Down the rabbit hole: attempting super low cost pancake kit

Frank

Gold Member
Thought I would share some of this for your possible entertainment value.

I have had the thought to attempt to assemble a very low cost pancake kit. Note that DW's pancake kit is 900 USD.

What you see in the picture is: a 20 dollar frame drum shell, with a good drum head and a drum rim, using frame drum tuners.

Bearing edges aren't cut yet, and it already sounds good. After bearing edges, I'm sure it will be better.

I don't have concerns about the strength of the shell, especially the way I play. My biggest concern at this moment is - the strength of the very cheap frame drum tuners.
I might need to find stronger versions of those.

1. Thoughts, throwing of rotten fruit? :)Pancake.png

2. Anyone know where I can get better frame drum tuners?

If I make this to the finish line, the shell bearing edges will be prepped by the masters at - Precision Drum Co.

It will be an interesting challenge to build a low cost pancake kit that all fits in one bag. :)
 

roncadillac

Member
Thought I would share some of this for your possible entertainment value.

I have had the thought to attempt to assemble a very low cost pancake kit. Note that DW's pancake kit is 900 USD.

What you see in the picture is: a 20 dollar frame drum shell, with a good drum head and a drum rim, using frame drum tuners.

Bearing edges aren't cut yet, and it already sounds good. After bearing edges, I'm sure it will be better.

I don't have concerns about the strength of the shell, especially the way I play. My biggest concern at this moment is - the strength of the very cheap frame drum tuners.
I might need to find stronger versions of those.

1. Thoughts, throwing of rotten fruit? :)View attachment 89944

2. Anyone know where I can get better frame drum tuners?

If I make this to the finish line, the shell bearing edges will be prepped by the masters at - Precision Drum Co.

It will be an interesting challenge to build a low cost pancake kit that all fits in one bag. :)
I would flip those frame drum tuner clip thingies. So the 'hook' is grabbing the bottom of the shell and the 'nut' is up top through the hoop's hole like a normal drum. Or, omit them entirely and feed the tension rods through the hoop and through the 'lug' already on the shell to a simple hardware store nut on the bottom.
 

Frank

Gold Member
Ok, next steps.

Here are some pics of before and after - with perfect bearing edges being cut by the masters at Precision Drum Co.

No bearing edges:
Frame - no bearing.png

Bearing edges cut by Precision Drum Co:
Frame - bearing.png

I also modified the lugs a bit - bending one side down.

I'm off to go tune up. Say a prayer. :)

Frame - lugs.png
 

Frank

Gold Member
Ok, so my, um, rework of those lugs killed them. :) They no longer fit inside the standard drum rim.

I need to go down the road of finding regular drum mini lugs.

Started looking, and I haven't found any super small lugs yet. If anyone has any leads, please let me know. Thanks.
 
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Frank

Gold Member
(Lack of) Progress update: :)

Lugs came in. They look great - quite a bargain. Next challenge - existing rods are too long. I need much smaller ones. Those are now on order.


Frame - long rods.png

Frame - rabbit hole.png
 

Frank

Gold Member
Well, this plan is - failing.

When I went to go drill those shells, they cracked. They were very fragile. Bummer.

So, that original concept is out.

Next version of this will be take a very low end kit I own, and cut the shells down to pancakes. And if it goes well, I will pull existing lugs off and use the nice single rod ones I bought for this project.

To be continued...
 

roncadillac

Member
Well, this plan is - failing.

When I went to go drill those shells, they cracked. They were very fragile. Bummer.

So, that original concept is out.

Next version of this will be take a very low end kit I own, and cut the shells down to pancakes. And if it goes well, I will pull existing lugs off and use the nice single rod ones I bought for this project.

To be continued...
I bought a new in box SPL 4pc kit online from a closing mom'n'pop gear shop for $100 shipped, sold the hardware pack for $30 and snare for $20 to a local pawn shop, then cut the bass drum and toms down to shallow single head set up that could fit into one bag. So I ended up with a 20x10, 14x10, 12x7 for $50 + the cost of spray paint, sand paper, man hours, etc. I just used whatever snare, hardware, and cymbals I already owned depending on what the gig called for.

Highly suggest ordering tom trim to finish the exposed edges. Very easy to install, keeps the exposed edges safe, and gives a nice finished look to single head drums. Yamaha and Pearl sell rolls through most online dealers for around $20, it's mostly used for marching quads.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I think some of us like the tinkering. (y) :rolleyes: I bought 4 Tama orpans that actually matched in wrap! And, now I'm re-wrapping all of them 🤷‍♂️
Nothing wrong with tinkering!

I think sometimes folks (in general, not the OP) sometimes think they can find work-arounds to save money when it comes to making instruments. Sometimes it works, but a lot of times it doesn't. If someone wants the experience of building and creating an instrument, I think he/she should just go for it. However, if the person is doing it for the sole purpose of saving money, then sometimes it's best to just buy once/cry once.

Well over 10 years ago, I researched what it would take to build an acoustic guitar after I heard that the Martin guitar company sells kits using wood from their line(s). After I found out what it would cost to buy what I needed to complete a guitar, I could have just bought a guitar...and a pretty decent one at that! After my experience of doing way too much research on this and pricing things out, I developed this philosophy: If you want to experience of building an instrument, and the practicality and play-ability of the finished instrument pales in comparison to the actual experience of actually building it with your own hands, then by all means, go build one. However, if you want an actual playable instrument, then just save your money and time, and just go buy one.

I think this is what drives me a little crazy about rdavidr's youtube channel. He's a big-time tinkerer, but it's rare that I find his results worth the time and energy he puts into his projects. I watch him because he's entertaining, but he's never made me want to go out and try to modify anything.

At this point in my personal life, I have such little time to tinker and mess with things that my "natural" response usually includes the "just get it over with" attitude. :)
 
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roncadillac

Member
Nothing wrong with tinkering!

I think sometimes folks (in general, not the OP) sometimes think they can find work-arounds to save money when it comes to making instruments. Sometimes it works, but a lot of times it doesn't. If someone wants the experience of building and creating an instrument, I think he/she should just go for it. However, if the person is doing it for the sole purpose of saving money, then sometimes it's best to just buy once/cry once.

Well over 10 years ago, I researched what it would take to build an acoustic guitar after I heard that the Martin guitar company sells kits using wood from their line(s). After I found out what it would cost to buy what I needed to complete a guitar, I could have just bought a guitar...and a pretty decent one at that! After my experience of doing way too much research on this and pricing things out, I developed this philosophy: If you want to experience of building an instrument, and the practicality and play-ability of the finished instrument pales in comparison to the actual experience of actually building it with your own hands, then by all means, go build one. However, if you want an actual playable instrument, then just save your money and time, and just go buy one.

I think this is what drives me a little crazy about rdavidr's youtube channel. He's a big-time tinkerer, but it's rare that I find his results worth the time and energy he puts into his projects. I watch him because he's entertaining, but he's never made me want to go out and try to modify anything.

At this point in my personal life, I have such little time to tinker and mess with things that my "natural" response usually includes the "just get it over with" attitude. :)
Well said and I agree, it's definitely not a money saving route. Most I've ever 'saved' money on is swapping tops/bottoms of stands to get a different stand 'free'.

His videos can be fun sometimes and I have heard him mention a few times that he is just a tinkerer and does so for fun but still... His most watches come from people researching 'diy drum hardware' or 'money saving drum hacks' (for example) on YouTube. Most of those people don't have a small machine/wood shop in their garage nor the skills/knowledge to operate most of that machinery.

That said, I really like Frank's journey here as it consists of repurposing existing stuff as a first approach, outsourcing where absolutely necessary, and knowing when to call it fruitless and try a different approach. Also, it's for a fun pancake kit and not something absurd (can't tell you how many threads I've read that say "bought a 5 piece, want to cut in half to make 10pc double bass")
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Nothing wrong with tinkering!

I think sometimes folks (in general, not the OP) sometimes think they can find work-arounds to save money when it comes to making instruments. Sometimes it works, but a lot of times it doesn't. If someone wants the experience of building and creating an instrument, I think he/she should just go for it. However, if the person is doing it for the sole purpose of saving money, then sometimes it's best to just buy once/cry once.

Well over 10 years ago, I researched what it would take to build an acoustic guitar after I heard that the Martin guitar company sells kits using wood from their line(s). After I found out what it would cost to buy what I needed to complete a guitar, I could have just bought a guitar...and a pretty decent one at that! After my experience of doing way too much research on this and pricing things out, I developed this philosophy: If you want to experience of building an instrument, and the practicality and play-ability of the finished instrument pales in comparison to the actual experience of actually building it with your own hands, then by all means, go build one. However, if you want an actual playable instrument, then just save your money and time, and just go buy one.

I think this is what drives me a little crazy about rdavidr's youtube channel. He's a big-time tinkerer, but it's rare that I find his results worth the time and energy he puts into his projects. I watch him because he's entertaining, but he's never made me want to go out and try to modify anything.

At this point in my personal life, I have such little time to tinker and mess with things that my "natural" response usually includes the "just get it over with" attitude. :)
I totally agree with what you're saying. It has a lot to do with experience I think. Also, some people will build something, and to THEM it's awesome! They think it looks great, sounds great. But often, it looks--like something someone built in their garage or on their back porch. Not the most professional. Bad paint or stain. . . .

I saw one vid where a guy built octabons out of PVC plastic tubing. Nice, inexpensive idea. But they just looked, bad (to me).

Sometimes those kits look really inviting. Especially for us tinkerers ;) But, after all of the costs, supplies--it may end up costing more than just buying the item.

RDavidR has some useful stuff. I have jumped in neck deep into refurbishing drums, and some building. He offers a lot of good ideas for breathing new life into old stuff. But, the throwing star cymbals, and drilling 45 holes into a cymbal. . .eh, lol.

I personally, am just really interested in woodworking and the process. I will never build a stave shell from scratch--that's A LOT! But, I'm on my second snare build, and I love it. I take my time. Try and do the best work I can (for a guy that studied NOTHING like woodworking in school).

I like seeing other's creations. Hopefully Frank had good luck with his build (y)
 
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