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Jack Devereux

Bending Iron Heating Element

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Hey folks- a buddy gave me this bending iron a while back. I like the shape a lot but it needs a new heating element. Any thoughts? As you can see in the picture, the iron is hollow and has a post that runs up to the top. Presumably this is where the element gets attached? I've been looking at various cartridge elements and soldering iron parts, but wanted to check if anybody had a better sense of what would work.

Thanks,

JD

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Seeing this is your fourth post and no replies so far I thought I might be able to help a bit. First if you would have been able to down load a photo or two, that would help. Second there have been a truck load of threads on this topic, just Google something like violin bending iron. There should be several links show up with information that you want.

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Hi Jack,

  I can't see the picture if you meant to post it this time.

  I replaced the cartridge heater element in mine with a CIR-30202/120V from Omega.ca.  Its a 1/2" diameter, 2" long 250W unit.  http://www.omega.ca/pptst_eng/CIR_12.html 

  I'm assuming you're in North America so 120V is fine.  Check your length and diameter.  The wattage should ok.  Also a good time to pick up a PID and thermocouple off ebay and give yourself a nice accurate bending iron temperature control.

 

Thanks

Stephen

 

 

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Hey, sorry about that. I was posting from the shop on my phone and couldn't figure out how to get the pictures loaded. Here they are. Its kind of a funky old thing, with no label that I can see. Any thoughts? Thanks!

 

 

IMG_1635.JPG?format=500w

IMG_1636.JPG?format=500w

 

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I think the heating element is at the other end of that post at the top. Try prying out the post and the whole plug will come out with the element.

 

Well, that's my opinion FWIW. No guarantees.

 

Mike

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Hey folks- a buddy gave me this bending iron a while back. I like the shape a lot but it needs a new heating element. Any thoughts? As you can see in the picture, the iron is hollow and has a post that runs up to the top. Presumably this is where the element gets attached? I've been looking at various cartridge elements and soldering iron parts, but wanted to check if anybody had a better sense of what would work.

Thanks,

JD

I agree with you, Jack. That post in the middle of the iron was very likely the point of attachment for the original heating element.

I think the heating element is at the other end of that post at the top. Try prying out the post and the whole plug will come out with the element.

Well, that's my opinion FWIW. No guarantees.

Mike

I'm inclined to disagree with you, Mike. If you were correct where are the electrical leads for connecting this to a power source?

Having gone down many device repair "rabbit holes" like this one, my best advice here is to forget about it. If you manage to find a suitable element, then you'll need a suitable thermostat or voltage regulator. The odds of getting everything right and reliable seem negligible to me. Sometimes retreat is the better part of valor. JMHO.

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I'm inclined to disagree with you, Mike. If you were correct where are the electrical leads for connecting this to a power source?

I thought the post is one electrode (hot) and the body is grounded (neutral). This was a common (and not safe) way appliances (toasters) were once made. If this is true, throw it out and get a modern one.

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Might work to wedge a couple of cartridge heaters in the inside corners, using compression springs running between to hold them in place.

 

A rotary light dimmer switch to control temperature

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that post does  looks like a bolt to hold the element, looks like the element  rusted off , little pieces left around the nut ( maybe ) .

 

 you could just make a metal holder that the plate would fit into the 4 holes on each corner, put it on a hot plate and drop it on the holder in a vise . unless you are doing a lot of bending it would give you plenty of time to a number of ribs. 

 you would want to wire brush all that paint off first or it would stink and smoke . 

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that post does  looks like a bolt to hold the element, looks like the element  rusted off , little pieces left around the nut ( maybe ) .

 

 you could just make a metal holder that the plate would fit into the 4 holes on each corner, put it on a hot plate and drop it on the holder in a vise . unless you are doing a lot of bending it would give you plenty of time to a number of ribs. 

 you would want to wire brush all that paint off first or it would stink and smoke . 

Sounds right, but why are we messing with such an old unsafe tool? Penny-wise, pound(dollar)-foolish.

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That iron makes no Sense to me.

I wonder might it have been filled with sand and the elements set in that.

before I had an element in my cello iron I heated it with a spirit lamp standing underneath. The heat was barely enough - it was a solid block of aluminium - so I had a bonnet on the iron to insulate it when I wasn't actually bending ribs.

if you make could bolt this one on to a strong metal box , leaving a side open , I think a little spirit lamp would work very well , and be very controllable.

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Sounds right, but why are we messing with such an old unsafe tool? Penny-wise, pound(dollar)-foolish.

Maybe because if the shape and materials are ideal, it could be made into a really good tool for around 25 bucks?

 

I'm not much of an advocate of being "penny wise and pound foolish", like putting $500 worth of labor into an old plane which will never work as well as an off-the-shelf Lie Nielsen, but this project looks pretty simple. A cartridge heater or too, a light dimmer to control the heat,  a grounded cord, and a little entry-level wiring knowledge.

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Maybe because if the shape and materials are ideal, it could be made into a really good tool for around 25 bucks?

 

I'm not much of an advocate of being "penny wise and pound foolish", like putting $500 worth of labor into an old plane which will never work as well as an off-the-shelf Lie Nielsen, but this project looks pretty simple. A cartridge heater or too, a light dimmer to control the heat,  a grounded cord, and a little entry-level wiring knowledge.

Agree fully. I made my own bending iron many years ago and it works fine. I used just thick walled pipe with one end weld-closed and used simple resistance wire heater from some heat lamp or something filled the space with washed sand (to prevent smoking during first uses) and closed with sheet metal lid. Some basic wiring grounding and old dimmer etc. Didn't cost me more than $10 and two or three hours of my time.

If I had base like that I would find some ceramic core with hole fitting into the iron and wind some resistance wire of appropriate length for required wattage and fill with sand (might add some water glass so it would not fall out eventually) or like David suggests get some pre-made cartriges and fill with sand or fire clay. You can even get some decent thermostats onebay cheaply to control temperature precisely.

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Sand isn't a very good thermal conductor. You need something to transfer heat from the cartridge heater to the shell of the bending iron. If you're comfortable working with lead, you could stand the heater upright inside the iron a cast it in with molten lead. If you go this route, it's important not to ever overheat it (I wouldn't go higher than 450F), otherwise the lead will start to melt.

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If you're comfortable working with spent nuclear reactor fuel, you could fill the steel cavity with some of that. The great advantage, of course, is that the iron will alway be warm, without even having to plug it in. Think of the energy savings! If you go this route, it's important to have a good cooling plan B in the event of overheating. You don't want a China Syndrome event in your workshop. In California, where I live, you would have to include the warning that "This product contains materials known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm." But come on, what doesn't?

(Sorry Bill, I just couldn't help myself. ;) )

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Sand isn't a very good thermal conductor. You need something to transfer heat from the cartridge heater to the shell of the bending iron. If you're comfortable working with lead, you could stand the heater upright inside the iron a cast it in with molten lead. If you go this route, it's important not to ever overheat it (I wouldn't go higher than 450F), otherwise the lead will start to melt.

Sand is not the best heat conductor but once hot it will certainly keep the heat for a long time. I made my iron with sand inside and it just works. It takes 20 minutest to get to full heat but when I turn it off it will still be hot enough for bending for 20 more minutes. If you use thermostat this will give you more stable temperature without too much switching on an off.

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Thanks for all the information! 

 

The thing is definitely funky, but I've heated it up with a blow torch for a few fiddles worth of ribs, and the shape is great. Might be worth just continuing to do that.

 

On a related topic- does anyone have any experience with the Caramillo iron? It has the most similar shape to anything I've seen commercially available, and seems much less likely to burn the shop down... 

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