JamBox is a DIY electronic drum kit that will help travelers to take the drum life with them wherever they go. It combines very basic and easy to make elements so everyone can create their own version whilst making the best out of the FabLab. This was a personal project made in three weeks as part of the Digital Fabrication Lab course in Aalto University.

Step 1


The first step was designing the whole thing. Rough sketches and some research on what would I need to make the electronics. After knowing that and getting most of the parts, I tested some ergonomics and how could be the best way to play with the box.

Step 2

3D Printing

The second step was to 3D print some of the parts. As I had never 3D printed myself, this was a great learning of how to actually do it. I knew how to prepare the files beforehand but never really pushed the button, known about the materials or the technicalities. The first pieces required some tests and after making sure that they would be ok, I proceeded to print them. The second bunch of pieces (the corner columns) were relatively easier after this. I used a Ultimaker 2 and a Witbox for printing and the materials were ABS and PLA.

For the first tests and approaches to the machine, I received help from the FabLab assistant Jason Selvarajan, then the real tests and actual pieces were printed by myself.

Step 3

Lasercut Box

The third step was to cut the box parts out of 3mm plywood. Again, I had never done cutting myself so this was a very good chance to use the machine myself. The machine was an Epilog 36Ext and after designing the pieces, cutting was the easier part. A first set of pieces were cut with the help of the Studio Master Solomon Embafrash and a second set was cut entirely by myself.

Step 4

Programming, learning and testing

The next step (which in the real order was the first one) was to program the Arduino board to connect with the rest of the electronics in order to make the prototype functional. As I knew nothing about this, my main point was to understand more than to create the next award-winning code. I found a great aid for this task in another open source app called Ardrumo and some guide on how to make the connections. Following this, it was easier for me to study the code and actually learn a little bit from it, make tests and get to know it better. Finally, and after some tests, I could connect everything and test it. The materials were:

-1 Arduino board
-1 Breadboard
-4 Piezo sensors
-4 Resistors (1 MegaOhm)

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Step 5

Assembly and final testing

The final step was to actually build the whole thing and test the electronics along with the plastics and the wooden structure. The assembly was easy and actually more intuitive than I expected and the structure all set in resistant enough for some conditions and the look is actually very appealing. The electronics work fine, however it would be better if the sensor cases were thinner in the part where you hit them because sometimes it is needed to hit very hard and the harder you hit the more probable it is for the rest of the sensors to activate.


The scope is any drum player that is away or cannot take a whole kit wherever he/she goes. However, in the middle of the project, I realized that it could also be used as a tool for teaching some drum principles to small children who are not big enough to use an actual set. JamBox could be used to train their coordination and get them familiar with the sounds.

As for what I wanted to accomplish, I wanted to create a very easy to make and playful project that could get me to use all the FabLab machines and learn a little bit of programming, which I have never done before. This was also part of the Digital Fabrication Lab course that the FabLab offers to Aalto University students.