In the January/February issue of the Dutch magazine, ‘Slagwerkkrant’ a review of the Wizzdrum kit was published. The article gives a good overview of our innovation under the title ‘3D printed design wonder’. We’ve translated the article for you in English, or you can read the original article via the link below.
This article is published in Slagwerkkrant Jan-Feb 2020 and written by Dennis Boxem.
3D printed design wonder
The Slagwerkkrant 180 was the first to review the Wizzdrum. At that time, it was above all a cleverly combined set, consisting of existing instruments and some newly designed parts. Five years later, there’s an entirely new Wizzdrum. The concept is more or less the same, but the Wizzdrum has been redesigned down to the very last screw.
Let’s go back to the start. The Wizzdrum originated from the fact that Wouter Hietkamp was looking for a portable drum kit that he could use when playing small gigs. Together with his father, he combined a hanging mini bass drum, a small snare drum, and a couple of roto toms and some smart clamps to a set, and the Wizzdrum 1.0 was born. Fast forward five years, now we have the new Wizzdrum, which is a piece of art in terms of cutting edge design that is entirely produced in-house. On a 3D printer, that is!
It’s unbelievable but true, the set shown in the pictures in this test is entirely 3D printed. Every part is designed, drawn, printed, and tested by the Hietkamp family. In addition to that, the Wizzdrum is now delivered with a specially designed suitcase in which every part has a specific casing. And just like the Wizzdrum, the case is also produced using a 3D printer.
Upright or seated
De Wizzdrum has multiple versions. A standard model with two toms, a bass drum, a snare drum and a hi-hat for manual operation and an extended version with foot pedals for operating the bass drum and hi-hat. The manual version requires some additional practice, just like the original Wizzdrum. You play the bass drum with sticks instead of using a foot pedal, and the hi-hat is operated with a lever pushed by hand, which requires the necessary adjustments to your grooves. But just like the original Wizzdrum, this is a fun challenge, and it’s not so different that you need to spend weeks practicing.
But with the new Wizzdrum, things can become easier. There are two pedals with cables available. One of them is a cable operated hi-hat, but then in a very compact housing, and the other operates a clamp with a bass drum beater. Both work exceptionally well and play surprisingly direct. When the Wizzdrum is set up in the lowest position, you can sit behind it and play just like an acoustic drum set.
Before you can play the Wizzdrum, you need to set it up, which can be a bit of a puzzle when you do it for the first time. This is because the set is made up of numerous tailor-made parts that all have their specific location in the system. However, after setting it up for the first time, it soon becomes a lot quicker. When we set it up for the photoshoot, it was set up in an instant.
You start with the base that consists of a set of heavy-duty steel tubes. If you want to play sitting down, you only mount the lower part of the stand. If you want to play upright, you need to place an extra metal tube on top of the stand. After this comes the first 3D printed part: a sturdy clamp with a smart height locking system making sure the height is set correctly every time. Above this clamp a large 3D printed tube is mounted in which all instruments are mounted, this mounting is very easy. The tube contains holes in which all tailor-made printed tom arms and cymbal arms are placed. You simply slide them in the tube, and then the drums are placed on top. The toms contain multiple holes so you can place them a bit higher or lower or to the side, whatever is desired. It’s only a few centimeters per drum, but this is more than enough within the compact set up of the Wizzdrum.
For the bass drum and the snare drum, there are two separate mounting holes. You can choose which one of them is mounted left and right. The mount for the bass drum is a simple item that’s connected to the drum shell. The mount for the snare drum is a design highlight. It not only mounts the snare drum, but it also operates the snare wires that push against the drum head from underneath the drum. With a simple twist of a nob, you turn it on or off, and even the tension of the wires against the drum head can be adjusted.
As mentioned before, the hi-hat works very well. The Wizzdrum is supplied without cymbals, but inside the suitcase, there’s a special cavity for a small cymbal set. The bolt with which you fix the cymbal set inside the suitcase is also used to attach the hi-hat top cymbal to the hi-hat system. The hi-hat doesn’t open very wide, but certainly far enough, and it closes tightly. The pedal works smoothly and swiftly.
The bass drum pedal is bolted to the shell with a printed mounting item. The pedal is mounted very easily, and the beater hits the drum head properly in the middle, and still, there’s enough space to hit the bass drum with a stick as well. This way, it’s easy to drum a double bass pattern.
Wizzdrum’s drums are designed in a genius way. The single-headed drums consist of a frame and a rim, which you screw together with a drum head in between, just like a lid on a jar. The further you turn up the drums, the higher the drum head tension will be. When you can no longer turn it up by hand, you can use a specially designed drum key that fits in a gear to increase the tension of the drum head further. The drums can be fairly high pitched, and the tuning range is exceptionally large. With a manually turned up drum, you already get a nice round tone, and this is cranked up to a sparkling high without any issues.
Wizzdrum supplies the set with affordable drum heads because the choice of drum head is rather determinative for the sound of the set. We exchanged the single-ply transparent Ambassadors for a set of two ply White Suede Emperors, and this was a big difference. With the Ambassadors, the sound was clear and transparent. With the two-ply Emperors, it was much more velvet and round.
The Wizzdrum is meant to be used in a controlled setting. The set is sturdy but not built for the genuine hard hitters. It is better suited for a gig in a small bar than on a huge stage. This doesn’t mean that you cannot play loud or that the set is not robust. However, the Wizzdrum sounds best when it’s played a little more subtly.
Dismantling the set is just as easy as building it up, but you have to pay attention to where all the parts belong in the suitcase. This is because every millimeter of available space is used. With the pedals and cymbals, the whole set fits in the suitcase in only one specific way, so as long as you follow this, the case will close without problems.
Because the Wizzdrum set is completely 3D printed, every part of the set is covered with little lines. This is a result of the printing process, but it also attributes to the rather particular look of the set. During the test, the material that is used for printing proved to be lightweight and also tough. Rim shots and heavy accents left some imprints on the sticks but not on the drum edges. Because of the 3D-printing, there are some tiny bumps on the surface of the drums. However, these have no influence on the functioning of the set.
The Wizzdrum is not cheap, but the price is very reasonable if you take into account the amount of work that’s involved in producing it. A complete Wizzdrum kit takes a single 3D printer, on average, a full week to build, and then the set needs some small manual adjustments before it’s finished.
Along with that, the set offers a number of unique playing possibilities and needs no more space in transport than a cajón. Packed in its suitcase, the Wizzdrum is 17 kilograms, and that’s a heavy load, but with the suitcase having wheels and a telescopic grip, the weight is hardly a burden. You can take public transportation without any problem.
The Wizzdrum checks a long list of benefits. It’s fun to play, and it sounds a lot more like a drum set than your average cajón or percussion set up, and it’s convenient. Apart from that, it has a huge stage appeal because – whether you are seated or standing up – it looks exceptionally hip.
- transportable drum set, 3D printed
- supplied in matching suitcase
- 8″ and 10″ toms
- 10″ snare drum
- 13″ bass drum
- Cymbals and hi-hat mounts and drum stand
- base set €1,095.-
- The test set was extended with a third 10″ tom and pedals for hi-hat and bass drum; this set is €1,395.-
+ extremely compact
+ nice compact sound
+ many benefits
+ high fun factor
-/- 3D printed surface a little rough in some spots
In its form and configuration, the Wizzdrum is unique, but possible competition is the Tama’s Cocktail Jam, the Cajón Percussion Gigbox, the DW Performance Lowpro kit, the Traps 400, et cetera.