View Full Version : Adapting LMI side bending machine for ukulele

03-25-2015, 12:21 PM
Just wondering if anyone has adapted the LMI guitar side bending machine hardware to work with tenor or concert size ukulele sides? I'm not sure if the roller system will work properly over the much tighter radii of a ukulele body. The screw press should be OK and I'm not too worried about mounting the forms on top of the temperature controller, but the rollers may be an issue. Good to have some idea before embarking on making a new set of formers!

03-26-2015, 04:26 PM
It works great along the lower bout, but I've yet to not crack it while bending the upper bout with the rollers alone. What I have found that works is to use a piece of dowel to use as a caul to bring the upper bout down some to allow you to get the rollers in there...then use them to complete the rest of the bend. The screw press works just fine. I'll try to post some pictures this weekend.

03-26-2015, 11:38 PM
I I'll try to post some pictures this weekend.

If you can, that would be great! I like the idea of using a dowel to create clearance for the rollers. Sounds as if it is worth me investing in a smaller blanket and having a go at the conversion anyway. Strange the upper bout isn't working so well. Are you using the waist bending blanket for the ukes? i was thinking it might not be needed (or not enough room).

My experiences with the machine are mixed - I ruined the first set of guitar sides I used it on (sapele) which cupped across the width, but for the next set I ignored the LMI advice and screwed the roller tension bolts right down to the stops. I haven't had a problem since (if you discount the thermocouple failure that cooked a set beyond redemption ... not really the machines fault - damaged by the previous owner).

03-29-2015, 12:03 PM
When I made my form I didn't follow the LMI instructions completely. I used 4 side pieces instead of 3. Here are some pics of the form alone and installed in the bender.

03-29-2015, 12:18 PM
The main problem I had in bending uke sides using this bender was that after I bent the waist fist, the side for the upper bout was sticking up at such an angle that I could not get the bending roller installed without breaking the side. What I came up with was a kind of a hand caul made up from a couple of dowels. I used that to bend down the upper bout by hand just enough so that I could get the clearance to install the bending roller. Once I did that I never had a problem. I use a small silicon heating blanket at the waist along with a full length blanket, plus spring steel top and bottom. Hopefully I explained it clear enough. Sorry for the messy shop :(

03-29-2015, 11:11 PM
Thankyou so much for taking the time to post the pictures & tips for use. Greatly appreciated!

I'll hopefully start on mine in the next few weeks.