Wednesday, 19 September 2012

D.I.Y. 4 Pad Electronic Drum Unit

At last, I've finally got the prototype electronic drum pad unit built, and very pleased I am with it I can tell you.

I've wanted an electronic drum kit for some time now and quite simply, I couldn't afford one. So, not being one that's easily deterred, I decided to take the D.I.Y. route - if you follow this blog, you may remember my mishaps earlier this year with the first drum pad I put together, using a book and a mouse-mat. I sat down with my son Callum (who will be getting the most use of the thing) and we drew up a basic design. I gathered the bits and pieces and away we went.

The basic materials used were the usual piezo transducers (sort of mini-microphone things), 1/4" jack sockets, gaffer tape (marvellous stuff), 8 cork-backed table mats (from Asda - £4 for a pack of 4) and wood from an old broken down wardrobe. yes, gaffer tape, table mats and a wardrobe.

I cut the wood to size to create a base to go onto an X-type keyboard stand and a surface on which to mount the pads (place mats). After I extended the wires on the piezos, I put one between two table mats and taped them into place - they were taped to the pattern side and not the cork side as I wanted the cork to act as a cushion on the pad surface on one side and to give a better playing surface on the other side. I then gaffer taped these to the pad surface and fed the extended wires through the pad surface. 1/4" jackets were soldered to the ends of the wires to allow connection to my Alesis DM5 drum module.

I plugged the unit into the DM5 and it worked!!! See the vid below ;-)

As I said at the beginning, this unit is a prototype and the "MK II" version will have a slightly different framework as well as better wire channelling. Also, the pads will be bolted onto the pad surface - gaffer tape is great for the studio and the prototype, but I doubt it would last too long on stage under warm lights. plus it looks crap :-D

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