Mac's A2E Project


Silver Member
Essentially a duplicate effort from Vdrum...

I'm midway into my Acoustic to Electronic project. Thought I'd start writing about the journey. I'll get you all up date on starting and to where I'm at. Then add comments and ideas as things evolve.

About mid winter some months back, I ran across Mike Luke's video describing his conversion.

It inspired me and I decided it was time to pull the trigger and go for a conversion. I did emulate a lot of things he did. I've not done video for years and not sure how to do it... so for now... words and pics.

I'm 59. Got back into drumming 5 years ago after about a 30 years absence because life happened.I have been playing a Roland TD-15K for the last 4-5 years. Practice at home and various band projects (none ever took off though).

My dad was a tinkerer and I guess I got those genes. I do what I can around the house and am familiar with tools, design, life hacks, etc. I've been patiently reading other folks take on conversions and I just thought it was the right time to do it. I guess I was really getting tired of sitting behind a 'Toy-ish' kit. In my head, I was making it work... and it did, but dayum, I was missing the size factor. I've been putting small bits of coin away for quite some time.

I think the thing that pushed me in this new direction is when the TD-50 came out, priced at about 8K. That $$$ definitely shut that door. So I'm diving in the conversion route with about a 3K budget. As I've said, I'm beyond half way in acquiring all the 'stuff'.

I've had my eyes on several shell packs for quite some time. After realizing the ones I wanted were pretty rare and pretty expensive, I turned my eyes to other ideas. I ran across a couple of sellers who had Mapex Black Forest Green shells. Green is not my first choice, but I looked at these long and hard. I realized I had not seen anything like these. I like unique and these hit the spot of unique and elegant. While I really wanted a 6 Piece Kit, due to availability, So I cobble together a 5 piece from 2 different sellers. Now I'll just keep an eye out for the allusive remaining floor tom. It does exist, but it's tide up in a sellers other shell pack currently.

So here is my current driver kit. I have not decided if I'm going to keep it. Sell it whole or part it out. I'll have a better idea after the project.



and here is the beginning of A2E project...


I forgot to mention I did get a Tama Metalworks Snare 14 X 6.5 used from Reverb. Again, Mike inspired me. OK, OK, I copied him. Sue me.

It's been, uh, gently used. No seriously, it's got some usage wear on it and I actually like that. The guy who sold it to me told me it was used in his bands last recording of EP project. I thought that was cool.

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Then I was in the right place at the right time with our very own Intruder selling me his TD-30. It's gorgeous. Thanks again Intruder.

I'm churning now. Got the shells, the brains... what next?

I spent a lot of time on individual nuances of the kit. I've decided to get R-Drum Triggers. Not only was Mike Luke convincing, but so are the R-Drum videos. I did try connecting with Diamond Drums. We talked briefly about what I was looking for, then they seemed to have ghosted me. I haven't heard anything back. That was just one more reason to go with R-Drums.
Loved dealing with R-Drums. They were very accommodating.
Because my shells don't have breather holes in the sides, I decided to go with R-Drums solution for a connection through the resonant head.

I am also getting their RTB bar triggers for the 3 tom's and their new RTS V. 2 trigger for the snare. Got some rim silencers too. The pieces are being made as we speak. Should be getting them from Germany in a few weeks.

Now I saw a ton of DIY bars and triggers, blah, blah, blah... I decided to spend the bucks on these. I really didn't want to screw around with homemade project with the innards.

Someone, I believe, just offhandedly said, 'Just drop the triggers in and your ready to go'. I grinned, because the conversion looks intimidating. Researched a ton more and it just became less of wall and more of fun journey.

simple things like this video, helps ease the unease...

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I've decided on the Drum-Tec Mesh heads. I watched all kinds of video's on mesh head comparisons and eventually it lead me Drum-tec. I choose their 2-ply Design series over the Basic and the Real Feel.

The conversation with Drum-Tec was excellent. They made things very easy. I got exactly as I wanted. I ordered and I believe it only took about a week to get them delivered from Germany. Very cordial yet business professional.

I looked at a lot of the others. Z-ED, Billy Blast, Roland and even Hart, which I currently use on my Hart Dynamic Snare. I love it. But finding a set of them was problematic. Roland just damn expensive. Billy Blast website was seriously lame and I'm hearing Z-ED is just OK. Like I said, I do a lot of research and listen to pros and cons if they are available. Listen to 65Drums quite a bit. I believe Justin too is currently doing a conversion.

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The next challenge. Cables. If there is one thing that seems to be consistent is the bastard child known as Electronic Drum Cables. I have yet to see anything to speak highly about. Cable Management always seems to be an afterthought. They look fugly. So I'm on a quest to at least dress this portion up. So I have lots of ideas... just not sure how much or to what length I'm going to put effort into them. I'm going to customize them. I bought a bunch of 1/4" stereo cables from online I also got some nice right angle Neutrik plug ends. Now I did this combo for a couple of reasons. First, finding straight end w/ right angle was a little difficult. They seemed to be more expensive then just straight to straight. But ultimately, I want to 'Sleeve' these cables. So that means cutting off one end anyway. I love the look of the woven cloth guitar cables. A retro look from years back when they covered all electrical cables. And I love Steampunk, which this kind of dips into. Nostalgia I guess. I've soldered a little in my past, but I plan to do these right. With the soldering. Nice plugs. Sleeving and Looming, I think I can get to a decent look for cable management.

This guy inspired me to do my own cables. WTH... I can do it... right?

Looming is simply organizing the cabling. My dad was into Hot Rods and all the guys would Loom their spark plug wires. Usually with some cool Spark Plug wire holder. So taking a note from this idea, I might apply it to the kits cables for organizing.


There's a ton of ideas, choices and material for covering the cable. I just need to figure the specifics out and make some choices.

And Instructables always pulls through with at the very least, inspiration.

Once, I started looking into Sleeving, there is this, to me, underground, sub-genre of a speciality. Guys mostly doing computers, but there is some cool... geeky videos and websites for anything and everything cables. I just need to figure out how to bring Electronic Drums to the table with this stuff.

More stuff as it materializes.
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Here I'm just getting design ideas for installing a KD-9 in the Kick.

Getting a feel for the cross brace. The KD-9 support base and contact points in the shell.


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So I've been incredibly busy, with little time dedicated to work on the more challenging parts like the kick and cables.

So I've been wrapping up the rest of the purchases. Just shipped the Gibraltar SC-450C rack. The VH-12 Hi-Hat. A short cymbal boom for a ride. Some clamps. A Mapex Falcon Hi-Hat Stand. Still waiting on the Tom L-Rods. I did make the mistake of thinking the round 10 mm rod would work... but it doesn't. So re-ordered the right Hex rod parts.

Also waiting on the R-Drum triggers, resonant heads and rubber rims.

A pic of the anxiously waiting to be built conversion...

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Well, I started to put it all together, in anticipation of waiting for the triggers.. which I was just notified... They Shipped!!!!

It's been so long since I've sat behind an acoustic kit. It probably took me a couple of hours up and down and around the kit to get the placement of everything. So a pic below of just the kit in a together condition... with nothing hooked up. It didn't take long to realize, I over ordered on a couple of things. I bought a clamp to many. And one too many of an electronic stands. One of these is way bigger than I need. I'll just figure something out for my mixer.


Now to start working the kick portion
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Well, I got back from vacation with the R-drum triggers delivered (thank you Mary for watching for this). I was a tad surprised with the size of the box. Well, they just did an outstanding job of packing. It was rather light. Not much really in there weight wise. Just plenty of air and cushion for the long trip home.

Now it's time to put this somb'ch together.

I know a lot of us don't care for unboxgin videos. So I won't... Just some unboxing photos.




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Today, Memorial Day, I worked on dropping in the triggers to the toms. Went fairly smoothly. The R-Drum triggers are solid and well crafted. While they supplied new longer bolts for the additional need for the bracket insertion, the bolts were the incorrect size. I just wound up using the factory bolts. They were plenty long.

I did have one small glitch with the slot in the bracket. It was designed for the smaller supplied bolts, which I didn't use, and I had to 'modify' the slot a tad for the slightly larger bolt.

In the end it worked out great.

I put in the the resonant "Plughead" easily and I really liked how they work and are integrated into the system.



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I had also worked on the kick. The plan is to incorporate the KD-9 from my current kit, because I like the way it feels. Rigging the KD-9 into the base, I used a 1" square aluminum stock. Bolted it with L-brackets using 2 of the lugs in the shell. I also added some carpet samples on the curve of the shell. I added a large velcro piece to the base of the KD-9. This was intended to help prevent any creep and the unit stay in place. I then used a couple of pipe clamps, attaching the KD-9 to aluminum stock. I lined the interior of the clamp with rubber, but that was not thick enough. I then cut pieces of the carpet and that provided a very good secure buffer around the legs of the unit.





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Sooooo, the KD-9 is perfectly functional... Just like I expected.


As you see in my previous photo's of the trial fit, the KD-9 leans forward. It still does. The only way to adjust the KD-9 is with the front bracket where the pedal attaches.

I think that looks pretty damn silly.

A possible solution is maybe put a 'riser' to lift up the pedal to the required height and angle. That's rigging it and I'm not thinking to keenly of that.

I don't think I'll move forward with making some kind of cut out on the head to encase it.

I've put to much time and effort into good materials to do this half ass. I'm really leaning into getting R-Drums Kick Drum trigger solution.

For now... it works, but it's not for me.

Here's the current driver seat...


Bad lighting... I know.

I've cabled most of the pieces and just as I suspected, the cabling looks like a nightmare.

I still have the snare trigger and I need to add the rim noise silencers.

... and I need to start figuring out the TD-30. But I'm very pleased with the drop in triggers, hooking them up and they are ready to go.
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Looking very awesome!
Not sure what you are gonna do to make the KD-9 fit better without a bunch of mods to the drum and KD-9.
Time to make your own trigger?
I've been lack in updating the progress. I have been working on it. Just forget to post and write.

So I finally tackled the snare. I just took my time one evening while watching a movie. It took some time to get every thing out. Everything in. Lined up, adjusted, measured. In reality, it was just drop in and play. Hooked up and it plays like a dream. I just now need to make adjustments in the module.

A view from the resonant side.


And a view from the snare side. Keeping the cardboard protection on while doing the install, so not to damage the cone.

I worked on the 'Rim Silencers' aka condoms this weekend as well.

The Rim Silencers I got from R-drums was one long piece, enough for a full kit, that I had to cut to size. I installed them with a little overlap to get a good seamless butt joint. Got them on and they looked fantastic.

It's when I started to play the kit, my fears were realized. They were shrinking and produced a noticeable gap. The movement probably occurred for a couple of reasons. When I put them on, I guess I may have 'stretched' them. second, striking them, even more movement on the rim. More separation. Also, the kit is in the basement, which is cool. Much cooler than my garage where I installed them.

So I contacted R-Drums and got a detailed response from Mr. Rathgeber, of my question how to glue them together.

We use a primer and super glue for sticking the ends together. The rim noise silenser is made from rubber.

The diameter of the rings should be a bit smaller than the diameter of the hoop. Here is a list of the required lengths:

08" = 655 mm
10" = 815 mm
12" = 975 mm
13" = 1055 mm
14" = 1135 mm
16" = 1295 mm

Best regards,

So I found a Loctite product that matched his discription...

The first rim, the snare, I was not quick enough during the bonding operation and didn't line it up exactly. I finally figured out a good way to do it by the 3rd and 4th hoop.
In a nutshell, I overlapped by 1/4", then followed Loctites instructions and worked out pretty nice. I know where the seam is. But others maybe hard pressed to see it.

Pictures later when I can figure that out.

Example of the gap forming after just a day or so.


Results of the two step (primer) super glue


This just a side shot showing I had little room, for the key, with the rim silencer attached.

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Cable Management: Here is my first experiment. I saw what appeared to be a novel idea. Gibraltar Clips for cable management. Not what I really had in mind, but I would give it a shot. Maybe it would work. Maybe it would inspire me.


In the review of the product, a few folks complained the clip design to hold the individual cable was to small. They were right. I was really concerned when trying to fit the cable onto the clip, it would damage the wires. I had to force it in.

And then when it did seat inside, it was really loose. Can't please me can they. Really I'm looking for something more snug once it's inside the clip that's holding it.


and then ultimately, it's not what I'm looking for. It is an interesting design.

So in the E-kit world, cables are necessary evil. I see very few folks dealing with them. Just an afterthought. Wrap them up out of the way. No two ways, it's not pretty. You can hide them...right.

So I've been thinking about this from another perspective and actually exploit the cables. They are a part of the kit.

So I started my 'spearmenting with the cables. Primarily putting sleeves on them.

I bought several sizes of Paracord from the big box stores. 1/4", 3/8" and 1/8". Watching folks talk about how when you take the stuffing out of the middle, then the sleeve becomes flexible... like Chinese handcuffs. When you crunch it together, it expands. Pull, the sleeve tightens up

I also bought some very cheap polypropylene sleeving from China. 30 foot for a couple of dollars. They delivered that for free. How do they do it?

So the cheap plastic polypropylene was first. I had little hope for it because it was very flat, seen here. And it kept its shape like it was on a roll.


But I gave it shot and after about 10 minutes, I figured out the process of minutely snaking the sleeve onto the cable. For about a 10 foot cable, this took me about 1/2 hour.
And... I was rather impressed with the final product. The sleeve became round, tightly hugging the cable.


I tried not melting the cut end, because that just really tightens up the pulling on the sleeving. so I just let it unravel a bit. I knew I could trim the end and heat-shrink a wrap.


I rather like the outcome... Clean, no kinks and something better than black.

So then I tried Paracord with a fabric weave casing. Removed it's innards and tried the same snaking on the sleeve process. I tried the same size as the polypropylene, but the fabric was immediately harder to work. Lot's more friction, where the plastic was somewhat easier.

I tried the 1/8", and that was impossible. Cable could not even be inserted.

Next worked the 3/8" like the plastic and it was difficult to almost impossible. I gave up after a 1/2 hour and getting only about 18 inches on.


My thinking with the 1/4 Paracord was it was way to big to sleeve. It just looked like it the cable would visually swim in the sleeve.

Gave it a shot and what do you know. It turned out rather nicely. The cable sleeved on in about 10 minutes. I pulled and tugged and the sleeve tightened down around the cable nicely. I just worked it a little bit more and it came out pretty much how I was envisioning it. Now the heat shrink at the end is way to much. I need to cut that down to about 1/3 or 1/4 size. Just enough to hold and define the transition. It thinks it looks good and it feels just a nice. The Pink/Black feels weird. Like a snake actually. The fabric braid feels good and soft.

I now have my cable sleeving figured out. I still need to figure out the custom lengths before I proceed and I'm going to need some kind of cable combs to help.
Once I figure out the custom length, I can then put on the 90 degree stereo cable end I got from Neutrik.

R-drums delivered my Kick drum trigger and I got a chance to install it this weekend. Pretty simple actually. It's two bolts and measuring the foam 5mm from the bearing edge. Lock it down. Install the Air Vent Connector and plug it in.

So I took out the DIY brace bar, brackets and bolts for the KD-9.


Opened up the breather hole for the Air Vent Connection.

Dropped in the RTB-BD trigger and installed a new Hart Dynamics KS KS22-2 - 22 INCH 2-PLY Mesh beater head. I'm happy with the way it looks. All honesty, it looks like an acoustic kit should.