How to make a handpan/pantam (part 1/3)

how to make a handpan

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How to make a handpan/pantam (part 1/3)

Kita Pantam Company has aimed to release a series of articles to explain the process of making Handpans/Pantams. These articles are monthly and will guide you to get familiar with the process of making these magical musical instruments. Every handpan/pantam maker employs sophisticated and special steps to create an instrument that sounds well. These steps in general consist of metal forming, heat treating, shaping, and tuning. In this series of articles, we are going to explain the steps that we go through to get your handpan/pantam ready.

First and one of the most critical steps is the metal forming and Nitrating process. During this step, we transform a flat steel sheet into bowl-shaped geometries (Shells). Makers use different methods to form shells such as hydroforming, deep drawing, and also hand hammering. Technically speaking the best way of forming is Deep Drawing because of a couple of reasons. First of all the metal surface in this process is drawn uniformly as the force is applied on all the surface dots of the metal sheet equally, unlike the hydroforming through which there is the bottom ring of the metal baring more force making the surface taking a thickness gradient which DECREASES from the center to the edges, so edges are THINNER and the top center is the THICKEST part. This thickness gradient creates some difficulties in the shaping and tuning processes and also affects the sustain and stability of the final instrument. KitaPantam is one of the few makers in the world who is taking the advantage of its own Deep Drawing Press machine (please check out this YouTube video to get more familiar with this process). Many makers avoid the heavy investment of developing such machines of their own and prefer to purchase the ready to use deep drawn shells. KitaPantam is supplying shells for other makers, for more information please visit our Makers Shop page.

The other critical process following the shell-forming is a special heat-treating process called Nitrating. This process is developed for the Handpans to increase the stability and the sustain of the instrument. During the nitrating process, Nitrogen gas is introduced to the surface of the steel metal and in a high-temperature environment, this gas diffuses inside the metal and form ceramic compounds causing an increase in the metal’s hardness. In general, makers uses two different nitrating processes, gas nitrating and plasma nitrating. KitaPantam is utilizing the latter which is more expensive and offers many benefits such as more controlled diffusion and uniformity.

Combining both processes of Deep Drawing and Plasma Nitrating provides the most uniform metal surface in terms of physical and mechanical properties. This uniformity allows smooth shaping and tuning processes by decreasing the metal failures drastically so that the making costs will be reduced consequently. Another advantage is the predictability and repeatability of the processes which overall gives peace of mind to the makers about the problems that may occur during the making from this part of the job.

Kita offers shells that are all deeply drawn and plasma nitrated for other makers. For more information, please visit our Makers Shop page.

To be continued.

What is the difference between Nitraded and Stainless Steel Handpans/Pantams

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What is the difference between Nitraded and Stainless Steel Handpans/Pantams

Handpans, Pantams and hangdrums are normally made of three type of materials, raw steel, nitraded steel and stainless steel. Raw steel is among them less common because it does not offer enough stability and becomes detuned more easily.

Nitrated steel handpans have more clear tones and mid-range sustain, in contrast stainless steel instruments have long-range sustain and each note when it is touched can be heard in its original, fifth and octave notes. Due to this type of characteristics, stainless steel handpans are more appropriate for slow playing melodies and are perfect for meditative and sound healing applications, while nitraded steel ones are better for fast and more professional playing.

The other advantage stainless steel offers over the nitrated is being non corrosive. So basically they do not need to be covered by protective oils all the time, while nitrated instruments should always be protected by oil in order to avoid being rusted.

For better comparisons and hearing the sound and quality of kitapantam instruments made by both type of these materials, please check our YouTube channel, where many videos of different materials with different scales Pantams are uploaded.

Please contact us if you need further information or have more questions.

How to take care of your KitaPantam

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How to take care of your KitaPantam

Pantams, handpans and hangdrums are generally made of heat treated steel. Bare surface of steel is susceptible to corrosion and rusting and it happens when metal surface is in contact with oxygen and humidity. So people try to avoid that using many different methods in order to protect their metallic assets.

For protecting Pantams, having oil on its surface all the time is recommended. Oil creates a barrier between the metal surface and the environment and this way protects it from corrosion. Depending on how many times during the week you play your Pantam, and also the climate in the area you live in, you need to apply oil on the instrument from 7-2 times a week. If you are playing it every day and the climate in your area is humid, then you need to put oil on it every day. In fact the key point is keeping the surface always oily, so whenever it is getting dry, it is the time to apply oil on it.

But how you do that? Normally you drop couple of oil drops on the surface and then using a microfiber cloth, spread the oil uniformly to all the top and bottom surface areas. Note that, do not put oil on the inner surface, our experience says the oil inside will gradually penetrate the glue and weakens it causing the sound losing the sustain and becoming dull.

For the places near the sea or other areas with high humidity climates, it is recommended to buy stainless steel Handpan instead of the regular Nitraded ones. SS instruments do not need oil and have very high resistance against corrosion.

Have fun playing your KitaPantam, please contact us if you have any question or need help regarding the right and efficient ways to protect your handpan.