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Picture of DIY Leather Pads - How to Make Sound With Leather and Piezoelectric

Welcome to the first part of my experimental mini-series of:

"How to make sound with XXX and piezoelectric"

Since I'm kind of obsessed with musical instruments and while playing around with my trigger module and pre built drum pads, I've always deeply wanted to make piezo-triggered pads from any material (or combination of materials) I think would be interesting and fun to try out and pads wouldn't usually be made of - starting with Leather.

And because I've had a lot of conceptions in my mind - which basically have similar work steps - I decided to summarize two of them in one Leather-Instructable.

Step 1: The Things I've Used

  • Leather pieces (different types, thickness and color)
  • Leather Straps
  • Piezo Triggers
  • 6.3 mm female Mono Jacks
  • Washer/spanish Coin
  • Glue (contact glue, hot glue, super glue)
  • Cellular Rubber
  • Soldering Tin
  • PLA Filament (black)
  • Acrylic Paint (black)
  • Flexible Tube
  • Book Screws
  • Neodym Magnets
  • Sissors/Cutter
  • Wire Stripper
  • Electric Drill
  • Soldering Iron
  • Rotary Tool
  • Trigger Module
  • Instrument and Audio Cables
  • Headphones, Speaker
  • Voice recorder
  • 3D Printer
  • Mixer - optional
  • Tinkercad
  • IdeaMaker
  • Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) - optional

additional instruments:

  • Cajon
  • Snare-Drum-Pad
  • Kick-Pad
  • Rods

Please take all necessary safety precautions while working with heat, sharp objects, electricity, vapors or resulting gases, noise, bright light and whatever could endanger your health.

Cherzer4 months ago
Question: Do the Piezo Triggers act as say a button, with a single discrete signal per strike, or are they more like a microphone, which can pickup a multitude of little variations in the strike?
alleshochladen (author)  Cherzer4 months ago
In my understanding I would say every strike sends a signal to the trigger module. The recognized intensity of the strike is adjusted by the sens and threshold in the module's trigger settings. If the threshold isn't set correctly you will receive double/multiple triggers by just one strike or no triggering.
Ham-made4 months ago
Hallo alleshochladen!
Superb use of piezoelectric elements! I'm a high school art and music teacher/tortured artist and I've been making, modifying, and amplifying instruments for years. I had an idea for a potential additional trigger for your cajon setup and have included some images that I quickly modeled up. You wear it sort of like a slipper or sandal and activate the trigger by bringing down your heel. If you observe yourself playing your feet are already in the perfect position!
Mach weiter!
Mr. Ham
alleshochladen (author)  Ham-made4 months ago
Hello Mr. Ham,

thank you for you kind words. Your sandal/slipper pad looks very interesting and close to my design; I've already made a food pad, but unfortunatly it doesn't work. The sound tests have been OK, but after the final assembly it puts out none or multiple sounds, maybe I've damaged the piezo disc. I've already taken it appart as carefully as possible and now I'm trying to find out what went wrong.
I will document this process as well and will upload it if this thing
finally ever works proper. I will go on!

Bye, alleshochladen
Sounds like a loose solder joint! Sometimes the soldered joint on the crystal slurry of the piezo element (the inner disc) will tear off the coating and become disconnected without showing any visible sign of disconnection. If that is the case, simply re-solder the connection to a different part of the inner disc. Another tip that I've picked up over the years is to sandwich the piezo element, once soldered, between two pieces of a harder material. In your case, using two larger squares of leather would be perfect for this! Use a bunch of hot melt glue to ensure that the connections remain in place and your piezo element will be a lot less susceptible to becoming damaged by regular wear and tear. Good luck! One last thing, sometimes replacing the piezo element entirely is the only way to get things operational again, but should be a last resort.
Mr. Ham
alleshochladen (author)  Ham-made4 months ago
Thank you. I followed your suggestions. Frist I've sandwiched the piezo between two pieces of a harder material (because the material of the pad is very soft, too soft!) - without success. Than I re-soldered the connection to a different part of the inner disc and sandwiched it again - same wrong results, unfortunately. Because of the soft pad material and thin leather cover (contact glued together) I decided to start over again with a more harder, solid foundation. This is part of the learning process, I guess.
john pedersen4 months ago
Amazing sound, I wouldn't have expected that, great job!
alleshochladen (author)  john pedersen4 months ago
Thank you very much.
I'm still working on the sound recording and sound editing . I usually only
accompany the videos with background music; mostly made in Reason 10. The
Reason sounds are so great in my opinion.