Introduction: Realistic Feeling Drum/Pad With Carry Handle and Plywood Base!
Hello there!!! This is my first ever instructable so I’m sorry if I miss something. The goal of this project is to create a practice drum pad that is semi-quiet, portable, and feels more like a drum rather than a disk of rubber with a plastic rim. Which, don’t get me wrong, is great option. I’ve been using a plastic/rubber practice pad for basically my entire drumming career, and the only issue I have with it is the lack of dynamic expression you can notice and practice. A drum and disk of plastic are obviously different in there own ways, but at the end of the day if you have a good practice session and get a little better, no wrong is done there. So to help all of the seasoned drummers out there, and the progressing beginning drummer avoid the epidemic that has become the rubber practice pad, I am going to show y’all an upgrade option-that won’t wake the neighbors!!! :) The design is heavily inspired by the Rudimental Drumming Practice pad (here’s their website, very fancy, yet very pricy, https://www.rudimentaldrummers.xyz/rd-pads) so I guess it’s fair to call this project an altered clone. Here’s another inspirational project I found, https://www.instructables.com/DIY-Tuneable-Practice-Drum-Pad/. And now that is the end of the intro, so let’s get to the project!!! Woohoo!
For this project you will need the following, (feel free to change the parts up if you come up with a better design, get as creative as you would like!):
Thick plywood- This is going to be used as the base of the project. Get something at least 1/2 inches thick, you will thank your self!
Some sort of hoop for the head to rest on- when you find the drumhead this will make more sense.This goes on the plywood base and under the drum head. The drumhead essentially rests on this.
Drum head-snare head would work best as long as it’s the batter side head. (these can get pricey but spend as little or as much as you would like, Remo and Evans really get the job done.)
Rim/ Drum hoop- this sandwiches everything together. I found a nice chrome Gibraltar rim on amazon that really got the job done. If you would like, try a wooden rim, this would call for some design modifications though, and is a little more to keep up with.
Lugs- make sure these fit the sizes of the holes in your rim. Try not getting any that are too long cause they would stick out of the plywood base.
T-Nuts, or Something For Your Lugs To Grab- make sure that your lugs and the threads in the nut are compatible.
Filling- you can use an old t-shirt or if you want a nice buzz maybe experiment with some wire snares, washers or metal beads, this all depends on your preference.
Step 1: Gather Materials!
For this step you might have to do some looking and asking around. Have drummer friends? Maybe they bought a head that wasn’t right that they want to get off their hands. Maybe they have suggestions of what kind of head they like to use. Take a field trip on over to the local music store, surely they will have a drum hoop (rim), lugs, drumheads, and a pair of sticks or two that you might like to check out :). As for the plywood (Which you may happen to have some extra of lying around) and t-nuts, I suggest Home Depot or another reliable hardware store you have in town. I have actually never used t-nuts before, but it’s fun to branch out! If you would like too, feel free to get as creative as you like! Maybe try a design with a wooden rim! Or an animal skin Head! You’ll probably have to make this though... Honestly I think that the cruelty free plastic heads are just as fun! I would love to see all the designs y’all come up with!!!
Head= I found a nice ten inch Evans head at the local music store and it cost somewhere around $8.00
Lugs= We used bolts that we’re lying around instead because the $4.00 pack of six lugs that we bought were a very rare thread size.
Rim= I had to order this special off of the amazon website because the music store did not have this $12.00
Plywood for base= I found the plywood in the shop, but some new stuff might cost anywhere from $5.00-$20.00
T-nuts= Once again a Home Depot find. definitely take the lugs/ tension rods/bolts you find to the hardware store to make sure the two are compatible. These should fit snugly together.
Some sort of filling= I’m using an old t-shirt but feel free to experiment with different stuff to get more/less sound or maybe some buzz.
A Hoop= This will make more since later on, but I used an old pie pan that I found lying around.
Eye Screws And Paracord For Handle- I keep my paracord stash stocked, and it isn’t that expensive if you look in the right places. At one surplus store I went too, they had a really good deal- two hanks of 100 feet for $8.00 . :O I know right?! Eye screws are usually found in random corners of the shop and in the Home Depot fastener isle.
Dremel and Dremel cutting attachment-for cutting the bolts to the right length.
Handheld electric bandsaw
Step 2: Finding/Making a Body Hoop
This step can be really easy or really difficult. The whole idea is to find or make a hoop that would be the equivalent to the shell of an actual drum. To fill the need I dug up a metal pie pan that We never use. It will serve a better purpose for this project. What a wonderful way to give an old pie pan some new life :)
Step 3: Cut a Plywood Circle Out for the Base
This is it. The time has come to grab the plywood. Measure your whole assembly without the base, now add a bit more length (one or two inches) and go find a circle of that length that you can trace into the plywood. I found a nice pot lid, and as you can see in one of the pictures above, it fits over our whole assembly very nicely. Now we can grab the plywood and set the pot lid on it to trace. When you trace, make sure you go around the lid multiple times so you get a nice thick marking. The thickness is very helpful when it comes time to cut the plywood, and that time is now. But wait! Set your assembly down and see if your t-nuts have enough room. Okay, now you can grab your cutting tool. We used a handheld electric bandsaw and it really got the job done.➡️ ❗️Be sure you are wearing at least safety glasses, and if you want to be super safe, grab a nice dust mask that will protect your lungs. ❗️ Your going to want to cut it out nice so it looks somewhat circular. Nothing’s perfect, but you can always give it your best ;)
Step 4: Drill Holes
First holes- Ok so our rim is made for a smaller sized tension rod/bolt. We were using a bigger sized bolt so we made the holes on the rim a little bigger by running a drill through them.
Second Holes- Grab your lovely plywood circle. Go and mark where the lugs and t-nuts need to be put. Make a nice visible marking where they need to go. I stuck the pencil through the rims holes and made a little dot, then made the dot a little bolder. Be sure you have a dot for every hole in the rim. Now we can drill some pilot holes with a small drill bit. We used a 7/64 bit for the pilot holes.
Third Holes- To be honest, these holes are optional, but make the pad nicer. These are going to be holes drilled with a paddle bit that will allow the t-nuts to sit flush with the wood. That being said, these are going to be drilled on the backside of the plywood. The backside can be whatever side you choose, I just chose the side with the retailers stamp and the small impurity. DO NOT DRILL THESE HOLES ALL THE WAY THROUGH!!! Just give the drill full throttle and sink the bit in slightly. Check the thickness of the t-nuts crown (the part you will be able to see when all is said and done) and see if the shallow hole we drilled with the paddle bit will be enough for our t-nut to be comfy and flush with the surface. Do this for all six pilot holes (or however many holes you have based on your rim).
Final Holes- Now it is time to make our pilot holes a bit bigger in order to fit our t-nuts and lugs/bolts/tension rods. Use a drill bit that is the size of your bolt in diameter. This will ensure that the t-nut (which has a slightly larger diameter) will be nice and snug in the hole.
Step 5: Hammer Time!!! Inserting T-Nuts Into Base.
Now we are going to grab our t-nuts and install them on our base. This can be done a number of ways, but if you are like me and enjoy hammering things, then this is the way to go about it. Not to mention it is pretty fast. Here’s how it works. Put the t-nut in the hole with your hands and make sure it is sort of in there. Now we’re going to hammer it into place. Make sure your face or any other part of a living thing is NOT in the path of you and your hammer.⚠️HAMMERS CAN HURT⚠️ Good, now we can continue. Tap the t-nut In at first and continually add force. For the last bit, really give the t-nut a good whack to make sure it’s in the wood good. Yay rhymes! Now repeat until all of the holes have a t-nut or until you feel that your neighbors are intimidated enough and will stay away from you and your newfound hammer wielding skills.
Step 6: Sand the Crustyness Away
Grab the plywood base and some music and sand until the base is nice and smooth around the edges, tops, and sides. I used a little sanding block of lord even knows what grit that I found in the shop. It was very course though, and got the job done. Be aware that dust is going to be everywhere. I suggest a respirator and safety glasses for this step unless you would like to have lung problems. Lung problems are not fun. Neither are eye problems. Indeed, dust can get there too.
Step 7: Assemble and Tune!
This is the time when you sacrifice a t-shirt or something to the pie pan, then assemble everything. The screws had to be cut down a bit, but they work perfectly! It’s a good idea to put some washers in between the rim and the head of the bolt. I just found some locking washers and they do the job well! Your need to get all of the bolts/rods in the t-nuts and finger tighten them. With the bolts this was a little hard, but you might have to tighten it down a bit with a screwdriver if not using actual tension rods. Once finger tightened, go look up how to tune. It’s just like installing the spare tire on a car. You go in a cross cross pattern that’s a little tricky to understand, but look at the diagram above for a better understanding.
Step 8: Optional Paracord Carry Handle
I just grabbed a bracelet that I had recently made and attached it to some adapters I quickly made. Just make a loop around a buckle and attach it to one of the rods via a cow hitch. The nice thing about it is you can change out the handle for a different design or take it off completely!
Participated in the