PDA

View Full Version : Making a bending iron...



Dusepo
02-11-2011, 10:23 PM
I have a piece of aluminium pipe, and can get a copper one the same no problem. Thanks to the government, I can't get hold of the right type of lightbulb anymore. Good for the environment, bad for luthiers. The energy saving ones never get hot enough. What could I use as an alternative hear source? Would a soldering iron inside the pipe work? I'm concerned about the dangers of using a blowtorch.

dave g
02-12-2011, 02:01 AM
I've heard of using electric water heater elements...

Dusepo
02-12-2011, 02:04 AM
I've heard of using electric water heater elements...

Would that not overheat without being surrounded by water?

SweetWaterBlue
02-12-2011, 02:05 AM
Others have also used those heating elements you buy to start your charcoal fire, and I have read of several successful uses of heat guns or hair dryers as a heat source. Fortunately, we can still buy 100W light bulbs in some stores in the US (for now), and I picked a few packages up at Home Depot last year for safe keeping.

Timbuck
02-12-2011, 02:10 AM
I use a Plumbers Propane torch....Or sometimes a an electric Heat Gun.

Dusepo
02-12-2011, 04:14 AM
The electric heat gun sounds like a much better (and safer) alternative. Found a cheap one in Argos and got it. Will let you know how it goes. :)

Ken W
02-12-2011, 04:27 AM
I have used both an electric heat gun and a plumber's torch. I like the torch better because it is much quieter and uses less energy. The heating element in a heat gun uses a lot of electricity. The torch seems safe and quiet at a very low flame and provides plenty of heat...but I still have a fire extenguisher close by whenever I am using either heat source.

SweetWaterBlue
02-12-2011, 05:23 AM
I have used both an electric heat gun and a plumber's torch. I like the torch better because it is much quieter and uses less energy. The heating element in a heat gun uses a lot of electricity. The torch seems safe and quiet at a very low flame and provides plenty of heat...but I still have a fire extenguisher close by whenever I am using either heat source.

I think the secret to using the propane torch safely is putting it in a good holder, as you have done with that clamp.

By the way, I had trouble finding a good aluminum tube around here. I found several stainless steel ones that were originally kitchen devices of one type or another. The other day, I was in a thrift store looking, and I found a stash of aluminum bats for $4 each. They are the standard bat size of 2 1/4" diameter, and fairly thick. They should make good pipes when you cut the handles off, but I haven't tried to make one with them yet. Since they already have the big end closed, you don't need to add a baffle, but only drill a few holes in the end for the air.

ksquine
02-12-2011, 06:14 AM
Here's my bending pipe. Just a 1-1/4" water pipe with a heatgun. There's a hole in the board to let the hot air out. Clever how they made the gun to fit the pipe connector exactly :p

matrix12x
02-12-2011, 06:20 AM
I've ben using a propane torch for a while for guitar sides for a while and it works great and really has been pretty safe.

Rob-C
02-12-2011, 08:54 AM
I've got a pair of 250w cartrdge heaters set into a 2" dia solid aluminium round bar. It heats up quickly and retains the heat well. I can switch it off completely and continue working for a while, then turn it back on for a few seconds here and there to top up the heat..

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
02-12-2011, 10:42 AM
I use a 2 1/2" galvy pipe mounted in a bench vise and a propane torch when I need to hand bend. I made a cap from the lower half of a soda can and punched a few holes in to and slipped it over the end of the pipe. It helps to contain the heat and keeps me from burning the lint in my belly button.

Timbuck
02-12-2011, 10:50 PM
I use a 40mm dia piece of alloy tube (Copper, brass, iron,or stainless steel,works just as good)...It came off a golf Cart steering column ..some of the bends I require are pretty tight..So I squashed the pipe in the vise (vice) a bit to give it an oval shape....it works for me:).

Dusepo
02-15-2011, 01:35 AM
This post has been deleted.

SweetWaterBlue
02-15-2011, 02:57 AM
Is your pipe getting hot enough to turn drops of water you sprinkle on it to steam?

Dusepo
02-15-2011, 03:54 AM
Is your pipe getting hot enough to turn drops of water you sprinkle on it to steam?

Yep. Drops of water will dance and evaporate almost instantly,

SweetWaterBlue
02-15-2011, 04:00 AM
The only other thing I can think of is that maybe you are not leaving in contact with the iron long enough to "cook" as the luthiers like to say. You can see DaveG leaving it on the iron quite some time here and bending it some more when it springs back.

http://www.youtube.com/user/dgjessing#p/u/19/EzS0vWp3ycs

Liam Ryan
02-15-2011, 09:19 AM
what type of timber are you trying to bend?

Pete Howlett
02-15-2011, 02:20 PM
Without being in any way immodest, this might help...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWINwX8_frc

Although most people who visit here know of my videos it might help to also know that I have covered practically every aspect of building. Also Dusepo, as you are in the UK you can always buy some time in my workshop and I'll help you with your problems...

olgoat52
02-15-2011, 05:34 PM
I think the secret to using the propane torch safely is putting it in a good holder, as you have done with that clamp.

By the way, I had trouble finding a good aluminum tube around here. I found several stainless steel ones that were originally kitchen devices of one type or another. The other day, I was in a thrift store looking, and I found a stash of aluminum bats for $4 each. They are the standard bat size of 2 1/4" diameter, and fairly thick. They should make good pipes when you cut the handles off, but I haven't tried to make one with them yet. Since they already have the big end closed, you don't need to add a baffle, but only drill a few holes in the end for the air.

I used to manage a chandlery that sold sailboat hardware. I can't tell you how many alumimum spinaker pole cut offs of every size up to 4" or 5" diameter went in the trash. I didn't grab any. Stupid..

UkeforJC
02-24-2011, 04:08 PM
Hi! Pete,
I noticed that you bent this set dry? Is there any special reason for that? or this is usually how people bend koa sides?
Thank you so much.

SweetWaterBlue
02-25-2011, 12:53 AM
Pete makes that look so easy and fast that I can see why he has no need for a Fox bender.