Bending Machine Recommendations

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Eric Knapp
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Bending Machine Recommendations

Post by Eric Knapp »

Hello, folks.

I really need to improve my bending setup. I have an old electric pipe that takes over an hour to come up to temperature and then won’t keep it steady. At my age I would like to make more guitars than tools so I’m wondering what you all might recommend for a commercial bending machine I could just buy.

Thanks,

-Eric

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Bending Machine Recommendations

Post by Barry Daniels »

There are not a lot of options out there as most people have built their own. Luthier's Mercantile has the most sophisticated machine that has undergone some modern upgrades. For instance, the cantilevered press allows the slats and wood to be inserted from the side which is much easier than threading everything in from the end of the machine.

Here is a link: LMII Side Bender

I originally built a Fox Bender and used light bulbs as a heat source, but I quickly upgraded to an electric blanket, and later I built a smart controller for the blanket.
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Freeman Keller
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Re: Bending Machine Recommendations

Post by Freeman Keller »

I have one of the original Fox style benders with a silicon heating blanket and stainless slats. I has bent fifteen or so sets of sides with absolutely no issues. I make the bending form and body mold at the same time for each size guitar. I don't normally do cutaways, the couple of times I have I bent that part on the hot pipe.

I did buy mine from John Hall at BluesCreek - he does sell a page with the bender assembled.

Dave Meyrick
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Re: Bending Machine Recommendations

Post by Dave Meyrick »

I think the reason so many of us build our own bender is the high price that the usual supliers have to charge - and I'm not suggesting they are overcharging.

If you did decide to put something together yourself it's worth noting that it doesn't have to be as elaborate as the commercial ones. For instance I use a Keenovo heating blanket (presumably from China) which has a temperature controller included. I have simplified other aspects such as the way of squeezing down the cauls etc.

But as you mention there is no getting round that it does take some time.

Chees Dave

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Eric Knapp
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Re: Bending Machine Recommendations

Post by Eric Knapp »

Thanks for your input, guys. I had been saving for a new bandsaw but had decided that my current one will work for me just fine. It has some annoying quirks, like blades breaking often, but I think most tools will have issues. I am going to repurpose that fund and I just placed an order for the LMI bending machine. This gives me hope that I might be able to make a few guitars in my remaining time. (There’s nothing like a heart attack to make one feel mortal, eh?)

The only drawback with the LMI bender is it doesn’t do cutaways with their standard configurations. I will need to modify it when I get to that point. For now I’m not making cutaway guitars so I’ll deal with that later.

-Eric

Don Parker
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Re: Bending Machine Recommendations

Post by Don Parker »

Another option is to buy a better bending iron. I can vouch for the one from Luthier's Bench in the UK. While you have to order it, and have it shipped to the US, it is not crazy expensive, and it works way, way better than other commercial bending irons.

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