The new beatbox: Cardboard drumkit puts a basher on your back

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Bashing out beats in Paris without causing too much disturbance to others

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Cardboard. As we've already demonstrated, it's not just for packaging. Signal Snowboards, Ernest Packaging and Fender Custom Shop added to that list of clever uses last year with a one-off Stratocaster that sounded much better than it looked. Now French startup Obilab is introducing a new member to the band in the shape of a cardboard drum kit that collapses down to be carried like a backpack between gigs.

Though Obilab is crowdfunding its DrumKit project, it has, in fact, already produced a limited run of cardboard kits. Those 150 kits sold out pretty quickly and encouraged the team to produce improved version 2 DrumKits based on feedback from the original buyers.

The new DrumKit is made up of six main components, each one topped with fiberglass for bashing with (non-cardboard) sticks. There's a cardboard backpack that doubles as a drum stool and cajon, a kick drum and pedal (the top of the bass drum can be used as a floor tom), a snare, a closed hi-hat or shaker, and a dedicated tom with higher sounds in the center and lower at the edge. Wait, that's only five. The final elements in the package are a pair of bamboo sticks. The whole shebang tips the scales at 2 kg (4.4 lb).

Particularly suited to home or rehearsal room practice, the cardboard drums are said to be 10 times quieter than their bigger, more expensive and difficult to transport acoustic full kit cousins. When in backpack mode the kit is described as water resistant, but not waterproof, so might survive a sudden downpour but don't try to play while scuba diving. Once you're ready to rock, it's reported to take around 2 minutes to put everything together and start playing.

As to how long thumpers can expect the cardboard kit to last, its creators say that a kit survived over 600 people beating the hell out of it at a New York Maker Faire demo, but "if you treat it as an instrument, it will last as long as an instrument, but if you treat it as a toy, it will last as long as a toy." If a component does fail, the company plans to start selling individual elements next year.

There's also a smaller version designed for young bin bashers called the DrumKid, which has smaller structural parts and no floor tom. Tutorials are in the pipe and an electronic module is in development, which connects the DrumKit to a smart device or computer. The latter includes six sensor-packed e-pads, and features USB and MIDI connectivity.

Obilab has headed to Kickstarter to bring its cardboard kit into production. Pledges for the adult-sized DrumKit start at €99 (about US$112), while the child-friendly DrumKid starts at €79. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October. The pitch video below provides a project overview.

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