Portable/ghetto Digital/electronic Drum Set-up Slash/slash





Introduction: Portable/ghetto Digital/electronic Drum Set-up Slash/slash

i recently re-did this project in a MUCH more professional looking way.

check it out!
video on the last page...

ok so geekboxjockey already made a great instructable for a digital drum set at
but i don't have the room for a full set, plus i want something portable for when i finally get up the guts to go busking. so i made this heap

hey if anyone reads this, can you PLEASE comment? it's my first real instructable so i'm really wanting to know how to make it better or if it's good as it is.
thank you
oh and if you make one post a picture! i'd love to see what you smarty pants make out of this.

Step 1: Necessities

you will need:
-a drum module. this is the big buy. i got mine used for 150, and supposedly you can get specs to make one on-line but i'm an idiot when it comes to circuitry so i just bought mine. i reccomend the dm5 because it's cheap but NEVER use the internal sounds. just run it into a computer and use ezdrummer

as many of these items as you want pads. aka 5 pads=5 piezos:

-some mouse pads. mine have this weird hard top on them with really heinous lenticular images on them, but i assume normal ones will work too.

-some piezo transducers from radio shack. #273-073. call ahead, alot of them don't stock many of them

-1/4" jacks, also from radioshack. i don't know the number for those, but they're easy to find and plentiful. GET MONO!


-an exacto knife that you're not particularly fond of

-wire strippers


-a piece of wood

-kneeling board for gardening

Step 2: Piezo Party!

ok so grab a piezo and open it up. i actually found an easy way to do this finally.

grab the piezo and push hard on the side with the label. this break the glue seal. then stick your xacto in between that lid piece and the edge and pop it out. then stick your blade through the whole on the other side and push against the piezo inside all around in a circle and it should pop out.

you should be left with little gold discs with wires coming off them.

Step 3: Connectification

now take your little piezos and attach them to your 1/4" jacks.

attach the black to the ring and the red to the tip. basically look at the two spots on the jack that you can attach and the one that connects to the big piece that comes off the back is the tip. it makes sense when you look at it. if you need more clarification ask.

Step 4: Now Cut Up Those Mice

now you cut up the mouse pads.
i kind of drummed on the piece of wood for a minute to see what size and shape pads i wanted. and then disregarded all of that and just cut out some crappy rectangles.

then you smash the threaded side of the 1/4" jacks on to the mouse pad to make a little indent, and then cut out a whole roughly that size. now stick the jack through and tighten the bolt on the other side to hold it in place

Step 5: Now Tape the Piezos Down

now you place the piezo where you want it gold side down and tape it. i'm sure you could glue it or something fancy but whatever. i know this works so i will endorse it.

Step 6: Tape It Up Like a Mummy

do all that as many times as you need and then tape them to the piece of wood.
hook 'em up
rock out.

this project could easily be used as a hand drum set up, or used to trigger samples, or for firewood!

do it on a skate deck and be the illest bomb to ever drop!

Step 7: Other Stuff

i would reccomend getting some wire (any kind works) and 1/4" male components and making cables for each pad, rather than buying them since they're mighty expensive. also with this set up the cords all come off the top and if you make them out of wire they'll be more flexible.

i'm going to try and get some L brackets that the jacks will fit through so that the cords will go out sideways instead of up

for a kick drum i just tape a piezo to the floor still in the plastic container and it works pretty well.

i doubt anyone will read this or care, but if anyone wants i can upload a video of me playing mine.
sorry it's not the most useful instruct, but someone might dig it right?



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    20 Discussions

    ok lemme get this strait, you piezos AND piezo transducers?

    Hey tailortrik, on your site and at least one other you both glue the piezo to a metal disk. Gnargnar doesn't do that with his; what does it do exactly? (I'm guessing it make the piezo "bigger" but I'm probably wrong).

    mostly I think you are right. The piezo is too small to pick up all of the parts of the drum head. I find that to get the most accurate hit all over the pad it is beneficial to add a metal disk. I used sheet metal, its not too hard to come by.

    Thanks tailortrik. I will definitely put them on to disks. That's if I can get the little buggers out of their casing. They seem to be glued in tight :( I wonder if I could soak them in hot water to melt the glue.

    Don't like the water idea, eh? :) We don't really have Radioshack here (Australia), we do have Tandy's which I think is related somehow. Anyway, I have different piezos to the ones above. I didn't think it would really matter and just went for some cheapies. I'm now suspecting that wasn't the wisest thing to do :)

    Thanks tailortrik. I'll include it in my design then. My idea is to have the pads on a coffee-table sized top that can be angled. There will also be two foot pedals that would basically be triangular wedges with triggers on them that are activated by foot tapping. It wouldn't look like a drum kit but wouldn't take up very much space either.

    ok, (if you plan to use a DM5) your hi-hat will work with a simple switch, the DM5 uses a push button switch to change the hi-hat noise. I would highly recommend using a conventional bass drum petal. You will get a cleaner feel then with anything homemade.

    Thanks gnargnar. That is a fantastic and inspirational instructable. I have an old electric drum kit at a friend's house that is too big to set up at my place. You've given me some great ideas for making something compact but powerful that I can use.

    I'd love to see their "feel" and how they handle the pressure from your hands! Could they be beaten with a stick too, or would that be too much for the piezos? Great stuff you built! :)

    RADIO SHACK???? How much do you pay for those? I get mine from Electronic Goldmine 3 for $1. They're already out of the case (naked); all you have to do is solder a couple of wires on it. It's not that hard; the piezos are pretty much unaffected by heat. Still, don't just heat them for the fun of it-but on second thought it may be an interesting experiment, but you may lose the piezo. Good luck. DrThousand

    1 reply

    i know they're everywhere, but for me, and i think alot of people, most projects are very spur of the moment so i listed the numbers for radioshack so people can just run down the street and get started. but 3 for a buck is a great deal if people want to plan ahead, for sure.

    Oh, why not? I don't think it's too important to get the polarity right-I would try to ground the "gold" side, but I' don't think you'd notice if we got it wrong, not with digital. If I were building it, I wouldn't go to the expense of 1/4" jacks; just wire the things maybe to a plug or even have the voicing circuit right under the drum head. Then you can come out with a shielded cable (maybe with RCA plugs, which are much cheaper than phone plugs.) and go to the mixer. (Likely a cheapo of my own design.) I have been thinking for some time of making one myself, but I won't use the computer, just a couple of twin T circuits, several T's per drum. This won't sound much like real drums, but if wanted real drums, I would hit real drums. Maybe try to make something that sounds like hitting pipes or hollow trees, or just accept the sound I from my circuit. That's the way things were originally designed. "Oh, that's DrT. I recognize his log!" I think the important part is the multiple twin T's per drum. They are tunable. You'd likely get a "phasing" kind of sound from the T's not being in sync. Oh yes, see the DIY drum kick in the sidebar to the right. I bet you could build a piezo version even easier than the one they show there. Luv ya!

    would this same idea work with a PS2 controller so i can play drums with guitar hero 3

    well.... would you please upload a video of it? it would be greatly appreciated. thank you

    Yea you should definently get a video of this up and id like to see the bass drum. i broke my back and lost use of my ankles and im going to do something like this so i can kick with my heel good work

    You should definitely upload a video of you playing it!