A drum set has the potential to overpower almost any ensemble. This is particularly true in small venues and in rooms that have not been designed with acoustics in mind. By surrounding a drum kit with a Plexiglas shield, you can dramatically control volume and reverberation from the drums to achieve a more balanced sound. Build your own custom drum shield from raw materials.
Set up the entire drum set as you would for a performance. Measure the length of the set from left to right, then measure the height of the highest cymbal or drum.
Add four feet to the length of the drum set and divide the total by four. This is the optimal width of each Plexiglas panel. Add six inches to the height of the highest cymbal or drum. This is the optimal height of each Plexiglas panel.
Buy four custom cut panels of 1/4 inch thick Plexiglas in the dimensions calculated in the previous step. Then pick out a small but sturdy metal hinge that satisfies your budget and personal tastes and buy six identical hinges. Finally, buy enough nuts and bolts to install all six hinges, making sure you size the bolts to the holes in your chosen hinges.
Pick a panel to be your leftmost panel and use a tape measure to place a hinge on the right side, six inches from the top. Tear off a strip of masking tape, pick up the hinge and press the tape onto the Plexiglas where the holes on the hinge were. Put the hinge back down and measure again to line it up six inches from the top. Use a marker to draw circles on the masking tape through the holes in the hinge.
Use the method described in step four to mark the placement of the hinges on all four panels. Each hinge should be placed either six inches from the top or six inches from the bottom. Remember that the leftmost panel will need two markings on the right side only, the middle two panels will both need two markings on each side and the rightmost panel will need two markings on the left side only.
Place a Plexiglas panel on a piece of foam board with the tape side facing up. Fit an electric drill with a drill bit the same size as the bolts you purchased for the hinges. Carefully drill straight down into the foam board through the centre of each marked drill spot.
Repeat step six on the three remaining panels.
Lay out all of the panels in the order of assembly. Remove all the masking tape. Attach each hinge by laying it over the drilled holes, pushing the bolts through and tightening the nuts on the other side.
Stand the shield up and bend the hinges to roughly 45 degree angles so that it is stable. Tighten each nut completely with a ratchet or adjustable wrench.
Position the shield in front of the drum set, adjusting the panels to wrap around the set and give it stability.
For a more durable and heavy drum shield, use acrylic panels instead of Plexiglas. Acrylic panels will often be more expensive, however.
Do not omit the use of masking tape. Masking tape is what keeps the Plexiglas from cracking during drilling.