Design your drumkit

After some experimenting, I found a few objects which made relatively interesting percussion sounds when tapped - namely:

  • Matcha cans
  • Small Pyrex bowl
  • Plastic shot glass + beads

The Pyrex bowl was ready to use a cymbal without any modification, but the matcha can and shot glass shaker would need a little creative engineering.

To get a lower tone from my matcha can, I attached an adhesive rubber bumpon/foot to the bottom surface.  I noticed I could lower the sound even further by removing the can's lid and positioning it a few millimeters away from the can itself. It's no 808 kick, but it will serve as a relatively low tone in my setup.

To complement the can kick drum, I'll also use an extra can lid as a standalone stick/click drum.

For a shaker, I used a clear plastic shot glass and poured in some plastic beads. A small amount of dry rice/couscous/candy bits could work too, just be sure whatever shaking medium you use is light. The small 5V solenoid will struggle to push heavier objects.

Platform

To hold all the drums and solenoids in place, I pulled a piece of 9"x11" scrap wood from my junk bin. The solenoids needed to be raised up a bit from the board in order to hit the sweet spots on my drums - a 3/4" square dowel works well for this. I cut the dowel to match the length of the board and glued it down, leaving it clamped overnight to cure.

Mounting the solenoids

feather_boards_screw-mount1.jpg

feather_boards_screw-mount2.jpg

Each solenoid is held in place using screws & washers - which makes repositioning and small adjustments easy. I marked the ideal position for each solenoid, and partially screwed in the scew/washers on each side (~18mm apart) of the solenoids future home. I then slid the solenoids in between the screws and secured them in place so the washers act as clamps.

For a different take on solenoid mounting, check out the LEGO compatible mounts in this episode of John Park's Workshop.

To keep things tidy - all solenoid wires are held in place with hot glue. Hot glue is a good thing.

Be careful using hot glue - the glue gun tip and the glue itself may cause burns when hot.

Mounting the drums

feather_boards_glue-mount1.jpg

feather_boards_glue-mount2.jpg

I experimented with different drum positions by firing a solenoid repeatedly and holding the drum at different distances. Once I found a good spot, I secured the drum in place with generous amounts of hot glue

feather_boards_shaker1.jpg

feather_boards_shaker2.jpg

I attached the shaker directly to the solenoid's piston/pin with hot glue. The weight of the shot glass & beads can slow down the solenoid if the glass drags against the wood too much - adding a single washer below the shaker helped to ensure it moved smoothly.

This guide was first published on Sep 09, 2018. It was last updated on Sep 09, 2018. This page (Design your drumkit) was last updated on Jun 11, 2019.