Makers Newsletter

New DC05 steel is available and  information on our first custom made coil of steel.
May 2018

This information letter is to let you know about the availability of the new batch#5 material, the coming batch#6 and batch#7: the very first batch of steel custom produced for handpans.

Batch#5

Our 5th batch of steel, classified as DC05, has been deepdrawn and we just received the first nitriding batch of the new material. The steel works quite differently when tuning than the batches we have had in the past and thus it requires a bit of a different approach. However (with our method of making) the notes are more easily loosened and are also much easier to tune than any of the previous batches we have had! I would not say that this batch is any more similar to the DC05 batches we had in the past compared to the DC04 batches we had in the past.

We only start to really realize now that the way the steel behaves to the hammer strikes and how the instrument ultimately sounds does not have that much to do with the classification of DC04 and DC05. The more we learn about steel, the more we learn that values in an excel sheet do not always have to mean much at all. There are so many variables and factors that influence the qualities of steel other than the chemical composition and mechanical properties, such as the way the steel is made, in what climate it is formed and how the steel is rolled, that it is hard to receive a consistent material.

We are happy to present you with batch#5 and are eager to see what you can make of it. So far we have made a few instruments of it and we like the sound. The harmonics are nice and crisp, a good amount of sustain and the note fundamentals are very present. Raw and nitrided tops of batch#5 are available right now and bottoms will be available in about 2 weeks from now. We still have a limited amount nitrided tops, nitrided bottoms and raw bottoms left for sale of batch#4. Raw tops are sold out.

Batch#6 is coming soon…

We have ordered batch#6, which is a DC04 grade steel that is leaning a little towards DC03. This would be quite interesting to try. You can expect batch#6 to be available from early July.

The very first custom made steel

We are in the process of having a batch of steel being custom made for us. This means that we have carefully chosen the chemical composition and mechanical properties that we deem best for making handpans. Through this we can create the steel that we want and with every new batch we can fine tune some of the variables. We are aiming for a quality close to batch#4, thus a DC04 quality of steel.

In this way we can keep recreating a material to make consistent quality instruments from. Imagine the steel being made in the same factory each time with the same chemical composition and mechanical properties while only slightly changing certain variables to improve the quality over time. This is something unique. Until this point in time the way to get DC04 or DC05 material to make shells from has not been that easy in the current high paced steel market. Companies, mostly from the automotive industry, are fighting to get these kinds of materials, often we had to wait a while until we finally received an offer for a material and had to decide in a couple of hours to either go for it or pass it on. It is kind of playing a Russian roulette, even with the right certificate, you do not know the final outcome until you make an instrument from it.

With our own steel made we can go on a journey of consistency and quality improvement. To have our own steel produced comes with higher costs, but we are happy to keep the same prices in order to bring you and ourselves the best material possible.

Yours sincerely,

Roy van den Bor and the rest of the Ayasa team