Making the dimples of the Pantam – #2

a Pantam shell and a hammer

In the last chapter we talked about choosing the kind of steel and drawing the notes.

So we already drew our notes and placed them on the shell. Now it’s time to for us to take the Pantam shells and make some dimples!
I would suggest for the beginning to use PVC pipes. You can stick a piece of metal inside them so you transform their round shape into an oval shape – similar to the shape of the wanted dimple.

There are many ways to make the dimples, but if we are working only with our hands and hammers, we can glue the PVC pipe inside the shell and hammer from the outside. Do it gently and patiently until you form the shape of the dimple from hammering outside of the shell.

Tools for building a Pantam

Making the Ding

The ding is made the same, but instead of hammering from outside the shell, we will glue the PVC pipe to the outside of the shell, and hammer from the inside of the shell to create the popular dome in the center of your Handpan.

Now we have a shell with dimples and we are ready to start shaping our instrument and the ‘tone-fields’.
Here there are also many ways of forming the shape of the scale, but again we will follow the most basic ones.

By using the tip of a small hammer we can start hammering on the line of the tone-fields from inside the shell.
Once we have finished hammering the line of the tone-fields, we will notice that the ‘interstitial’ (the surface which is the space in between the notes) has stayed in his place while the outline of the tone-fields is sticking out of the shell. Now we will take a rubber hammer or wooden hammer and start curving the interstitial from the inside, so the result we are looking for is a perfect sphere that has flat fields in it.

After we have our shell looking great, with dimples and tone fields, we would want to release the tension which has been building up in the steel from all of our hard work and hammering.

Time for Tempering our Pantam

We would need to burn our shell, in a process called tempering. The temperature and time of burn changes between the material and the sound that you are looking for. This is a philosophy by itself, that only trial and error will help you achieve the sound which you are aiming for.

That’s it for this chapter.
In the next one, we will talk about tuning!
Let us know if you have more questions or tips from you own experience.
You can comment below or send us a message.
Stay tuned 🙂

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