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Membrane edge switches for DIY Cymbals

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  • Membrane edge switches for DIY Cymbals

    Hey guys, long time no speak (like 5+ years... haha)

    Anyway I'm messaging because I am getting some custom sized membrane switches produced for my DIY cymbals (I built some crazy luminous green visulite homebrews!), and wondering if anyone else wants any membrane switches whilst I'm at it? They are built to be very similar to the Roland ones in the CY-15, allowing edge triggering from a wafer thing membrane switch. They are professionally made flexible PCB construction, not some home made tat!

    The sizes I am looking at presently are (EDIT: SEE BELOW REPLIES ON THIS TOPIC - SIZES + PRICES CHANGED!):

    18 inch
    15 inch
    14 inch
    12 inch

    I will probably amalgamate 14 and 15 inch membrane into a 14.5 inch or something, as each mold costs me approx 180 USD.

    Anyway, prices will be approx. 15USD for 12 inch, up to 24USD for an 18 inch. Each switch is 90 degree arc shaped (so 2 if you wanted a full 180 degree Roland choke area, or 1 if you just want a standard width as on a Pintech).

    Post on this topic if you are interested so I can get an idea of numbers! If we get a LOT of people interested (over 50) then the price will drop drastically!
    Last edited by Myrk-; 06-19-17, 12:58 PM.

  • #2
    I'd be interested!

    I need membrane switches to do DIY snare and toms with my Yamaha module. So, I guess it would be something like one 14, two 12, two 13 and one 15 to try a DIY ride.
    DTX700, A2E Dixon kit, Yamaha cymbals, FSR HH Kit Pix

    My new venture:


    • #3
      Hi, interesting project.

      I'm curious as to how you intend to use these with the cymbals. Some years ago I bought a few of these switches and ran into serious difficulty when figuring out how to place them on the cymbal and get reliable triggering. You can't just plonk them on the edge of a cymbal and expect them to work. If you look at commercial cymbals, the plastic part under the rubber is recessed all around the edge where the switch goes. The rubber cover then has a ridge that presses into the switch when you hit the edge. It's not enough to just put the switch on the edge of a regular cymbal and then cover it with rubber or whatever because when you strike a cymbal on the edge, you're only hitting the very edge - to activate the switch you'd have to almost hit it horizontally, and even then it's hard to trigger reliably, not to mention that you need a fairly thick layer of rubber if you want the switches to last.

      I imagine (hope!) that if you're about to drop several hundred $ on getting custom switches made you have a design you're confident in - I just wanted to tell you about my experience with them. At first glance they may seem to be the panacea to easily replicate commercial cymbals, but they also require a careful design of the cymbal to get them to work properly. Mine ended up in a drawer.
      MegaDrum module, DIY A2E pads, DIY hall effect 3 zone hi hat, DIY 1, 2 & 3 zone cymbals, DIY kick beater triggers on DIY modded longboard, direct drive pedals, DIY triple driver IEMs, El Cheapo Buttkicker. Various VSTs running in a tweaked Linux Mint. Kit pics thread


      • #4
        Indeed ignotus! The easiest manner is to put a small piece of card around the trigger, then have another thin piece of card or rubber on the underside of the rubber strike surface that also goes right up to the edge, and even over it slightly, to create a large contact area. I did some tests a while ago using tin foil and double sided tape and card mounding - worked really well, but the home made membrane switches don't stand the test of time so well. These membrane switches are only about 1mm thick so thin card can create a mound up to the membrane (an artificial recess). I'm doing my first test run in the new year and can post some pics.

        Just curious, where did you find arc shaped membrane switches? I've scoured the entire internet and never found any - even the chinese parts of the internet!
        Last edited by Myrk-; 12-15-15, 09:15 AM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by perceval View Post
          So, I guess it would be something like one 14, two 12, two 13 and one 15 to try a DIY ride.
          I will probably only do a 12 and 18 in the first run... tooling costs for each type is 180 USD... so I need to have a lot of people buying them here or on ebay before I can expand the selection.


          • #6
            I found them purely by chance on a website that acts as an intermediary to buy things on Taobao (kind of a Chinese ebay). Here's a thread I started about them: , though the link to the switches is dead. Note that a few other members also bought some and not a single one came back to report on whether they worked out for them. The switches themselves worked fine, but I suspect others ran into the same difficulties I did.
            MegaDrum module, DIY A2E pads, DIY hall effect 3 zone hi hat, DIY 1, 2 & 3 zone cymbals, DIY kick beater triggers on DIY modded longboard, direct drive pedals, DIY triple driver IEMs, El Cheapo Buttkicker. Various VSTs running in a tweaked Linux Mint. Kit pics thread


            • #7

              Long time I haven't wrote here, but I still have a look from time to time and cymbals project are always interesting to me.
              I bought the cheap 10 inches membran switch pointed by ignotus and it worked perfect for me. It was the last time I tried to make a DIY cymbal. My main problem with palstic cymbal has ever been the rubber cover. I've never found some good covering which gave decent noise level and good looking, so I definitly stop trying to make DIY cymbals from plastic (I've never tried brass cymbals because of noise). I bought a set of roland silver cymbals.
              I really like the idea to have 18 inches industrial membran switches as they should be extremely reliable, it almost make me think to make one 18" ride. If you found a really good way to cover a cymbal with low noise level, let me know.


              • #8
                Ignotus - I saw them a long time ago, but they looked more like they were for old sk00l electronics rather than the industrial style that roland uses.

                Sylv1co - I'm working on that at the moment... I need to find a supplier of 1mm thick Satoprene rubber. Combine that sheeting over a soft foam rubber about 1/8 inch thick and it works really well! Took me a while of testing different rubbers and foams, but luckily living in central Hong Kong I have access to some pretty bizarre street vendors of industrial type stuff. I'm almost complete with my homebrew luminous green visulite cymbals, but need the edge triggers! Also just got the parts to try building a hi hat trigger like your old youtube vid! What resistor did you use for the circuit on a roland kit in the end? :P


                • #9
                  I don't know if this would work, but would cost little money to try.
                  Hack one of these, and see if you can cut the separate shapes, and use them as a separate membrane switch for each cymbal. I would suspect the wiring might be difficult to separate?


                  • #10
                    Yer you can't just hack apart a membrane switch - it often causes it to make permanent contact and fail. I know there are some other membrane switch items about - Sparkfun used to sell a membrane switch material that you could cut to any shape, but I hear it was pretty crap stuff... it's not gunna give you the reliability that everyone is looking for!

                    Just as a heads up peeps I am making some changes to the membrane switches to accommodate the 3D curvature of a cymbal (slight adjustment), centering the output from the membrane (was previously on the side), and also working on trying to get all the membrane switches printed in 1 sheet so I don't have to spend US$180 for each size! Let's hope it works... then we will have 5 sizes of membrane available as well as a bell membrane that can be used to add a bell trigger to any cymbal (CY-15 style).

                    When I get some word from the factory in China I'll update you all!


                    • #11
                      Update: Membrane switches have all been confirmed and paid for! 7 different sizes total (2 of which are bell membrane triggers). Should hopefully get the 1st batch in about 2 weeks, and assuming all good I can start selling immediately after full testing! I can sell a "sheet" for a discounted price compared with individual membranes - prices to come shortly!


                      • #12
                        Factory has finished the job! Will begin testing next week and will start selling as soon as all good! Can't wait, people can finally build proper DIY cymbals without having to go to crazy lengths to make it choke or get an edge hit! Stay posted!


                        • #13
                          Awesome. Very interested in this.


                          • #14
                            Initial testing is producing a surprisingly fantastic trigger response! Choking as expected - edge triggering yet to be tested fully. It's late here now so I'll be making the strike surface and doing the final testing tomorrow!
                            Last edited by Myrk-; 03-29-16, 12:34 PM.


                            • #15
                              Picture above is from a 14" acrylic cymbal with a 340 edge trigger (looks warped but its just the proximity of the lens to the cymbal).

                              Model / Size listing:

                              Edge-440 / 18"
                              Edge-380 / 16"
                              Edge-340 / 14"
                              Edge-280 / 12"
                              Edge-160 / 7"or 8" (for splashes or huge ride bells)

                              Bell-Small / Standard bell size
                              Bell-Large / Large bell size (for 18"+ rides)

                              I need to confirm, but from preliminary testing it appears that due to the slight bend allowance an 18" can be used for a 17" cymbal, 16" for a 15" cymbal, etc. If this is your intent (to use on a cymbal with and odd numbered diameter then please ask me to test this further!)
                              I can do a bundle set of 1 of each size (+1 large bell, total 2) for 35USD. For large orders (10+) please query.

                              Each is a 90 degree arc. They can be chained together to give 180 / 270 / 360 degrees coverage for both the edge triggers and the bell triggers, and can be placed over curved surfaces without inhibiting trigger functionality. If used as just a choke then the trigger can be mounted wherever (including under playing surfaces, assuming not too crazy thick). If using as an edge trigger and choke then it must be mounted within 2mm of the edge of the cymbal at the centre, and using a small strip of 1/2mm or 1mm thick sticky back foam tape will give the lift required for edge triggering. There are many other methods you can try including using half cut hosing around the edge (which when hit triggers into the channel), or even similar to Rolands cymbals where they integrate the raised trigger strip into the cymbal rubber. Heads up I have not fully tested the bell triggers yet. By tested I mean implemented, aggressively attacked, bent, etc the trigger in an in-situ cymbal environment. Physically they are the same construction as the other membranes so technically will trigger fine.

                              I will very shortly create a document about installation, including sizes (I will create a PDF for people to download and print at A3 to be able to cut out and see the size, and also for template creation depending on your installation method). Of course I will give full email support to anyone to make sure everyone gets their DIY 2/3 zone chokable cymbals up and running!

                              For those not comfortable in wiring, or if wiring cymbals seems daunting, I am working on releasing a more layman friendly ready made trigger box with single or dual output (for rides) stereo jack, braided cable, and ultra mini project box (the smallest you've ever seen!) with hot connector for the membrane trigger. Basically you just need an old practice cymbal and it will convert it into a fully functioning dual zone. I am also open to entertaining requests for building visulite cymbals for people in any size except a china that I haven't worked out yet (assuming Pintech don't sue me, but I'm pretty sure their patent was for lights beaming through the material from a central light column, rather than acrylic as a material full stop).

                              Shipping costs to be worked out shortly (I can't bend the triggers, but shipping is same for 1 as it is for 20). I live in Hong Kong so I'm pretty sure it's just going to be international postage (which is surprisingly cheap if I remember correctly from here to the rest of the world).

                              Please go to classifieds post for purchasing!:

                              Last edited by Myrk-; 06-09-16, 03:56 PM.