Failure, a critical part of the product development process


The purpose of prototypes is to try everything, and push it until it breaks. In this case, we had a lug failure at high tension. I have never seen a lug built like this before, so there isn’t really anything to look at to benchmark. I can’t say I was surprised by this failure, it was clearly a potential weak point, and dependent on the rigidity of the plate material. The cool thing about making everything locally, is I can quickly create an updated design, have the parts cut, and have them in my hands in a few days.

For the record, this lug is the 9th design iteration, hopefully this does the trick!

Lug 9.jpg

As you can see, this design eliminates the center support where it isn’t needed, and replaces it with 2 new supports located close to the tensioning nuts. I think it might even look cooler!

Progress on the Prototypes

The 2nd prototoype will be a 6.5x14 copper shell snare. I rolled the copper shell, and decided to use a brass badge plate to give it a bit of contrast. I must say, it looks awesome! I’m getting the hang of rolling nice, round shells, and my new pneumatic rivet gun is a huge help.

This drum will also feature the prototype GLDC Hardware, handmade brass lugs and throw off. My last blog post showed the throw off, and here are the lugs:

Brass lugs

I am still figuring out hoops, but here is the drum assembled with lugs:


Next, I am going to play with some patina . . . stay tuned!

Strainer Prototype

I could have just used the INDe SB1 (Best strainer on the market!) for Great Lakes Drums, but I wanted to do something different. Smaller, lighter, and hand made in the USA seemed like the right choice! So as usual, I designed it in Solidworks first. Parts were cut out of solid brass by our friends at Kalamazoo Waterjet, and today we assemble!

3D Solidworks Model

3D Solidworks Model

There are a few parts that need to be drilled after waterjet cutting, so I designed some 3D printed jigs to drill. One of the many benefits of designing in 3D! Some of those are still in the works, but we were able to get the first strainer assembled:


First Prototype!

I’m still working on a snare shell to put it on to try out, but it’s so simple, what could go wrong? First impression is that it’s super small and lightweight, and everything works great! A few fit/finish things that I can work on for the next one, but those will be easy! Stay tuned for more prototypes!

The first prototype



Behold, the very first GLDC prototype!

This drum was built to test out some new ideas, and confirm that we could build a shell using the roll & rivet technique. As you can see, the seam is an integral part of the aesthetics of the drum- beyond being super functional, it’s cool looking. This particular drum is a 6.5x14 brass shell drum, and since the Great Lakes hardware is not fully designed yet, we used INDe hardware to hold this one together. There is a particular feature in this design that I can’t share yet- patent is not filed yet. But I can tell you that it makes this drum the most sensitive drum I have ever heard. It’s killer.

The ugly bits- My riveter and my riveting technique suck. You can see some uneven areas in the seam, and some scratches around the rivets. Pneumatic/hydraulic riveter acquired, and that should be much better on the next one! I will make the seam better next one!

The next prototype is a 6.5x14 in copper, along with all of the GLDC hardware bits- stay tuned!

Independent Drum Lab is launching a new drum business!

You probably already know about Independent Drum Lab from the innovative INDe line of drums and drum parts- if not, please check it out here: . INDe will continue to make killer drums, and innovate with new hardware (lots more coming soon!), but . . .

We decided to do something completely different! We are building Great Lakes Drum Co. in order to try new things, create new sounds, and manufacture nearly every component by hand, here in Michigan.

For now, this website will consist entirely of this blog, as we refine our designs, prototype, test, refine some more, and basically show how we create this new business from the ground up! It should be an interesting journey, and we will do our best to document right here! Please feel free to leave questions and comments!