that I totally understand the technical aspects, but I'm wondering if the material of the bowls would change the sound. It looks like you're using wooden bowls in the last picture. Would the sound be different if you used clay bowls due to the vibration and/or resonance variation?
alloyelectric (author)  Muddy Potters5 years ago
You could use clay bowls (and they would change the sound), but you would have to have a different method of mounting the transducer since you wouldn't be able to use wood screws. Industrial adhesive perhaps?
kissiltur5 years ago
Fun stuff! I can see mounting this onto all sorts of things - melamine bowls, tuned 2x4s, all sorts of things. Q: what are the four square wooden things in the first picture? I was a little misled at first into thinking that this was going to be a multi-drum kit.
alloyelectric (author)  kissiltur5 years ago
Yeah, I love using these transducers. You can turn just about anything into a speaker! As for the first pic, it is indeed a multi-drum kit. The system is modular, so you can run as many as you have inputs on your audio interface. I just posted some video with the larger single ResoDrum, but I'll try to add some video of the four small bowls soon!
Very cool. Are you just running this through a 1/4" audio input on your soundcard?