A lot of innovators nowadays are using steel pans as the primary material in their drums. Of course, it is not an easy process. In fact, it takes five days before manufacturers can produce these steel drum.
Meanwhile, each of these drums has a price of more than $1,500 or more. Now, that's a satisfying job!
Primarily, manufacturers use high quality 55-gallon drums. Specifically, they inspect the steel of these drums and decide if they are ideal for musical applications.
After they finally find the right drum, they use a large hammer to tap the bottom portion of the barrel. They will continue to strike the barrel until it forms a concave shape. They call this process as sinking.
Sinking is the most exhausting part of making steel pans. Moreover, they have to be careful in striking the barrel. The stretch they have to achieve should be as even as possible. They have to avoid deforming or tearing the rim.
After the sinking process, manufacturers will temper the entire drum to enhance the strength of the steel. Specifically, they apply heat (via the use of a torch or fire) to the metal until it turns red.
At a particular time, they will instantly splash water to the pan to quickly call it down. They call this method tempering, and many metal artisans use this to increase the resiliency of their products.
It essential for them to harden the barrel so that the latter can withstand the tuning process. Notably, the tuning involves the use of a chisel.
Makers cut the "skirt" or the side of the barrel. Furthermore, they also drill holes on the rim portion so that they can hang the drum with the use of a rope or wire.
After this, the drum maker uses stroboscope or a melodica for tuning. Specifically, they hammer the areas of the drum to find the distinct notes.
They will smooth these areas until they can produce the appropriate vibration. Moreover, all of the notes of the drum must be in harmony with each other.