View Full Version : modifying a side bending machine

02-06-2016, 05:16 PM
I went to the Flea Market last Saturday to look for parts for a side bending machine. I didnít have much luck until the last booth where I found a complete fox lightbulb bender set up or small guitars. The price was right so it came home with me. Now I need to modify it for bending ukulele sides.
I think that if i do the following three things then it will work for my needs:
Move the Lights so they are more centered possibly getting rid of one all together
Move all the springs to the bolt directly under the waist
Cut the sides down so there is room for the ukulele form to protrude over the top
However Iíve never used one of these machines so iím not sure if iím missing anything. Anyone have any advice about modifying this machine? I took lots of photos because it appears to be homemade and I didnít want to have it have some flaw in it that makes it a pane to use so it you have any experience with these machines and see anything that looks like it's wrong please let me know so I can fix it. Also in some of the picís there is a hacksaw blade for scale. The stamp on the blade claims it's 12 inches long but looks closer to 13 to me.
Thanks for your help.8813788138881398814088141

02-06-2016, 05:58 PM
Well, you have the parts there to make one, but that one would appear to be too big for your needs unless you are building baritones or larger.

It will come down to how you are going to make your form for bending. With a tenor being in round figures about 12" long from tail to neck block, the sides are going to interfere with each end of the chassis on this style/size of bender.

I use a very similar bender design, but my chassis base is far shorter and I use a silicone heat blanket. My solid form overhangs both the front and back of the bender so that the blanket and any excess of side material that will later be trimmed can overhang the body form without interfering with the benders chassis.

Those springs can possibly still be used as intended to pull the ends down onto the form. That is if they aren't too long, or can be anchored further from the end that they will be pulling in.

Pete Howlett
02-06-2016, 09:53 PM
Silicone eat blankets are your next purchase. Yes, follow Allen's advice and chop down the machine. However consider this... most experience 'spring-back' with a mechanical bender and either modify the bending form or go to a hot iron to correct. If you reverse the process and hand bend first - it doesn't have to be 100% accurate though I try and make it so, then use the machine to 'set' the bend - 3.25 minutes full blast with a heat blanket then let it cool on the form for 30 minutes you will have perfect sides. It also does to make your form smaller by the thickness of you metal form sheet + sides... I use .5mm food grade stainless steel so my molds are generally 2.2mm - 2.5mm smaller than the true lenth and width.

Vespa Bob
02-08-2016, 04:37 AM
I used my home made side bender for the first time yesterday and can vouch for Allen's advice regarding that the base be shorter than the form section. On mine, the sides are equal causing interference when the eyebolt connected to the stainless steel strap was brought down. Also, next time I bend, I'll take Pete's advice and do the initial bending on my hot pipe. It will put more of the wood in close contact with the form to heat quicker and more evenly.


Kevin Waldron
02-08-2016, 01:04 PM
This should help, at one time we made this for sale.




02-08-2016, 02:00 PM
Thanks for your feedback everyone. I’ve never heard of anyone prebending the sides before but it makes a lot of sense. I will have to try it some time but unfortunately most of my tools are lost in storage right now and so I can’t get to my pipe bender. I’ll probably post some photos of it once it’s modified but first I have to clean off my work space by finishing the guitar refret I’ve been putting off.