Buying Pre-Sunk / Pre-Formed HandPan Shells

While ideally, if we were to start trying our hands at HandPan making (a half-dream of ours), we'd like to learn from scratch, shell sinking and-all. It does seem like there could be some advantages to buying pre-formed shells. For one, it’s going to take a lot of the ‘grunt’ work out of building a HandPan - the endless hours of bashing away with a hammer, and the noise that must accompany that process (although much hammering is obviously still involved in the tuning process). And for another, buying shells from a known and trusted manufacturer, eliminates the need to experiment with different metals (something to save for later - when pushing your skills) - by providing a proven blank canvas upon which to work.

Handpan shells, are the blank steel domes from which Handpan can be formed, and tuned. They can be hand-hammered into shape (using a mallet, or compressed air hammer) from sheet-steel, or formed using other methods, such as spinning, and deep-drawing.  And in terms of what sellers are currently offering, some come completely blank, while others are now being sold with either the Ding (top nipple-like note), or the Gu (hole in the bottom), already in place.  

As more sellers arrive on the market, prices are naturally beginning to fall with the increased availability.  And a number of highly-regarded makers are known to have either experimented with, or use exclusively, Handpan shells produced by other makers.

As hinted at above, probably the most important thing to check for when looking to purchase pre-formed Handpan shells, is some kind of evidence that the shells are fit-for-purpose.  While the qualifications required to produce good Handpan shells, are not necessarily the same as those required to become a good Handpan tuner, without being able to hear a Handpan that has actually been made with the shells in question, you can't really be sure, that the shells being sold are suitable for the construction of Handpan.  And have the right qualities to sing.

The thickness of the metal, for example, is just one factor, that if too far off, could render a Handpan shell useless for the purposes of building Handpan.

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