Fabric Your Drum Machine




Introduction: Fabric Your Drum Machine


It's a drum machine fabricated in a piece of fabric. It's an exploration in soft circuit and new instrument. I wanna create a new drum machine that helps musicians (users) break through their habits to create music.

This drum machine is a brainstorming tool for musicians to create new sequence patterns quickly for their creations. Besides knobbing each modules to trigger sounds, they also can switch the modules for making new sequence.

For the technology part, there are 4 potentiometers and 1 press sensor cooperating through Lilypad Arduino. Each potentiometer connects the main circuit by magnet. Arduino can send signals to GarageBand for creating sounds. This drum machine can loop sequence of sounds. By knobbing potentiometers, it can change different sounds in each position for creating new sequence patterns. By pressing press sensor, it can switch the 4 sounds to another 4 sounds. We even can pull potentiometers out from the main circuit and put them back to different positions for making new sequences. So it can help us create more different sequences for fresh music.


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Step 1: Circuit and Code

Follow the circuit and upload the code. The code is here,


For connecting your drum machine with GarageBand, you also need another software, Serial-MIDI Converter. You can download it from here,


Step 2: Test Before Fabricating

I suggest test it on breadboard before fabricating it on fabric.

Step 3: Fabricate the Circuit in Your Way

You can use conductive thread to build the circuit. I laid conductive threads on the fabric and use regular thread to fix them. And I also use conductive fabric for the joints.

Step 4: Make Potentiometer Modules

I bought some craft material from 99 cent store for making potentiometer modules and their holds. I wrapped magnet by fabric. and put them in modules and holds. You can use conductive thread to link potentiometers. But for better connection, I used conductive tape (copper tape) instead. And I also stick copper tape on the conductive fabrics for better connections.

Step 5: Make Press Sensor

You need two pieces of fabric (I used felt) and one piece of velostat. Then use copper tape to make two nets. And put the velostat between these two nets. The connection is through this piece of velosat. You can consider it as a changeable resistance. Wen you press, more electricity will pass. When you done, link it to the main circuit.

Step 6: Seal It

Finally you can use a piece of fabric to cover the whole circuit. And cut holes for connecting potentiometer modules.

Step 7: Play With Epic Electro

When you done, plug in the drum machine to your computer. Open Serial-MIDI Converter, link it. Then you can play with your drum machine. You can also choose other instruments for playing.

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    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    This is great. You could put these sensor in just about anything.