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My DIY kit journey

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  • My DIY kit journey

    Hi, after many years of tinkering, tweaking, changing, undoing, re-doing, making, remaking, testing, discarding, swearing at, packing into boxes, unpackaging, setting up again and gradually rebuilding my kit, I thought I'd post a few pics of the end result. It's got to a point where it plays great and looks ok, so, for now, after 10 years, I'm going to declare it FINISHED.
    As others will know well, the DIY route can be tricky as hell, especially if you set out to make all the pads and electronics DIY. Up until recently I had an acoustic kit that I could play on, so building the ekit was more of a pastime than something I could actually use for practising or playing, but then I had to sell the A kit. So I decided to get my act together and do a proper job of finishing the ekit to make it enjoyable to play without being endlessly annoyed about how this or that wasn't really working properly.

    Anyway, here's an ancient pic of the first incarnation of the kit, from about 10 years ago:

    It was hideously ugly, simple and triggered terribly. But with very scarce knowledge about electronics I had managed to build Admir's eDrum module and was quite proud of that.

    Then I bought some mesh heads (the previous ones were fibre glass mesh) and re-did the cymbals. This version actually triggered fairly well, but the PVC rack was very wobbly and overall it felt a bit like a toy.

    It then went into storage for a few years after I moved houses. When I unpacked it again I decided to get a proper rack and jumped on a b-stock offer by Thomann. I also made some 2 and 3 zone cymbals, added a fully-working hi hat stand I found in a skip (!), a noise-reduction platform, built a Megadrum module and wrapped the shells in carbon fibre vinyl. It was a significant improvement, but the kit just looked very dull and too dark with nearly everything black, like something Darth Vader would play, and I wasn't very fond of the 8" toms; I found them just a bit too small for my liking.

    So the final stage was to get a 10" tom, cut it in half and make a couple of toms to replace the 8" ones. I made heads for them with 3 layers of silkscreen mesh. They're ever so slightly bouncier than a Roland head but far, far quieter and triggering is fine. I decided to re-wrap all the shells with a wood vinyl and I revamped the module with a new, much larger screen, a new aluminium faceplate and some fancy backlit metal buttons. I also re-made the kick: I had a cheap old bongo lying around and an extra clamp on the rack. I made some beater triggers, each going to its own input for better control over each one, and filled the bongo with several layers of different density foams, finished off with fabric from a t-shirt held in place with a ring of rubber. Works great.

    So, here are some pics of the "finished" version:
    kit side.jpg

    Detail of module and kick pad:
    module and kick.jpg

    Detail of how I attach the shells to the rack clamp arms:

    The clamp arm goes inside the shell, making it more discreet. All you can see on the outside are a couple of bolts.

    So there's my journey. I've spent more time playing on the kit during the last 10 weeks than during the previous 10 years... I'm still a terrible player but at least now I can get on with playing instead of continuously fixing and fiddling with stuff.

    Hope I didn't bore anyone and maybe some can pick up ideas - feel free to ask!
    Last edited by ignotus; 05-04-16, 11:47 AM.

  • #2
    As an avid DIYer, I approve of this thread. And, despite not being an ace drummer (far from it), to me, fixing/improving/toying around with whatever (drums, Tools, cars, etc...) is all part of the experience.
    Roland TD-15 w/ V Expressions Evolution and Icons packs
    4 toms
    3 cymbals
    Pearl Eliminator P2002C double pedal


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hugo L. View Post
      As an avid DIYer, I approve of this thread. And, despite not being an ace drummer (far from it), to me, fixing/improving/toying around with whatever (drums, Tools, cars, etc...) is all part of the experience.
      Yep, I've had lots of fun building the kit over the years and I've learned a lot - but it got to a point where I wanted to put the damn thing to use once and for all and stop just tinkering around with it!


      • #4
        Now that is what I call a DIY kit, bravo my man!

        Really cool to see the evolution of your knowledge and efforts, and we all get to share it ;-)


        • #5
          [QUOTE]['m going to declare it/QUOTE]

          i don't think we can ever say a DIY kit is finished. I prefer to say.... almost there!

          Good job, happy drumming
          DTX700, A2E Dixon kit, Yamaha cymbals, FSR HH
          Kit Pix

          My new venture, HiEnd Speakers. :


          • #6
            Maybe we just hope to get to the stage where you spend at least as much time playing as tinkering, fixing and tweaking?

            Or at the very least, you put in a solid hour of playing time without even thinking about the electronics you're using.


            • #7
              Cheers guys.

              Yes Perceval, you're right: it will never, ever be completely finished... In fact, I already have the parts necessary to redo the hi hat cymbal and the current one will become another crash... However, by "finished", I mean it's reached a point where I can stop adding stuff/messing around, and it performs the way I want it. Up until now most work put into it was "fixing" it, and now anything I do would be "enhancing" it. Sure, things will need repairing once in a while, but the major difference is that now I play with a smile on my face instead of a frown. Like Jonts says, the goal was to be able to play for 1 or 2 hours without constantly fiddling with the module or the pads, endlessly trying to fix poor triggering or dynamics. I realise I'd set myself a tough goal by wanting to make all the electronics DIY and refusing to buy an off-the-shelf module, pads or triggers - but it's been fun and I don't regret it!


              • #8
                Thanks for sharing your awesome kit. Please could you explain how you mounted the shells to the frame. I just converted an acoustic snare to electric.I removed the bottom head, the snare wires and the side clip. I was going to just put it on a snare stand, but I'd prefer to attach it to the roland TD6 rack if I can. It's a 14" snare so it's not exactly light.


                • #9

                  I use cable clamps, but then again my pads are only 10". I wouldn't really recommend them in your case, because you'd probably need to use 2 for better stability, and for that you'd need to drill 4 fairly large holes in the shell. I think a snare stand is a much better option, and if you really want to hang it off the rack, you could also use a tom leg rosette.


                  • #10
                    Wow, please tell me more about your module!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheJay View Post
                      Wow, please tell me more about your module!
                      There's not really much to say - the module was originally fully DIY, an ABS box, 16x2 LCD and the circuit painstakingly assembled on perforated board, but a few years ago I bought a 'minimal' kit from Dmitri and swapped the boards out. I do use a bigger screen than what he sells though; I think his go up to 2.4" and mine is 2.8". I see you can even buy 3.2" screens with the same resolution and driver so in theory you could use those too.


                      • #12
                        It looks awesome, is Dimitri from MegaDrum?


                        • #13
                          Yeah, he runs the show.