Ayasa Makers Newsletter November 2020
In this email you will read all about:
- Ember Steel
- Ayasa Makers Forum
- Updated Maker Shop
- Current stock overview
After years of extensive research on all kinds of different materials, we have finally found a stainless alloy that checks all our boxes: sustain, clarity, ceramic sound, workability, stability, rust protection and more. We have been extensively testing, and solely creating instruments from this material over the last few months. The possibilities for building and playing feel endless.
We would like to present to you Ember Steel:
- Sustain: Much like Stainless 430, though more controlled and often mentioned by players as “round” and less “wild”.
- Ceramic-like sound: The material feels more ceramic than AISI 430, shoulder tones of the notes are less present and more controlled. When having a correct shape of the center tonefield, crystal clear shoulder tones with sustain can be achieved.
- Rust protection: Our first instruments dating back 6 months show no signs of any rust. The shallow single time layer of rust that often happens on AISI430 is thus also not present on Ember Steel.
- Stability: When the border tension is balanced all the way around the note, the Ember Steel provides very stable notes. Easier to stabilize than AISI 430.
- Patina: The steel scratches rather more quickly than other materials before annealing. However, through annealing, a strong patina can be achieved which in turn scratches less easily than annealed AISI 430. Various temperatures give different colors, from bight golden, to ember/red to dark purple and even blue.
Jaron Tripp demonstrates the sound of our new Ember Steel Kurd
Three different batches
From our research we have found that every production of this alloy gives some significant differences. We tested over five different productions from three different steel factories. Each batch of steel has its own unique characteristics. They can, for example, require the use of different annealing temperatures to give the desired color and to reach the preferred level of hardness. We truly see this as one of the huge benefits of this material and this is why we are starting out with offering three different batches directly available for makers. As over the last few years of offering shells, we have found that every maker works in their own way and has their own preferences for material and vision for their desired sound.
Ember Steel Batch#1
This is the softest out of the three batches, we anneal these shells at 650C. We haven’t tested very low scales with this batch yet but our tendency goes that batch #2 and #3 are more suitable for this.
Ember Steel Batch#2
This batch works well for us between 550C and 600C. At 650C the notes become too hard to loosen for us. Of course this depends on your shaping and tuning techniques, perhaps 650C would work well for you! Our suggestion: If at 600C the metal is too soft, go up to 650C, if it’s too hard go down to possibly even 500.
Ember Steel Batch#3
This batch works for us similarly to batch#2.
Note: these are our experiences so far, we are still testing different oven temperatures and their resulting colors and hardness levels as well as different scales with the various steels. We have launched a forum where we would like to share our further experiences and invite you to share yours.
Because this is a new material, we suggest that you try out a couple of shells of each batch to find your best method per batch and then see which batch you prefer the most.
- The flange width is 2mm wider than the first AISI 430 stainless steel shells. The newest AISI 430 shells also have the new 2mm wider flange. The flange is now +- 15 mm wide. The shell (including flange) has a total diameter of 560mm, the diameter for tuning rings is still 530.
- The new ports on both the new Ember Steel batches have a new design. The reason for this is that the steel is harder than stainless steel and the ports were cracking with our old design. The neck is shorter as well. This means that your Helmholtz frequency is higher than it was with the old stainless shells. We mostly see it as an improvement because we notice that ourselves, as well as professional players, often tune the Helmholtz down by closing your legs. Meaning that now you will have a greater dynamic range. The height of the neck measured from the lowest point of the shell is 19mm.
The material is quite sensitive to scratches, that is why some shells (mainly Batch #1) have been polished to remove the scratches that were inflicted during the making of the steel and deep drawing of the shell.
Jeremy Nattagh playing the Ember Steel E Amara 20
Ayasa Makers Forum
At the moment there are no real up to date resources for new makers to start out or for existing makers to deepen their research. Surely they can find a lot of information in the old handpan.org or in the exchange makers group on Facebook. However, the former is quite outdated and requires payment for access and the latter lacks organization and categorization because it is a Facebook group. We are very pleased to announce that the Ayasa Makers Forum is now live!
Our idea is that all makers, whether or not you use Ayasa material, can share building techniques, tips and tricks and ask for help with any struggles. We ourselves will try to be active on the forum and we hope that many makers will do so too!
The forum runs on “Flarum” open source software. It is much like an old school forum. Only it doesn’t work with categories and sub-categories but with tags and sub-tags. Whenever you post something, make sure to check out which tags there are and then use the correct tags to start your discussion.
Read more about how to use the forum, in privacy or publicly, here.
From now on we will upload our newsletters not to the website but only to the forum, and we want to create a database for each of the materials that we offer with information on how to anneal, cook, clean etc. We hope to see you soon on the new forum!
Updated Maker Shop Website
We have now subdivided the Maker Shop into 5 sections to make the website more organized:
- Maker Shop (home page)
- Ember Steel
- Stainless AISI 430
- Tools and Supplies
We now sell sets of tuning rings, they work perfectly with all our types of steel and batches. Check out all the information on our new Tools and Supplies page.
Malte Marten playing the Ember Steel C# Pygmy 17 in our workshop
Ember Steel #1 - tops and bottoms
Ember Steel #2 - tops and bottoms
Ember Steel #3 - tops and bottoms
Stainless AISI 430 - tops and bottoms
DC04 Batch#14 - Tops are coming next week, bottoms in three weeks.
DC04 Batch#13 - nitrided bottoms only
DC04 Batch#12 - nitrided bottoms only
DC04 Batch#11 - nitrided bottoms only
DC04 Batch#10 - double nitrided tops (these shells went through the nitriding process twice, we have tested them and they are well workable, they feel a bit harder and still have more than enough sustain when finished. These are great shells if you are looking for a bit harder material)
Scrap shells - Tops are €20 each and bottoms are €30. Can be used for making outlining molds, forming a shaping mold and experiments etc. Not suitable for making instruments, can be raw or nitrided, scratched, rusted, have a bad nitriding layer (which can make them un-tunable) or bumped etc.
Our apologies for the low stock of DC04 top shells, they sold out faster than we anticipated and our deep-draw partner was too preoccupied with developing and forming the Ember Steel shells.
If you have any questions or wish to make an order, you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you are new please fill in the contact form at the bottom of this page.
As always… happy hammering!!
Ralf, Roy and the rest of the Ayasa team