It started as both the desire to obtain an affordable compact drum set, and a nagging itch to do something fun with my left over toms and hardware. The next thing I knew I was exploring some fun ways to re-purpose an old 16″ floor tom, and convert it into a great little bass drum! Below you will find not only step by step instructions on the conversion method that I used, but also an underlying theme of making the best with what you have and not being afraid to get a little creative from time to time.
1. A Carry Crate
(Dimensions: 1’ 6.5” x 1’.75” x 4”)
This is the base for the entire project.
2. Nuts, Bolts, and Washers
- Long Bolts are 2” x .25” in diameter
- Spur Bolts are 1.5”x.25”
- Large Washers are 1”OD w/ ½” ID
- Small Washers are ½”OD w/ ¼” ID)
I used 6 total Large bolts to attach the board to the crate plus 2 more to act as spurs, or feet. I used two different washers for this part, the Large Washer set (middle right bottom) were large enough in the center ( ½”) so that the bolt head rested flush against it. The other washer set (middle left bottom) was just small enough so only the shaft of the bolt fit through and the nut rested on it.
3. Three Cuboid pieces of foam
- 1’.25” x 4.25”x 4” for the larger pieces
- 1’.25” x 4.25” x 1” for the smaller one
The foam is firm enough that the drum does not completely crush it, but it also has enough give that it will hold the drum in place.
4. A plank of wood
3’6.5”x 3.25”x .75”
The length of the crate is about 1’½”, so the board needs to be longer than that. You can always remove the extra length. As you see in the picture, I drilled six holes parallel to each other, which, you will see shortly how they fit with the crate.
5. Two Bungee Cords
1’6” in length, roughly
6. Cloth of some sort.
1’8.5” x 1’1.5”
This helps to keep the drum finish looking nice
Using a hacksaw (or other appropriate cutting device), saw off one of the handles to allow easy access of the beaters to the drumhead.
Place the cubiods in the crate in such a way that it will allow the plank of wood to sit firmly in the middle.
Make a mark on the handle and the plank to show where exactly the plank needs to sit when it is bolted on. You can do this on the front side (i.e. the resonant side of the drum) of the Conversion kit so it might make it easier for sawing off the extra length of the plank should you have some.
Place the plank in the crate with the excess wood going out of the crate on the side that the handle was cut off.
Flip the kit over to mark where the holes need to be drilled. I opted for the center six spaces for the bolt holes.
Insert bolts with the head on the underside of the crate.
Cover the exposed bolts on the inside of the crate with the remaining piece of foam to protect the finish of the drum.
As previously mentioned, I used the smaller bolt and washer sets to make spurs, which enabled me to position the bass drum at the appropriate height. I spaced them as far as I could to the sides so that the stability is optimal. I additionally added 1 nut to each spur-bolt so that the intense movement of playing does not shake the nuts loose and create any problems.
I spread a cloth perpendicular with the crate so that the extra length can be tucked down into the sides. The reason I am using the cloth is that the HR Foam can be somewhat abrasive, which could rough up the drum finish over time.
Attach the drum to the conversion kit using bungee cords. For my particular floor tom I hooked the bungee cord around the floor tom leg clamp, on both sides of the drum. Doing this kept the drum attached to the kit and helps maintain proper distance from the pedal for best stroke attack and rebound.
Floor Tom to Bass Drum Conversion Complete!
Re-purposed, and ready to rock!