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Thread: Production Bending

  1. #1

    Default Production Bending

    For those of us that use side benders, how do you go about bending multiple sides in one session? If I want to bend 4 sides (or more), surely I don't need 4 side benders.

    How do you deal with this? Thanks for any comments.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Kekaha, Kauai
    Posts
    129

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    If your forms and heat blankets are wide enough, you can bend two sides at a time.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hawaii Island
    Posts
    160

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    My bender cools for reuse very fast with a fan blowing up into it from underneath.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pegasus Guitars View Post
    My bender cools for reuse very fast with a fan blowing up into it from underneath.
    How long do you leave it in the bender before removing the side? and do you do anything to keep the bend after that or just put it on a shelf until use? ;-}

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuzzBD View Post
    If your forms and heat blankets are wide enough, you can bend two sides at a time.
    Brad
    I don't use a blanket. I use steam but my bender is not double wide. Seems like there is a better way to do multiple sides...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Hudson, MA
    Posts
    1,542

    Default

    No personal production experience here. But, I've visited the Martin factory and they bend one set at a time. They had one operator running several bending machines.

    Looking at bending as a process, it is very inefficient. Most of the time is spent 1. Waiting for the wood to heat up. and 2. Waiting for the bent sides to dry or set up in the forms. Some people even heat cycle the bent sides in the form which adds more wait time. The "value add" time of actually bending wood is small compared to all waiting.
    Possible solutions to eliminate waiting:
    1. Heat the wood in an oven before moving them to the bending machine. Around 240F would allow you to move wood on to the machine and start the presses immediately.
    2. Design your bending machine to have bending forms that can be quickly exchanged. Then you can allow the wood to cool and set up in the form while you're bending the next set.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cairns, Australia
    Posts
    2,361

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    I bend on the iron first and then set the shape in the bender with a heat blanket. My bender handles both sides at the same time. I can easily do 4 sets in a day if I chose to.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen View Post
    I bend on the iron first and then set the shape in the bender with a heat blanket. My bender handles both sides at the same time. I can easily do 4 sets in a day if I chose to.
    I have never used the iron (though now thinking of it) but thought that when finished, the side is the correct shape, but then you 'set the shape in the bender'?

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ksquine View Post
    No personal production experience here. But, I've visited the Martin factory and they bend one set at a time. They had one operator running several bending machines.

    Looking at bending as a process, it is very inefficient. Most of the time is spent 1. Waiting for the wood to heat up. and 2. Waiting for the bent sides to dry or set up in the forms. Some people even heat cycle the bent sides in the form which adds more wait time. The "value add" time of actually bending wood is small compared to all waiting.
    Possible solutions to eliminate waiting:
    1. Heat the wood in an oven before moving them to the bending machine. Around 240F would allow you to move wood on to the machine and start the presses immediately.
    2. Design your bending machine to have bending forms that can be quickly exchanged. Then you can allow the wood to cool and set up in the form while you're bending the next set.
    I assume bending machines with blankets? Was there no springback when released from the bender?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Greenville, VA.
    Posts
    781

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    Most of the bending time is spent waiting for the benders to cool down, during which I do something else. Sides don't have to be a perfect fit in the mold coming off the benders, they just have to be a nice fit when the end blocks are glued in. Adjusting them in the mold is the real trick, not avoiding some spring back.

    Steam sounds like an inefficient way to enhance production. Electricity allows the builder to bring the heat up quickly, make the bend in just a few minutes, and permits the builder to walk away while the bent side cooks and the timer runs down. A lot of work can be accomplished between bending sessions. Using two benders I could build four guitar bodies in a week.

    In my uke shop all the gear is stripped down. Electric blankets but no Fox benders. No automatic timers, so I can't walk away. No drying forms. Yet I can easily bend sides and load molds for three different models in a morning, which is a lot faster than my production requires. I don't even have a "production", as I build leisurely, but it only makes sense to do some steps in bulk.

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