DIY Cheap Electronic Drum Kit Cymbals




I had been looking to make my own cymbals for my DTXpress II electronic drumkit. The kit already has 2 but I remembered I could add 2 more so I got thinking and researching.

Step 1: Buying the Bits Needed

I watched some videos and they used plates or frisbee's. I originally looked at a cake tin covered in some silicone rubber. Then while looking through my Toolstation catalogue I saw a 180mm sanding disc pads for only a few pounds. That looked perfect! Then I thought what if some piping fitted the frame of my drumkit, and after measuring they were about right! So I purchased the 2 sanding disc pads and 2 T bends, 2 right angle and 2 stoppers.

Step 2: Drilling the Discs

The discs didn't have a hole so I drilled a hole through the space in the middle. I pushed a bolt through (size wasn't really important, it was what I had in my toolbox but they had to be long enough.

Step 3: Attaching the Pipes

The pipe stoppers are great as they come in two pieces. One that slots into the pipe and the other that screws on to close the end. I had the idea of drilling a hole in the cap then putting that through the bolt on the disc then adding a nut to tighten the bolt. Keeping the cap tight with the disc. I attached the right angle bend and they looked great!

Step 4: A Problem Arose!

After I had bolted the disc to the pipe I realised that the disc was too rigid. Cymbals when hit usually have a little give so they wobble. So I had a think and came up with the idea of putting a smaller pipe in between the disc and the cap. I've tried to illustrate the idea through a drawing. So now when all the parts are tightened (not too tight) there is a gap between the cap and disc. Now when I hit the edge of the disc it had a bit of give. Perfect!

Step 5: Attaching the Cymbal to the Drumkit Frame.

I had purchased a T piece of pipe. I realised that the inner part of the pipe was slightly too small to slide over the drum kit frame pipes. So I filed away some of the inside of the plastic pipe and it then fit perfectly on the frame. I then did a test fit and it looked great and was pretty sturdy.

Step 6: Adding the Piezo Transducers to the Cymbals.

On the bottom of the discs is velcro. This would hold the sanding disc to the pad. I measured around the piezo and cut away the area. I then placed a piece of soft material (not shown in the photos, I cut a piece from a non slip mat I had. It was the right thickness and soft enough to absorb some force when hit) in the cut circle and put the piezo on top. The piezo fitted in nicely. I then placed some velcro strips to secure the piezos.

I wired the piezo's to a mono audio cable. The tip going to the red wire. I soldered the wires and used heat shrink to make it look tidy. Then again I used some velcro to hold secure the cable. The velcro bottom was just pure luck and it worked so well.

Step 7: Giving the Cymbal a Soft Touch.

Next I had to glue something to the top of the disc as it was hard plastic. I had an old mousemat lying around (about 5mm thick) so I cut it to shape and glued it on. The glue I used was called 'Serious Glue'. I have used it before and liked that when it dried it wasn't rock hard. It would not shatter if hit, rather dent it. I left it over night to make the glue was properly dried.

Step 8: Finally Finished!

The cymbals were finally finished. My Yamaha DTXpress II drum kit had only one stereo input for my extra 9/10 inputs. So the left channel would be channel 9 and the right channel would be channel 10. I couldn't find a splitter so I ended up getting a stereo 1/4" jack and wiring the two mono leads to the left and right.

I plugged it in and had to assign what note I wanted the cymbals to be. I ran it through Ezdrummer and I have to say they feel great! They are just right to fit on to the kit and they feel excellent.

This is my first Instructable and I hope I've made it easy to follow. I think in the end the two cymbals cost me about £14, so not bad at all and I can rock out with two extra cymbals!! :)



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    7 Discussions


    1 year ago

    How did you get the pipe fittings to stay on the rack? Did you glue or bolt them? Seems like when you hit the cymbal if you just slipped them over the rack pipes, they would move from the vibration.


    3 years ago

    This is brilliant! I'm in the process of planning my own complete build of an electronic drum set and I've been stuck on what to do for the cymbals. Thanks for the inspiration!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    @tomatoskins: Also consider plastic "practice" cymbals -- with some creative cutting and mounting, one 12-14" plastic practice cymbal can become 3 120' wedges like all good electronic drumkits should have :)


    3 years ago

    Nice instructable! Good idea and implementation.


    3 years ago

    Great job! Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this! Nice instructable!!

    1 reply