Ayasa Makers Newsletter December 2019
In this email you will read about our new stainless material, batch#11, batch#12 and about our recent move to our new workshop in Almere.
Deepdrawn Stainless Steel AISI 430 1mm
For the last few months we have been experimenting with making instruments from our deepdrawn stainless steel shells, we wanted to make sure that the material sounds great and the notes are stable over time. As of now we are satisfied with our results and thus we proudly present our stainless material.
Makers often comment how difficult it is to work with stainless material, but we found that cooking our deepdrawn shells at specific temperatures (see below) reduces the difficulty in stabilizing the notes.
Another factor is that our material is 1mm deepdrawn compared to 1.2mm handsunk. spun or hydroformed (what most makers have used). Deepdrawing causes a maximum loss in thickness of 10%, which would mean that the thinnest part of the shell would be at least 0.9mm thick. Compare this to hydroforming, spinning or handsinking and you will find a much larger thickness spread. From measurements we have done with these forming processes the thickness loss can be as much as 30%, causing a big imbalance in the shells. Some parts would be really thick and hard and other parts can be really thin and soft, leading to all sorts of problems with tuning, lasting stability and sound of the notes. Because of losing at most only 10% when deepdrawing, the 1mm stainless does not feel and sound thin to the hands and ears as you might expect it to.
We also managed to make 1.2mm deepdrawn stainless shells and have tested them. However, we believe the material is just too thick. It leads to notes being really hard to tune and when playing the 1.2mm instruments we found a decreased sensitivity of touch compared to the 1mm stainless and thereby a loss in the expressive qualities of the instrument.
A few pointers:
- Since our latest experiments we anneal at 550 degrees Celsius and cook between tuning rounds at 325. Temperatures are thus considerably higher than with DC04 and we recommend to experiment close to the aforementioned temperatures. It’s also worth considering not every oven is calibrated the same, the placement of the shell and the thermometer in the oven can also have an effect on the actual temperature of the shell and the temperature you read on your oven’s display.
- The radius of the transition between the shell and the flange is bigger than you are used to with our regular shells.
- To compensate the above, the flange itself is wider than our DC04 shells (around 14mm compared to 0.9 mm). For most tuning rings this will not cause any problems, although some tuning rings may have the bolts too close to the shell and therefore will not fit our stainless shells. A bigger flange will also mean less warping of the shell.
- You can experiment with making tonefields smaller than what you are used to. We make the tonefields one size smaller compared to our nitrided steel at this moment, maybe we could drop another one or two semitones in size.
- Make sure that you do not get the oil that is on a stainless shell onto a DC04 shell, it can cause rust.
- Don’t use scotchbrite pads to clean or polish stainless shells, you will scratch them. Just use paper towels and alcohol.
- Oiling the instrument with phoenix oil after cleaning with alcohol, will give an amazing finish to the surface of the instrument.
- Try to already stabilize the notes in the second round of tuning or maybe even the first, make sure the notes do not detune from striking the note hard with a beater (we use steel drum mallets). If the note does detune, then tune again or try to get the note in tune in another way.
The stainless tops and bottoms are the same price as nitrided tops and bottoms. The material cost of stainless is higher as well as costs for forming of the shells, however, we of course do not have to nitride this material. Tops and bottoms are available as of now. See the unedited video below of our most recent creation with exactly this material.
This batch as already been for sale for a few weeks, we have not been able to make an instrument earlier because we were still setting up our workshop. The material is easy to work with and we love the sound. From a few makers we already received positive feedback on this material. See the demo video below,
Our newest batch just came in a few weeks ago. Uniquely we have been able to test this material before ordering our usual quantity. We liked the results and decided to go for a large order. This material is especially easy to work with, has a ceramic sound and the harmonics are quite present. See the demo video below.
The flange from batch#12 onward is 1mm wider than all previous batches, we increased the width from 9 to 10 mm in order to make gluing easier and to have less warping of shells. We might increase the flange with another 1 or 2 mm depending on the experience we will have and we are also curious to your feedback.
Final stages of the move
The move to Almere provided more challenges than we initially thought! But we finally came to a point where we slowly started to build some instruments again and have some time to make videos for the new materials.
If you have any questions or wish to make an order, you can reply to this email directly and let us know.
As always… happy hammering!!
Roy van den Bor and the rest of the Ayasa team