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New bending iron


Andres Sender
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I've been looking forward to making a dream bending iron for a while now and finally got around to it.

Thanks to Matt for some part/sourcing information, and to Michael D. for the McMaster lead ages ago, and to Bud for showing awhile back that inside yon block of aluminum there is an iron just waiting to be released.

iron4xb5.jpg

I hired someone else to do the grunt work, as my bandsaw is in storage at the moment. Even doing that the parts cost less than the Ibex.

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The idea with the shape was to make it easier to get the smallest radius I'm likely to need, on the smallest c-bout I'm likely to do. I tweaked that to make sure there was a lot of variation in the radii.

I haven't put it through a full workout yet, but so far it's been sturdy. I will update after I do a set of ribs on it. So far there has been no tendency for heat to get into the box, either from the heating element wires or from the iron itself.

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After reading this post, and MATT's from a while back, I thought of taking my commercial bending iron (like from Stewmac) to someone and just having them reshape it a bit more to my liking. Andres or MATT, in making yours, what kind of person would you seek to do this job, just a machinist or tool maker?

Sean

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Sean the problem there is that those bending irons are hollow, so there is not really enough room to reshape them.

I had an old-fashioned general machine shop saw and grind the shape for me from a template. The trick is to find a place which does lots of small jobs. It will probably look like they're not doing very well.

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I used a shop bandsaw, and a belt sander to shape mine. If you have a medium sized bandsaw, cut out the outline with a series of straight cuts to end up with a roughly coffin shape, then put on a pair of heavy leather work gloves, get a five gallon bucket of water to periodically cool the work. 60 grit on a bench type belt sander does a beautiful job.

Here's mine.

bending_iron.jpg mine.

I keep meaning to dress it up a bit, but it works great. I use a copper flashing bendin strip, , and just wrap it around the iron, which is shaped just like a strad "C" bout, then let the rib cool in the malleable copper strip for a bit. Perfect fit.

sometimes I transfer the rib to this cold bending form for a day in the sun. ribbending.JPG

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If you have a bandsaw, a belt-sander and a drill press, you can do all this yourself. Use a "skip-tooth" blade on the saw, and start with pretty coarse grit on the sander--60-grit at the finest-- I sould start with 36.

Be warned: the aluminum will get very hot, very quickly-- it is an excellent conductor of heat.

Heater cartridges are available through McMaster-Carr...

Fiddle faddle beat me to it. All told, this is a pretty easy DIY.

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quote:


Sean the problem there is that those bending irons are hollow, so there is not really enough room to reshape them.

Thanks for the tip, I suspected it was somewhat hollow. I really don't want to do that much and can probably do it on the belt sander. I just hate doing that kind of stuff

Sean

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quote:


Originally posted by:
colledge

After reading this post, and MATT's from a while back, I thought of taking my commercial bending iron (like from Stewmac) to someone and just having them reshape it a bit more to my liking. Andres or MATT, in making yours, what kind of person would you seek to do this job, just a machinist or tool maker?

Sean

As said already the Ibex are hollow with walls about 3mm thick. Not any shaping room at all really. The walls on the Ibex are already on the thin side for holding the heat, which a damp rib can suck out quite quickly. My new one is much better for retaining heat, unplug it after bending and it is still fairly hot an hour later.

I drew mine out on paper, then in AutoCad, and had my work do it for free. They have several CNC machines of different types. Too bad the shape of mine just doesn't make it as easy as I was hoping to do the c-bouts.

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Comforting words from MATT. I was planning on casting my aluminium body as/Ibex with a hollow interior. The man mentions solid and my engineering brain replies "of course!" - that will also save a fair amount of time making the foam mould.

OK so it will need more metal, but I have a load of brass, aluminium and copper turnings - maybe I'll try mix an aluminium-bronzish alloy and cast it in that.

I've already have the cartridge heater, a solid state relay and a rheostat.

One wrinkle - I will build the iron into the centre of a 600mm x 300mm formica topped "table". Hopefully this will help to keep things square when doing the cello ribs.

Later today I'll be off to the post office and release my first parcel of tonewood from "bondage foul" - then long may the chips fall.

cheers edi

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Hello NewNewbie - this luthery business has gone beyond a joke!!!!

I always knew that one day I would attempt to build a cello of my own. (Note the singular - "a cello")

So when chance ambushed me, I bought two sets of cello wood. (Please note the "two cellos") I decided that I would make one after-Montagnana and the other after the little Strad. Life was so peaceful. When Brian opened his violin-making classes I was right there. A practice violin back turned out well and the M-mould has been completed.

A trip to Europe to visit family in Croatia was a disaster! I visit Mittenwald - saw a one-piece cello back in birdseye maple! It wouldn't let go and shortly after I returned, I ended up ordering not only the cello bits - but also matched bits for 2 violins and a viola. (Note - the count has now risen to 3 cellos, 2 violins, 1 viola and just to mention them - 15 Guinea fowls in the back garden!)

Last week, COB3 mentions helping someone cut a viola back out of the inside of the cello wood. I haul out the wood, measure, plot archings - yup it's possible to extract violin backs (Note: it's now 3C, 4V and a lone Va).

The margins to do this successfully are slim - so over the weekend I put pencil to paper and dream up a jig that allows one to saw out the violin plates from the glued plate - as well as a one-piece back ...(3C, 5V and a lone Va)

Today I received my tonewood order - what bliss - how lovely the birdseye pattern - what promise of an extended happy hour. How heavy the one-piece cello back! - Why it's full thickness all over ... mmm - if I make a jig I could bandsaw two wedges off the top side, join them and voila! - another two violins....(3 cellos, 7 violins and a lone viola).

...and all that before I've taken even one shaving in anger.

Oh well, I'll be retired again in 20 months time - and I have an Aunt who'll be 100 next year, an Uncle who is rushing along to 93, one other Uncle died at 94 ... similar long lived genes on my Mother's side...

Rose (SWMBO) has suggested that I turn the bottom bedroom into a studio.

Sorry NewNewbie what was your question again?

cheers edi

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Those guinea fowl in the back garden could complicate matters--How will you be able to tell whether you actually have a dry bearing about to self-destruct, on your bandsaw, or it is just the guinea fowl again...?

:-)

I can certainly relate to the addictive aspect of lutherie. The guinea fowl are another matter. There lies madness...

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Hmmm...what I got there were two little squares with red "x"s in 'em. I tried right-click, show picture, to no avail. I'm left with the garbled message that guinea fowl either do not lay square eggs, or they do, but they are not safe to eat...

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