Portable Electronic Drum Kit Made From Plastic Bowls


[Ian Cole’s] son is learning to play the drums on an electronic drum set, and he wanted a way to continue practicing during his frequent visits to his grandparents’ house. [Ian] had picked up a Spikenzielabs “Drum Kit Kit All-Inclusive” (DKKAI) earlier this summer, and set out to build an easily transportable drum set.

The DKKAI comes with an ATmega168-based board and a set of piezos that can be used to register hits. It was up to [Ian] to provide the rest of the kit, so he set off to IKEA in search of cheap, durable drum heads. He returned with a handful of 1/2 Liter plastic bowls, which he mounted on a PVC pipe drum stand.

The piezos were mounted on thin aluminum discs, which were in turn glued to the back side of the bowl lids. The piezos were wired to the DKKAI kit via the PVC tubing, with the signals ultimately fed into an iPad running Garage Band. [Ian] says that his portable drum set works quite well, and although there are some things that require changing, his son is very happy with his new practice set.

Check out the video below to see the portable drum kit in action.


13 thoughts on “Portable Electronic Drum Kit Made From Plastic Bowls

    1. From the article :
      Note: the camera picks up the harshness of the sticks on the plastic much more than the amplified drum sounds. In person, you could hear the GarageBand drum sounds much more than the plastic hits, although we know we need to dampen the plastic hit sound ASAP.

    1. I recognized those metal disks from a SpikenzieLabs tutorial for their drum kit kits. Nice build, by the way.

      Just curious if you experimented at all with “metal discs” created from CDs and CD-Rs?

      CDs would seem a ready source of rigid material, and an experiment I want to try when I build the spikenzielabs circuit.

  1. We took the drum kit to FamiLAB, Orlando’s hackerspace, tonight to show it off. He had a great time demonstrating the kit and thought it was really awesome that people kept saying “we saw it on hack a day today!” I also looked at the real sound deadening drum mats today at the music store – they were much cheaper than I expected, so I may cut a large one into 6 smaller pads for dampening…

    1. Hi Anthony,

      The latency is nearly undetectable. We did some ‘somewhat’ unscientific tests, where we recorded the sound of the drumstick hitting the pad, followed by the sample played by the connected synth, and looked at the waveform in our sound software. We were really impressed.

      We then set up the Drum Kit Kit AI for a friend of ours who is a pro drummer. We got the “Cool…Hey thats alright man” and that was good enough for us!

      We demo these at Maker Faire San Mateo & MFNY every year, come on by and try it out if you’re around.



Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.