Finger Drum

Discussions related to MegaDrum Hardware

Finger Drum

Postby RayF » Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:08 am

I posted this on another thread and thought it might be better to post it separate:

Greetings, newbie here (and definitely electronics challenged),

I was sent to this site via the Vdrum discussion board. I asked for help regarding a device I made for a finger drum. I was using a TrapKat. Then tried the Zendrum laptop model. Because of developing back problems, I was hoping the laptop would be a blessing. I sent it back for a refund.

I then set out to build my own finger drum. It has 45 piezo triggers. I have problems with crosstalk (trigger vibration/isolation), and with 45 wires going out to three modules it was ridiculous. Actually, the mods only accept a total of 37 inputs so I have dormant triggers on my device.

I began seeking someone/company who could suggest help with isolation problems and also, more importantly, coming up with a simple midi board that would eliminate the 45 patch cords and allow me to have two or three midi connectors which would go out to my modules (Roland TD20, Alesis DM Pro and DM5).

I've been given some ideas on finger trigger design and certainly more are welcome, but was also sent here to check out the mega drum.

Ultimately I would like to have a rig that enables me to have 72 triggers so I can get closer to reproducing my acoustic set up. I am NOT electronically verbal. Half the terms and words here are right over my head. But, this seems as good a place as I can find for some assistance.

Question - With a completed Mega drum midi board, can two three of these be inserted into a device I make, with outgoing midi connectors for my sound modules? I don't need bells and whistles. I'd rather make changes at the sound module level, not my finger drum device. I want to keep things as simple and basic as possible.

Any advice appreciated, thanks,
Ray
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby dmitri » Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:07 am

RayF wrote:Question - With a completed Mega drum midi board, can two three of these be inserted into a device I make, with outgoing midi connectors for my sound modules? I don't need bells and whistles. I'd rather make changes at the sound module level, not my finger drum device. I want to keep things as simple and basic as possible.

Yes, you can combine 3 MegaDrum boards. The only problem I see is how good/bad piezos are isolated from each other physically.
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby Synthex » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:41 am

dmitri wrote:The only problem I see is how good/bad piezos are isolated from each other physically.

By large pieces of foam under piezos ...
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby RayF » Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:48 pm

Well, as the unit was made, it is 45" wide x 18" deep. I used small soup cans, cut down to a couple inches in height. They are set up in arch patterns, with a larger can in the center for my 'snare.'

Piezos are affixed to the can tops, and the cans are packed with foam. The cans go through holes cut in 1/4" oak plywood slightly larger than the can. The hole is lined with foam weatherstripping. The cans rest on 1/2" thick dense rug padding which is on another piece of 1/4" plywood.

The piezo wires slip through a small hole into an open chamber where the wires then run to their dedicated jacks. The wires are all taped down to the bottom of the unit, another 1/4" piece of plywood. The unit is 4.5" high and wrapped in sheet metal, which is screwed to blocks on the perimeter. The whole thing is spray painted and lacquered. Looks okay. Just doesn't function right.

Somehow when I tap on a can close ones fire off, too frequently. Not sure where the vibration is coming from.

I got a 'poker chip trigger' idea from the Vdrum board, which may work much better than my cans. Any other ideas for finger sized triggers and isolation would be appreciated.

It was also suggested I use FSRs for triggering, which is better, but a whole lot more expensive.
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby Bluebass » Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:38 pm

Hi Ray,

I made my MegaZen drum using a 25 mm diameter piece of closed cell/semi rigid packing foam hot glued to a wood base that has counter bored holes at 30 mm diameter, then a piezo on top of that and covered with a soda bottle/power drink cap painted black. The cap is hot glued and twisted on to the foam piezo sandwich.

Worked great. My unit has 27 triggers.
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby RayF » Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:07 pm

That sounds interesting. What exactly is the foam you used? I might know what it is but not quite by your description.

What did you do with the piezo wires? Is the cap pressed down touching the wire, or is it channeled somewhere to keep it free from being touched by anything.

Hey, if you can, post or send me a picture.

Thanks alot.
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby sumpm1 » Sun Mar 09, 2008 10:37 am

Bluebass wrote:I made my MegaZen drum using a 25 mm diameter piece of closed cell/semi rigid packing foam hot glued to a wood base that has counter bored holes at 30 mm diameter, then a piezo on top of that and covered with a soda bottle/power drink cap painted black. The cap is hot glued and twisted on to the foam piezo sandwich.
Worked great. My unit has 27 triggers.


Hey Bluebass that sounds excellent. But for those who don't know what ZenDrum is, check out the link. But for those of us that DO know what ZenDrum is... How can you just leave us hanging with slight details about your working DIY ZenDrum???!!! Give us links to any project pages or threads. And give us more details with pics, come on thats what forums are for. I want a ZenDrum SO BAD. My friends would DIE if they saw something like that, especially running on all diy hardware and a laptop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNCSvYbQR6I
http://www.zendrum.com/index.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCw2Sxuo ... re=related
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby RayF » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:07 am

Depending on the type of drummer your are, I'd think twice about a Zendrum. I was greatly disappointed with its inability to track fast patterns and rudiments. It just will not do it. You have to use two triggers for flams, etc. It is not worth the expense if you employ intricate playing patterns.
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby Bluebass » Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:01 pm

Sumpm1: Sorry about the lack of detail - I not very good at documenting- but I'll try to post pictures today. Feel free to ask questions or wait for me to make the time to describe it in another post
I too wanted a Zendrum, but couldn't justify the expense. So I just made one. It's actually easier to craft than the e drum trap kit.
Ray: I don't know the type of foam - I got some scraps from the shipping department where I work. I'll look into that also. As for drum rolls, I paralleled 2 snare piezos and located them one for the left hand and one for the right hand on the Mega Zen, now I can use two fingers to roll or flam. Additionally, I programmed my snare rim channel to be a snare head so now I can roll all day long with a total of 3 fingers performing the roll.
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Re: Finger Drum

Postby RayF » Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:23 pm

Looking forward to seeing the pictures.
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