Mac's Cymbal Topper Project

Macarina

Silver Member
First off, this is really not a project... it became one for me, trying to figure it out.

The cliff notes version.

I got the spark from a young Avery Molek. In a nutshell, I found gear shift knobs that I was able to convert to a cymbal topper. Looking for something different I found these slightly humorous gear knobs. They are every where and most come with various size plastic inserts. I determined a solution is a coupling nut that fits the specific thread of the cymbal mount, that will fit inside the plastic insert.I have Roland cymbal holders and Gibraltar. The thread is 6mm and 8mm, respectively.

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Macarina

Silver Member
The exhausting details:

Like the red cymbal felts, I happened across, the cymbal toppers sparked a little something in me and immediately decided to incorporate it on my kit. Can I buy one?

My first find was a Vater skull cymbal topper. I have no words to describe this product.

Then an eBay search found a few. While I found them expensive, they did spark some more creativity. What can I find?

Which lead me to vehicle gear shift knobs. I think they are the right size and balance on top of a cymbal. Man, this brought back memories. My dad and friends in high school were into hot rods and shift knobs were an essential part of the 'look'. There is a ton of shift knob styles out there. Let your imagination go wild. I eventually settled on this particular skull style, because of it's look and just importantly, it has metal knurled base and comes with 3 plastic inserts of various sizes w/ set screws.

As I said, there is a ton of shift knobs out there to be had. Be careful, because many do not have something like the base, let alone, any kind of hole. Those require you to drill your own hole, then figure out how put in an insert. If your so inclined, did find a video or two of drilling such holes. I just don't have the tools to do it.

So I bought a 'test' shift knob, to see what it looked like and to be more hands on figuring out the attachment. Got the red one from eBay for $12 (free shipping). It was delivered in bubble wrap packing, which I was a little nervous about. Opened it and it was actually better than I expected. The paint looks gorgeous. It feels weighty and solid.

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I had to figure out the inserts and how to use them. Since the insert with the smallest hole is still to big for either size thread. I have to find a solution for smaller inserts.

First I thought about filling the hollowed out plastic insert with maybe like JB PlasticWeld. I'd then drill it out slightly smaller than thread it would go on. But then thought, I have to make my drill hole straight on and that required a jig.

Next I thought the hole is already there and straight. Fill it with a nylon rod or tube. A rod, I'm back to square one of drilling a straight hole. A nylon tube I will have a hole and just need to work it.

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So I found some nylon inserts/spacers at a big box store, that were just the right size to fit in the insert and thick enough to have a hole small enough to but threads in. Then I went to town on the nylon tube. I drilled holes just big enough for me to put in threads. I first tried buying a 8mm bolt and using that to make my threads. I was able to do it, but it was still extremely tight. I guess the nylon still has enough plasticity where it's too snug around the thread. I could screw it on the cymbal holder, but way too much constraint. I even tried my buddy's thread cutting tool. Nylon is just to pliable.

That's when I thought about the threads more and I didn't want them to move. How about a metal production nut. Duh!!!!, which lead me to a long coupling nut. Theoretically I guess you could use a regular nut, but a coupling nut gives you more length, thus control.

Back to the big box store and found an 8mm and 6mm.

The 8mm coupling nut fit perfectly inside the insert. I didn't need the supplied plastic insert. Fit the set screws and it was ready to go.
Note: the base and hole depth provided plenty of room to tighten my cymbals nicely.

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The 6mm is naturally smaller nut size and it required me to use one of the plastic inserts. I put the bolt through the nut, then could easily shove the nut tightly into the insert. withdrew the bolt, then dropped the insert into the shift knob, tightened down the set screws and it was ready to go.

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Macarina

Silver Member
So once I was satisfied with how to make this work. I bought a few more. This time much cheaper ones from China. This company allowed me to chose the colors I wanted.

What's interesting in that purchase was despite all 3 coming from the same supplier, the black one is definitely different. The black one is the same design, but is slightly smaller and more light weight. And it had really inferior plastic inserts. Not the one's I used were that of great quality, but they did the job. It makes me think the black one is counterfeit product. So I put the black one aside. I have another idea for it's use and it has nothing to do with drums. If your interested I can talk about that little experiment later.

On the high-hat I just used the smallest holed insert, knowing it would 'float' and rotate. You could use the nylon insert solution if you didn't want it rotating around while playing. Also, I do notice the extra weight on the high-hat pedal.

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Overall, I'm happy with the results. One day I may get back to them and find other idea's (shift knobs), if I get tired of these.

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Note: I'm still working on the cable management problem. Well, it's a visual problem for me.
 
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whiteknightx

Silver Member
great post. THanks for sharing. You got me thinking about ideas!
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
So once I was satisfied with how to make this work. I bought a few more. This time much cheaper ones from China. This company allowed me to chose the colors I wanted.

What's interesting in that purchase was despite all 3 coming from the same supplier, the black one is definitely different. The black one is the same design, but is slightly smaller and more light weight. And it had really inferior plastic inserts. Not the one's I used were that of great quality, but they did the job. It makes me think the black one is counterfeit product. So I put the black one aside. I have another idea for it's use and it has nothing to do with drums. If your interested I can talk about that little experiment later.

On the high-hat I just used the smallest holed insert, knowing it would 'float' and rotate. You could use the nylon insert solution if you didn't want it rotating around while playing. Also, I do notice the extra weight on the high-hat pedal.

Overall, I'm happy with the results. One day I may get back to them and find other idea's (shift knobs), if I get tired of these.

Note: I'm still working on the cable management problem. Well, it's a visual problem for me.
Fun stuff! The emerald green finish on your kit looks stunning!
 
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