Jun 26 2014

Gongs all made!

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gongsJust a quick one – these are the gongs we made for our Indiegogo supporters, mind all engraved and ready for their fittings. It’s not too late to get one of your own!



what is ed easier way to pay online!”>

A $150 donation to our big Burning Man project nets you a hand-engraved gong with your slogan Or inspirational quote of choice, a dowel chime, machined aluminum block pendant and slice pendant, crew patch and sticker. Just Paypal us at factoid@well.com and tell us your inscription in the comment field and we’ll get right to work on it for you! Thanks so much to all our gong-level Indiegogo supporters!

Check out the demo video!


Jul 2 2011

The freshing of the mallets

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Making mallets is very slow work. (Video)


First, try we buy 50 (fifty) 30-mm bouncyballs …


Then we drill 11/64-inch holes in them …


And stick them onto 16-inch-long rods of 3/8-inch (and 1/4-inch) fiberglass, procured from a Max-Gain Systems, a very friendly radio-antenna-supply house in Georgia (thanks, Google) …


After dipping (about which, more below) the blue ones look like this …


We make the soft mallets blue (to tell them apart from the hard, yellow sticks). Soft mallets work best on the lowest keys, where the soft hit of the bouncyball heads brings out the lower dominant tones of the metal. Hit those low keys with the hard sticks and all you hear is nasty overtones rather than the dominants.



Likewise, using the soft, blue mallets on the shorter upper keys and the disc gongs on XyloVan’s doors results in a muted tone. Those keys like to be hammered with the hard yellow sticks. Someday we’ll have to post a demo video to demonstrate. Either that, or you’ll have to find XyloVan and try it out yourself. ;D


We use PlastiDip, a fast-drying liquid vinyl compound …


The 3/8 “hard” sticks have no balls (yes, that’s a straight line) and so take multiple dips so that we build up a nice, reslient tip …


So, we’re still dipping …


As you’ll see in the (video), you have to wait a few seconds after each dip to let the excess drain off so that you don’t get drips or – even worse – the situation where the vinyl compound skins over and then sloughs off, taking most of the remaining liquid with it.

We stick them up to long strips of duct tape, which hold them long enough to dry …

And then eventually fail, dropping the dried sticks to the floor overnight.


More work to come!


Aug 4 2010

The quality goes in …

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I really like the way the starboard name plate came out. It seems to fit the flow of disc gongs pretty well. It’s playable, ambulance too.


Jun 4 2010

The loudest piece of metal on the van

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I love this thing.

It’s a piece of scrap – a 3/4-inch-thick slug of aluminum sliced off the end of a 13-inch-diameter aluminum cylinder.


Whack it, ed and it rings for more than a minute, physician with an intense, Döpplering tone.

I’m going to mount it on the front, and maybe I can hook it up to a simple solenoid so it can be rung from the driver’s seat.


May 20 2010

Mounting the disc gongs

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I fell in love with these things while scrounging through the scrap bins at Industrial Metal Supply.

They’re the sawn-off leavings of enormous logs of aluminum, this some of which had been many feet long and up to 12 inches thick.

They sound fantastic. And they look pretty graphic against the green of the van, viagra in nice contrast to the rectangular-keyed xylophones … Continue reading


Feb 22 2010

The G-sharp aluminum disk gong sounds like this

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