I was looking to buy some Brazilian samba drums, but was disheartened to find out just how much they cost here in the United States. The technology and materials aren't all that advanced, so why would I pay upwards of $140 for an LP ($155 on Amazon), Meinl ($140 on Amazon), or Pearl repinique when I could make my own?
In this instructable, I'll show you how I made a quick and easy repinique that actually sounds pretty good. As I work on this method in the future, I'll look toward sourcing used metal or plastic buckets and perhaps look into fashioning the hoops myself. I don't see how you can avoid buying pre-manufactured drum heads, and to be honest, cheap used heads from eBay work just fine (in fact, the thinner and cheaper, the better the sound of the instrument).
In the end, I spent about $50 on parts, saving me nearly $100. Sourcing cheaper materials will bring that cost down even further.
(1) Tin snips
(3) 11/32" wrench or pliers to tighten nuts
(4) Bolt cutters or hacksaw
(1) Vestil 5-gallon steel pail. I paid $15 for a new one at Amazon: http://goo.gl/KsJEI0
(2) Two 12" drum hoops. I paid about $15 for used hoops on eBay. (The cheapest new hoops on Amazon are currently about $14 each: http://goo.gl/c1N2kC)
(3) Two 12" drum heads. I already had one 12" head lying around and had another that I picked up on eBay new for about $5. (The Brazilian drum manufacturer RMV has some inexpensive, thin heads that would work great for this drum currently about $10 each on Amazon: http://goo.gl/7l2euT)
(4) Three 3-foot pieces of #8-32 threaded rod at about $3 each. You can order these online, but it's probably cheaper just to buy at Home Depot.
(5) A box of #8-32 nuts, about $5 at Home Depot for a pack of 100.
(6) A few washers (optional).
Step 1: Cut Through the Bottom of the Pail and Remove the Handle
First, cut off the bottom of the pail. Be sure NOT to cut from the sides of the bucket, but from the bottom. Cutting off the entire bottom of the pail will weaken the structure of thin steel. I punched a hole about 1/2" or so from the edge, then worked the tin snips all the way around. Then, I took a hammer and flattened out the rough edge. This further reinforces the bottom edge and keeps the sharp, jagged parts from cutting your hands or damaging the drumhead.
I ended up using bolt cutters to take the handle off. You could simply drill through the rivets to take the whole handle structure off, but I didn't have a drill bit that could do that.
Step 2: Cut Rods to Size and Affix Heads
Next, I cut the threaded rods to size and attached the drumheads.
I first made a rough measurement for my cuts by placing the hoops and heads onto the steel shell then aligning the rod through the top and bottom hoops. Be sure to leave a bit of extra material on each side just to be sure. You can trim off any excess later.
You can use a hacksaw to cut the rods, but I used bolt cutters to chop them to size. If you use this method, be sure to leave at least one factory-cut end on the part that you will use. This is because the size that is chopped with the bolt cutters will be misshapen. If you have a rod with two misshapen ends (i.e. two ends that have been chopped with bolt cutters), you won't be able to get any nuts onto the rod.
Once I had the rods cut to size, I just slid them through each hole on the hoop. I used a nut and washer at each end to hold things in place.
Step 3: You're All Done!
Once you have the heads affixed, all you have to do is tighten the nuts on the bottom side. Be sure not to overtighten the heads! If you make them too tight, you'll bust both drum heads. If you find that you aren't getting the crisp, high-overtone sound you're looking for, try a thinner head. I used an old, cheap Ludwig head on the bottom and a nice new Remo powerstroke on the top. As it turned out, the Powerstroke was too heavy and I ended up re-doing it so that the Ludwig came out on top. And, in fact, I'm using the bottom of the pail as the top of the drum. It's slightly smaller diameter (see pic) makes for a slightly higher pitch as the drumhead is pulled down over it.
I was quite surprised to see how well this project turned out. Just be aware that this kind of drum with "free-floating" hardware makes it more difficult to tune each head individually.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you like this idea or have any improvements! And look for other entries in my Brazilian samba instrument series in the future.