Senin, 02 Februari 2009

TAMA Drum Factory Tour


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Here, you can see the sheets of wood that have already been sorted and stacked by the specific materials, thickness, and the direction of the wood grain.


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These materials have been cut into specified sizes when they arrived at the TAMA factory. But they have very slight individual differences, usually plus or minus 1mm. The pre-cut sizes are sometimes affected by humidity, temperature and weather from day to day, so TAMA re-cuts the materials to the exactly specified sizes just before they are molded.


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With the tap-in method of drum shell making, the wood plies are inserted into a specifically sized mold and then each ply, one by one, is tapped in with a hammer and wood block.
First the craftsman lightly hammers the outer ply into the mold, then the middle plies, and finally the inner plies are hammered into the mold.


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Both sides of the inner ply and outer ply woods are glued to the middle plies in the mold.


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After the three ply sections are tapped into the mold, an inner molding cylinder is brought down from above into the shell.
This “inner mold” is spread out by rotating the handle which presses the inside of the shell to make sure the shell plies are glued firmly.


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This operation requires just the right amount of pressure to be applied; if there’s too much pressure, the shell may crack. But if it’s not tightened enough, the shell will be “loose” with air spaces, and excess glue may remain between the wood plies. Only experienced craftsmen have the skills to master this delicate procedure.


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After pressing the inside molds, the shells are heated and the glue is dried within a certain timeframe. At this point, the flat plies have been reborn as a drum shell.

This is a very detailed and time-consuming process. Depending on a number of different variables, it takes approximately 30 minutes for TAMA drum makers to complete the molding process. And that means only two drum shells can be molded in an hour.

Of course we know this method isn’t the fastest or easiest way. Actually, if we crafted shells with the standard split-style molds used by most drum manufacturers, we could save a great deal of time. But we have chosen not to go in that direction because we firmly believe our method produces the very best quality shell.



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After the molding process is completed, the shells are cut into their ordered sizes using our specially designed machines. This process determines the precision and accuracy of the shells, which directly affects their sound and tuning. It is critical that shells are cut perfectly on each end.


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To achieve precision cuts, the shells are first attached firmly at three points on the inside of the shell.


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Next, the shells are simultaneously cut with two parallel disk saws (shown in red highlights in the photo). Cutting shells with two disk saws at one time allows us to create precise parallel edges on our TAMA shells.


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After the cutting process, the shells are sanded on a different machine. The surface of the shells must be smooth and consistent because these factors directly affect the next process (painting), and our craftspeople pay very close attention to this aspect of the shell-making process.
Photo4: Sanding the interior.
Photo5: Sanding the exterior


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Most drums back in the fifties and sixties had internal shell reinforcements. Throughout the years, technology has improved, and many drums are now made without them. But players who enjoy the sound of vintage drums can request Sound Focus Rings (SFR) as an option in the Starclassic Maple series. These shell reinforcements add a mellow, slightly muted sound to the basic tone of the drum. This makes the drum sound warmer and fuller.

Between the process of shell molding and painting, the SFRs are glued in by hand. SFRs are basically made from a shell of the same diameter of the one into which they are being placed. SFRs for bass drums are sliced to a 35mm width. SFRs for tom toms and snare drums are sliced to a 25mm width. Then the SFRs are glued inside of the shell one by one, while adjusting the diameter of the SFR by hand.

Photo 1: First, SFRs are cut into one section, and then their cross sections are shaved at each end carefully with a planer so they fit snugly inside the shell. Since each shell has some minimal individual differences, SFR lengths cannot be pre-cut. Our craftsmen must shave and adjust them carefully with a planer to ensure the perfect fit. This “hands-on” adjustment can only be executed by a seasoned craftsman with long and extensive experience. It takes time and requires a very delicate and sensitive touch. TAMA’s SFR shell design provides a soft and gentle sound, and this concept is reinforced by adding the human touch of the handcrafting that goes into it.

Photo2 & 3: After adjusting the length, the SFRs are glued and hammered carefully on the top and bottom edge of the inside of the shell.



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There are more than twenty processes in TAMA’s painting operation. Some examples include: painting, spraying, drying, buffing, etc. In fact, not all of our processes are required to make ordinary finished shells. If we decided to not utilize some of these extra processes, we could have higher productivity. But we have never considered this idea because all of these steps are necessary in order to meet the TAMA standard.

TAMA’s dedication to our painting process begins with choosing the natural color and shade of the raw wood shell itself.

In TAMA’s way of thinking, the finished color of a drum can vary as widely, depending on the color of the raw wood, as the final paint colors of an oil painting can change when applied over different kinds of canvases.

First, TAMA craftsmen select the drum shell based on its raw and natural color. Every piece of wood will have a slightly different shade and natural tint. Once a matching set of shells has been selected, the painting process begins. This guarantees all shells will match exactly when the drums are assembled as a complete set. Without this process, the finished drums might not match; some could be lighter or darker, and the complete set would not have a consistent and professional appearance.


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There are various choices in lacquered finishes. For example, there are fade colors, see-through colors and beautiful sparkle/glitter colors. And each finish needs its own unique method of painting.

For example, when painting dark colors, we have to spray the paint evenly one time only. If you spray the paint too many times, the finish becomes dull. In contrast, when painting lighter colors, we spray the paint over and over, adjusting the color little by little. It’s difficult to achieve subtle color variations by spraying thicker paint.


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After the first painting process, the shells are dried, sanded down, and then painted again – we repeat this process many times to provide our shell finishes with much greater depth of color.

Choosing the right combination of the above methods, according to the needs of each different finish, is not easy work and requires many years of experience. Naturally, this kind of meticulous attention to detail is slow and time consuming. Nevertheless, TAMA chooses these methods over speed because our craftsmen insist on producing the very best quality drums for every drummer who wants to play TAMA.


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For Starclassic Bubinga and Starclassic Maple drums with lacquered finishes, we apply the decal on the shell by hand (Photo 4), one by one.


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After machine-sanding the shells, our craftsmen check them individually and then sand them by hand, addressing tiny issues which the machine can’t do.

The experienced eyes of our TAMA craftsmen


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The final operation of the painting process is buffing the shells by using a soft cloth to put a sheen on the drums. The shells waiting for buffing are in photo 7. Buffing is done in two directions, horizontally (Photo 8), and then vertically (Photo 9). The shell painting processes are now complete.
(Photo 10). TAMA utilizes specialized machinery which buff the shells in both horizontal and vertical directions.



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While many drummers choose lacquer finishes for their drums, covered finishes enjoy equal popularity because of their durability and wide variety of colors and designs. Photo 1 shows glue being applied to the entire back of a covering sheet.

Though most drum makers glue only the ends of the covering sheet to the drum shell, TAMA glues 100% of the back of the covering sheet to the shell. Gluing the entire sheet integrates the covering sheet and the shell, increases moisture prevention, and solidifies the sound.

Glue is applied to the entire back of the covering sheet as shown in Photo 1. This prevents the sheet from coming off the shell. It also allows the drum to resonate more naturally. Next, the covering sheet and shell are pressed together by a special machine (Photo 2). The pressing machine has two rollers, top and bottom. These rollers give consistent pressure to the covering sheet and shell to ensure complete adherence. After this process, the shells are carefully checked for unwanted air pockets between the covering sheet and shell. Before the wrapping process, a vertical groove is cut on the shell where each end of the covering sheet will overlap to reduce the thickness of the sheet joint.

After the covering sheet is glued to the shell, the excess covering sheet material is trimmed as shown in Photo 4.



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The final process of making the drum shell is edge cutting. TAMA has introduced a special computerized machine for precise edge cutting. This machine uses a CCD digital imaging camera to measure tiny imperfections on the edge surface and then cuts the bearing edge precisely by following the contour of each shell’s individual data.


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However, even though we use a very specialized machine, the final check has to be done by the craftsmen’s eyes and hands. Craftsmen hand-sand a subtle rough section of the edge, which is an inevitable byproduct from the edge-cutting machine. Then, the craftsmen complete the drum shell. (photo 2)
By combining the benefits of machine precision and human touch, we are able to achieve TAMA quality.



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After finishing the painting or covering processes, the shells are drilled for shell hardware by our specialized machine. The holes are aligned in preset positions which are set by series and size automatically.



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Next, additional shell parts such as lugs are installed by hand (Photo 1&2). At the TAMA factory, workers carefully check every detail of each shell. Even the smallest parts such as bolts or washers are carefully checked. This final inspection process is handled by the most experienced staff. Many of these people have worked at TAMA for decades. TAMA drums are then assembled by these same staff members and then an “inspection tag” with their signature is attached to each drum. (Photo 3).


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After the shells are fully assembled and inspected, the TAMA drums are carefully packed and ready to ship to retailers and dealers all over the world. (Photo 4&5).

http://www.tamadrum.co.jp/usa/Inside_TAMA/factory_001.html

1 komentar:

  1. i m p r e s i o n a n t e !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BalasHapus