Instructables

How to Build a Hank Drum

Featured
Picture of How to Build a Hank Drum
This tutorial covers how to construct a hank drum, an instrument invented by Dennis Havlena that imitates the extremely expensive and difficult to obtain Hang Drum. This instrument can be built for $27 if one has all the necessary tools. A bargain considering one of these propane tank drums recently sold on ebay for over $10,000. The original instructions for this project can be found on Dennis Havlena's site at http://www.ehhs.cmich.edu/~dhavlena/for-webpage-lp-hang.htm

This tutorial can be watched or read depending on your preference:


 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Preparing for construction

Picture of Preparing for construction
L10942855.jpg
L10070517.jpg
hacksaw.jpg
pipe-wrench-1.jpg
metalfiles.jpg
korg-CA30.jpg
ctuner.gif
The construction process is quite simple and only requires a few supplies.

You'll need an empty propane tank. Try and find a new one that has never been filled to avoid horrific injury. I found my at Wal-Mart in the camping section for $27.

A drill or dremel, a saber, jig, or similar electric saw, hack-saw blade, wrench, file, and electric tuner. If you do not have a tuner, you can use one of several tuner programs that install onto your computer and use a microphone. Try checking http://www.mymusictools.com/download/tuner-software/ for one of these programs.

Step 2: Removing the Valve

Picture of Removing the Valve
First, remove the valve on the top of the propane tank. This mechanism is liquid-welded on and very difficult to remove. The best method is to use a wrench and then an extender such as a pipe to provide additional leverage.

Step 3: Remove Welded Ring

Picture of Remove Welded Ring
Next, remove the welded metal ring attached to the tank bottom. Try to avoid damaging the tank as this is where your notes will be cut. Chiseling or manually stressing the joints should allow you to "de-ring" the tank very quickly. File down any remaining nubs.
JMWins1 year ago
http://dennishavlena.com/
he is no longer at CMU, I guess
alleex1 year ago
Hello! I`m in truble with tuning I know nothing about notes :( Could you help my pls? I`ve downloaded cromatia tuner but I don`t know what number note must be and what "flat" note is I also don`t know. Would be great if you could give me exact letter and number for each tongue.

Thank you very much!
georion2 years ago
$10,000 ........................no way Jose
woody5584 years ago
Where do you get an empty propane tank?
You can get old propane tanks at campgrounds that fill them up,alot of times they will have old tanks of all sizes that cant be reconditioned.If you play your cards right they may even give you a couple,but be nice and always offer to pay them something,ones atitude always plays a big part in all dealings.
ZenBer woody5583 years ago
You could do worse than one of these Hank ready propane tanks.
You can get them brand new off of amazon for about 35 bucks.
Yeah, but then they'll be filled with propane.
I'm pretty sure that they are empty as USPS and UPS will not ship a full bottle of propane.
LPG tanks have a short lifespan because the gas causes the metal to become brittle. you can find them at any garbage dump or recycling yard. they are usually very cheap, because you can no longer use them for gas.

the steel is really tough. i'll bet you'd go through quite a few blades cutting this.
Thank you Dennis! I made my first drum according to his template. My neighbor's grandson like playing it so much that I gave it the paint job you see pictured and had her give it to him for his birthday. (And it's a tribute, not a model.)
I've made a second one with a different pentatonic tuning. Both are from recycled tanks.
Anyone have tips on removing the methyl mercaptan smell? I soaked mine in a bleach/water solution which did the trick, but causes instant rust all over. Makes me worry what it's doing to the inside of the tank.
r2 hank drum.jpg
You might try fresh lemon,lime,or even grapefruit juice.Use as much as you can and use a brush where you can after it has sat on a while.
Hey do you happen to have a copy of the tongue template before the website for it went 404 on me? Thought I'll ask someone who posted a long time ago. Thank you, and sorry for the late posting :D

R2D2?

Anyone else think the Hank Drum got it's name from King Of The Hill?
yes.
The instrument it is based off of is called a hang drum. Hang+tank+Hank.
soulmisfit2 years ago
Thanks for this Instructable! Super excited to give this a try. The sound has a nice mix of Gamelan like attack and decay.
rlmarket5 years ago
Kudos for an excellent Instructable, and to Michigan's Dennis Havlena. My hank drum was in tune at first but now each note is slightly flat after a week of playing (I can't hear it, but my electronic tuner says so.) Any ideas if this is from "work hardening" which makes metals stiffer from hammering? Do slight temperature differences affect the tuning noticeably? Also, any alternative templates or suggestions for tuning? Thanks!
Hermes (author)  rlmarket5 years ago
Temperature can affect tuning a lot. Don't worry if your instrument gets slightly out of tune, some may be because of the stress and some just transient temperature changes. As long as it remains in tune with itself, then there is not too much to worry about. ~Hermes
Id love to build my own hank drum but here in Italy tanks are too small or too tall:
http://www.dagiardino.it/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=bombola+propano&x=0&y=0

What can i do??
well, y'all won't wanna do this, but err,heat it up cherry red hold it there for a few seconds,(a magnet will not be attracted at the moment it is right). Then plunge it evenly into water tank, (metal garbage pail), cold water is best. Now we all know you need to completely protect your body from the erruption of steam that is gong to occur. Yo could use oil or even (i kid you not) urine. Then if you want it tempered like knife steel you reheat it to straw colored, (put it in a 450 oven and hold it for 30 miuntes, then open door and turn off oven)

1) you want to do this before paintingafter cutting, 2) you can demagnitise the magnet but not if you keep it from touching. As the thing gets close to that level it will begin to nt be attracted to the steel. I was told this method by a black smith inthe foundry at Colonial Wiliamsburg, and by a local smithie here on LI.

3) professionally made hangs have a hole in them, either top or bottom quite large actually so you could use a metal hole saw to make a hole then beat it with a shot put, (as is done when making steel pans). That hole allows you to coat the inside of the drum. I am getting a few used tanks on monday to do one.

I already made a simple ships bell from 1 pound prope can. I removed both valves and then ust tapped it with a finger. Sounds just like a ships brass bell. By cuttng it down (get a few of them) you can make a scale. If youcan find the right fitting youcan use the screw n threaded nipple as a mounting point, since it rings wonderfully even when holding it by that nipple. ttfn for now. Oh yes I fergit,I bought the dvd that Dennis Havlena offers, worth every pennyof the mere 10 0r soschadoles he asks for. The links shown here are no good anymore, but the tmplates are available. And he has one for side cutting the drumand a fat squat 1 pound bottle version.

sparkie
Thanks for the information on hardening steel. We'll be looking for your vids Spark Master!
Not me thanks, note the name, too many scars that don't go away, and the blood...then there are the melted screwdrivers from Tom Edison's Hell...

if you go to steel pans site < http://hotpans.se/pan/tuning/preface.php#history > you can see how to do this. Hang(k) drums are varients of steel drums or tubular bells, but kinda close to a gong (to me, scientifically who knows). I think they sound better, but steel drums are neat as well. And If someone ever chucked one out on the street by me (I have seen 2 full drum kits tossed by me) I would snag it instantly.

Perhaps that which makes them akin to so many other things also makes them unique so they are what they are.

Also, according to the pages when you burn the thing and quench it, you will strip away all paint and rust, but you must buff it out immediately and paint it. You could still make final adjustments on the thing, but after hardening it is harder.

last, if you want the bottom to remain untempered(hardened), get fireclay or hydrated lime (warning WARNING WARNING WARNING use masks and gloves it is
CAUSTIC CEMENT,
DANGEROUS TO BREATH,
DO NOT GET ON SKIN AARRGGHH), or use fire clay, ya still need to use mask and goggles, but less of a caustic issue.

Put a 1/4 inch thick layer of cement on the part you need to keep unhardened, allow to dry and proceed.

The coating will keep the steel from getting as hot as the rest and it should say a bit on the soft side. Additionally when you drench it stop at the clay line or just before it. This what gives SAmurai swords their bounce. The sword is hardened after sharpening on the edge all the way back to about a 1/4 of the spine then it is clay coated (but not in a perfect line) then it is fired and queunched.

Nasty Nasty Warning, ............................................................................................................since you are heating up steel and plunging it into ice water, you get a superheated steam for a second or two , very dsangerous you need to do it in a safe manner,


but

adding the clay or cement layer will add the possibility that the cement or clay can shatter and fly off at you like a gun shot.

Tis would be like going to a festival where they make Zeppoli in a big deep fryer and your kid goofing off chuckes a big fat ice cube into the oil (from behind you of course)

don't burn off anything important

sparkie
fluidman3 years ago
Hey I am actually building a Hank Drum for my Bass Science Olympiad instrument and I was wondering what you tuned your drum to?

Btw great instructable!!
rptalk2me5 years ago
Left out in direct sun in Texas gets my hanks out of tune but they come right back to concert pitch when left a few minutes in the shade. Several hot an cold cycles might help to stabilize the tuning.
A new hank should be tuned 25 cent sharp (or more if you want to paint it as this will lower the pitch of the tongues) and played for a month or so. Every week or so tune the instrument with itself to keep it playable but always leave it a bit sharp. This will let the stresses work themselves out and you will gradually approach concert pitch. I think most kinds of finish coatings take on or give up moisture as the relative humidity changes. This changes the pitch of the tongues. There may also be some rusting underneath the tongues that contributes to out of tuneness.

Check out the "how to make a hank" pics on my MySpace: http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewPicture&friendID=95889223&albumId=1691856

Check out my YouTube for some poor quality (sorry) hank vids. There's lots of hang and hank vids on my playlists and favorites too: http://www.youtube.com/user/rptalk2me
looks neato, it says the drumhad a chemical treatment, What was the treatment?
It's made by Metal Finishes Supply Inc.
but what was the finish you used?
"Copper Rust"
Ok I will look that up. I had a line on two free tanks, the gent put them out last night for me (and didn't tell me) someone snagged them for scrap metal, ggrrr. Well when I get another tank I will get one made.

thanks

sparkie
Love your picture sequence. Would like to make some suggestions and comments - however not possible - you might want to check on the programming so we can learn from each other. Jkimos
Thanks for your interest. Not sure what you mean about "programming".

There's lots of good info shared in the hankdrum collective. Check it out and if you cannot join send me your email and I'll send you and invite:
Click here:
http://hankdrum.collectivex.com/discussion/forums
Cheers,
RP
Thx curtis for the respons!!!
I just found some american tanks so i built one out of them.. it sounds awsome!!!!
Zircon
hi all
Im very interessted in making a hank drum. my Problem is im living in Switzerland and we dont have the same sizes of propan tanks as you can see here: http://www.vitogaz.ch/gas-flaschen.html

Now can i use one of these??? they are not soo cheap thats why im asking. Dont wanna try to build one if i have no change???

Thy Julian
yeah man! I've seen some really cool ones made from a smaller tank like the small one on your link, i recommend using the small tank because it looks like the bottom ring would be the easiest to remove, you will need to make your own template though. just start with small cuts and extend the length of the cuts to tune, lower frequency notes should be wider and higher can be more narrow. here's what the inventor says "
 a lot of people desiring to make a hank drum but living outside of the United States have reminded me that "20 pound propane tanks" are not available in their country! I have been trying to determine just what type of tanks ARE available overseas, with limited results. In any event, as evidenced by seeing very successful hanks made using other types of tanks on YouTube, if you've got one of  these other type of tanks, give it a try! You might consider not using my template,  but instead using my tongue shape & dimensions applied to your tank BUT with the legs of each tongue initially cut MUCH shorter. See what pitch this shortened tongue produces & carefully adjust accordingly. PLEASE LET ME KNOW how this goes so I can include more detailed info in this article. Thanks"    
I just finished mine with a used *gasp* propane tank. I still have all of my fingers and both of my eyebrows too. I must be losing my touch.
hank.jpg
all you do is fill the damn thing with water to evacuate any remaining gas first crazy man.
Did you put on a coat of primer on the tank BEFORE you put the paint on?
Nope. Just 2 coats of spray paint. It's been sitting out on my deck in the weather for months and months, and it still looks and sounds great.
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!