How to make a Tank Drum

so this public started about two years

ago in Barcelona during the summer and

again comes these guys go skating inside

the street and never seen an instrument

like this before

these are called a high a hang drum was

invented by two guys in Switzerland Eve

sometime around 2000 those drums are

really rare really hard to get her

hunting costs a couple of thousand euro

these so-called funky enough I walked

into a music shop about two days later

and they had one of these he also had

another type of drum called a happy drop

which is a tantrum and I have seen these

a couple of times in the years since but

I was never really happy with the sound

the first time I got to see one there

was attitude it didn't have a nice clear

ring to it and they just seemed like the

cheap knockoff alternative a behind so

they kind of went out of my head until

recently when I was in a great music

shop in Dublin and they had one that

sounded quite nice so in looking at it I

realized that there's not an awful lot

to these with a quick bit of internet

research I found that these are known as

tight drums and people make them out of

propane tanks are gas cylinders and

fortunately in my random pile of crap I

have kicking about at the back of the

house I have several cylinders which are

cracked open and fill full of water

ready to be used for a project the first

thing I did was get my cylinder I'm

prepared by taking off the bottom ring

now I wanted to find the center point so

I made a very simple flexible compass

out of a piece of string and I worked

off of the middle well sealed in the

cylinder to give me a rough centre point

once I found my center point I drew out

on a piece of paper eight equal segments

which I looked at with a compass I used

this piece of paper to transfer to the

top of the saloon the center portion I

just guessed the size of something that

will fit in the middle but then give me

enough room to put my tongues or in the


I drew my middle circle which is going

to be the person the second circle

doesn't have any purpose it was too

short the third circle its America how

close my tongues are going to be

I decided to have all my tongues facing

inwards and just to give the a more

symmetrical appearance now the sound of

these tongues are made by the different

sizes so they're going to vibrate at

different rates

just the same ways if you plan a ruler

and the edge of a table and make it

shorter to make a higher pitch sound

then a lower pitch sound if it's further

out or if it is more material to vibrate

up and down once I have the market and

pencil I go back around with America and

maximin I take my large compass and

America line around the tank and this

will be half the depth of my finding

drum I then took my bendable ruler again

and marked lines down but this didn't

work too clearly so I went back around

with some masking tape and spray-painted

the lines in I decided to work with two

different sizes of tongues

these were arbitrarily frozen there was

no scientific method in tech how big

these are going to be I just picked the

size that I thought would work and I

went from there I worked off the two

sizes of tongues at four big and four

small the different lengths of the cuts

and eve's will determine the notes from

there I take an angle grinder would at

any cutoff wheel ever make my first cut

with that so that I can get my jigsaw


now as it turned out the radius of the

circle was a bit tight for jigsaw blades

so I went back and filed it down on my

belt sander just to make it easier to

get around the radius of the circle so

in starting this eye no idea of what

size these needed to be or what pitch

they were going to come over but I had

but I didn't know the scale that I was

going to make or the notes that I was

going to make on this so I started by

making my first one seeing how it turned

out and then I made one of the smaller

ones beside it and compared the two

sands so then from those two I placed

those into the scale that I wanted to

make now this isn't as hard as it sounds

it was just a process of trial and error

I previously figured out what scale I

wanted to work with now in order to do

this I happen to have a player where is

a musical genius and knows all the

parody since kind of works feet were

masters and classical performance under

lifelong passion for music so if you

don't happen to have a clear I recommend

you get one because they come in very

handy for a process like this

once I cut in the tongue I use the

tuning app I got on my phone and it

brought me to where I had a sound that

was within the range that I wanted it to

be okay so with these smaller circles

that I put in place here this one turns

out that it's a day I should have made

them a little bit smaller I should have

made them just a touch smaller so on

these other ones I've simply just drawn

a line on the inside here taken off

maybe what's that three four mil and I'm

just going to work to that line that

will give me more space to come down and

so hopefully it'll make it easier to

make the higher pitch notes

I knew that taking the paint of these

was going to change the resonance

slightly so I figured because I'm going

to be lighter it would make them

slightly more high-pitched and that

turned out to be the case once I had my

first couple match I understood from

there where I have to go with the rest

of balls that I wanted to do I went back

in with my angle grinder cutting the

starting slot on all the large ones and

then went around with my jigsaw cut them

to shape and then began testing them for

sound now at this point I'm not shooting

it I'm just getting them in the ballpark

of where I wanted them to be once I had

all the notes could in I took a ratchet

strap wrapped it around and I use this

as a flexible ruler just to mark my line

and cut it off with a reciprocating saw

I did this for the other end as well at

this point I will say cutting into a gas

cylinder is a dangerous procedure even

if you have it open the cabin residual

oils or gas is left on the inside that

would a spark could explode so don't do

this at home don't try this find the

cylinder that's already open go to your

local scrap merchants you might be able

to get one there or buy one of the

cylinders that's empty and open you're

doing this at home you enter into this

at your own risk as I did myself so once

I have this done I go in with a flat

disc I take the rust off the inside and

the paint off the outside

then comes the fun pair the tuning now

at this point I simply listen to my note

and then it fits too high

I bring it down a touch by cutting the

lines in you want to always aim that

you're reducing your note not trying to

increase your note and the very first

one I made it was two notes too low so I

had to weld it and bring it back up this

isn't ideal because adding extra metal

can actually change how it vibrates and

it doesn't make for the nicest sound and

it takes a lot of fiddling just to bring

it back in so little by little what you

do is cut your note listen to reduce it

a bit more listen to reduce it a bit

more until you have it if you take it

down too far you can bring your note up

by bending the tongue up and down ever

so slightly there is also a technique of

tuning them with magnets but I didn't

find this very satisfactory once it was

all tuned I clean off the bottom section

and cut it out as well and then attack

weld it all in place

now from here i weld starting by tack

welding it in place to stop it moving

and then i weld in my scene now bed here

is where I wish I'd paid a bit more

attention when I was cutting it in half

to give myself a nicer line because

there was a few gaps I had to be filled

in with weld and it didn't leave the

nicest weld line

once it was all welded I grind down the

wells to make it a bit smoother using

the flat disk turned out to be a bit too

aggressive for removing the pain so I

have to sand the whole thing down

afterwards this is something that in the

future I'll do a bit differently once

all the time was done I'd give it a

quick wipe over with some acetone just

to take off any grease that might stop

the paint from sticking it was fairly

cold and workshop when I was doing this

so I used a hot-air gun to warm up the

drum to have the paint stick and dry

they also used it to warm up the cans so

that you get a better covered when using

spray paint in cold weather if the cans

are cold you tend to get a splattering

effect so if you walk the cans a little

bit you get a much more even consistent

spray with them so after several coats

of paint I have a nice little fade

effect going from black and the bottom

often to a silvery white on the top with

a little bit of color thrown in there

just for a bit of variation and then the

drum is done and all that's left to do

is figure out how to play it