Your handpan has been treated to make it rust resistant, however, in specific conditions, it can develop rust on the surface. The most well known catalyst for rust is moisture (i.e. condensation) when combined with physical contact with another material (i.e. fabric of your bag).
Here is a set of guidelines for you to be able to maintain the longevity of your handpan.
After use, wipe it down with a microfibre cloth. Wipe it immediately in the case of moisture being on the surface.
Oiling your Atlas
Lubing your instrument regularly will protect it from rust build up. Coconut oil works great, use a few drops and wipe with a microfibre cloth over the entirety of the surface. Depending on the regularity of your playing schedule, you could do this every couple of weeks.
A Note on Maintaining Global Sound Quality
In the event that your instrument is losing sustain (note longevity) you can wipe it with Alcohol 70% or 96% to remove the layer of oil.
In the event of rust
If rust appears on your instrument, it’s paramount to treat this as soon as possible, as it can spread further into the steel. Coconut grease on a slightly abrasive cloth works wonders (a home version of the Miracle Cloth). In case of more pronounced rust, “7448 Ultra Fine Scotch Brite Pad” helps. By applying alcohol 70 or 96% on the scotchbrite pad it’s possible to lightly sand the steel. Continue to sand until the rust colour is gone. This may lighten the surface of the affected area. Very fine steel wool can also help in sanding away rust. Some instruments have a brushed brass technique for example; and you will see colour changes in your instrument over time.
Storing your Atlas
When storing your handpan in a carrying case, adding a desiccant (moisture eater) is advisable to protect it from rust. When you are keeping your instrument at home, ensure that it is safe from shocks that could lead to it being detuned (children, animals, falling objects). A wall hook is a great solution, as is a handpan stand.
Giving your instrument the best environmental conditions will ensure its longevity. Avoid keeping your Atlas in direct sunlight as the instrument can heat up really fast! Exposure to high temperatures can detune the instrument, and you require a retuning service. However, after it has been in the sun, once returned to a cool and dry place it should return to its original tuning.
Travelling with your Atlas
When travelling with your Atlas, choose a bag that provides physical protection and is adapted to the conditions of transport means. Ensure that your handpan is carried on as hand luggage. Avoid keeping your Atlas in humid environments as the moisture can lead to rust on the steel.