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  #1  
Old 01-13-2022, 11:46 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Default I'm building my own Fox bending machine



I'm too cheap to buy one, plus it's fun tinkering in order to get an understanding of how everything is supposed to work. Granted, being cheap also means that I'm not even buying the components from the big 2 luthier supply stores and instead rifling through the hardware drawers in the big box hardware stores and buying things off Amazon. It's always a good investment to pick up one of those 2'x4'x3/4" birch plywood boards too every now and then.

As for the working parts, I did splurge on the blue spring steel slats from LMI. I know they're not ideal but this is a work in progress and I will likely be tweaking it. The heating blanket is off Amazon so it's also likely not the best; notice that it doesn't even have an electrical plug.

BTW, the side and waist cauls are a repurposed railing that I had replaced with a new one for the basement steps. My mother is getting on in years and I'd noticed that it wasn't supporting her as she climbs the basement steps on her Sunday visits.

PS: I know that there are safety concerns. That is why I will be using it in my driveway when the weather clears. My wife isn't excited about the prospect of me potentially burning the house down.
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:26 PM
redir redir is offline
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Looking good.

I think they are relatively safe, especially if you have a timer to shut it off. But to make it very safe don't EVER leave the room when using it and always unplug it.

Always keep a fire extinguisher in your shop too and ideally have a circuit breaker to cut power off to the shop.
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Old 01-13-2022, 02:42 PM
Fathand Fathand is online now
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I bought 2 heating blankets from aliexpress, both with a heat control/thermostat, 110 V, each were under $100 including shipping. One came with an Australian? plug by mistake, easily changed.
They both work great. My understanding is that heat blankets are not purpose built for the guitar industry but are built for industrial applications like keeping drums of diesel fuel warm in cold climates.
Parts and supplies are where you can source them. Many things work from other industries where more mass production keeps prices lower. I am glad places like LMI and Stew Mac exist but if we bought everything from those kind of places it could easily cost more to build a guitar than to buy one.
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Old 01-13-2022, 06:11 PM
LHawes LHawes is offline
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Yeah looking good. I built one a while back and it's served me well. I used aluminum roof flashing instead of the steel slats which is a bit ironic or at least different where we decided to save money. Can't remember where I got the blanket but it didn't have a plug either. All I can remember is there were a couple power ratings and was told the more powerful was better for guitars?

I also have a PID temp controller with a couple power switches and a timer that my buddy helped me set up. Keeps me from leaving it on and causing some serious damage.

I shaped all my cauls custom for each waist, never thought of just using a closet rod. I like it. I just bent my first cutaway and it went well. Good luck.
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Old 01-14-2022, 08:31 AM
Treenewt Treenewt is online now
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Looks great Neil! I built one last year myself (not nearly as nice as yours), and it's worked great so far. I bought a blanket with a digital control on the bay, and after pairing it with a separate thermometer to read the actual temp at the blanket/wood touch point, have had good success.

Also got the slats from LMI...failed to wrap my last set of sides before bending, and the combo of the moisture and blue steal stained my sides. Thankfully it was on the inside, and I got most of it off, but lesson learned for me.
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2022, 09:06 AM
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brad4d8 brad4d8 is offline
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I used to have (and may still someplace) plans for one that used incandescent bulbs as a heat source, 2 100 watt, IIRC. Otherwise very similar.
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Old 01-14-2022, 09:54 AM
redir redir is offline
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The light bulb ones are dangerous so take extra care.
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Old 01-14-2022, 11:05 AM
LHawes LHawes is offline
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A couple pics. May or may not work but...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/03qf8l8a18...D%203.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/a3ka8izx51...D%202.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vu16shjfdc...D%201.jpg?dl=0
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  #9  
Old 01-14-2022, 01:52 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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That’s a pretty elaborate setup you got there, @LHawes. Very futuristic! I like the idea of a second tower press for the cutout but I’m not quite there yet with regards to building.

@brad4d8 I have those same plans but have already been warned of using light bulbs as a heat source. I could imagine some salty old luthier using one of those with a lit cigarette and an open container of moonshine nearby; a recipe for disaster lol.
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:54 PM
LHawes LHawes is offline
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Yeah Neil it works great and I don't know if you've ever looked back on something you built and thought, "How the heck did I do that?" Well this is definitely one of those.

A buddy who was an electrical engineer helped me with the internals and I literally have no idea what we did but the function is as so - the guts are plugged into the wall and the blanket is plugged into the control box. The timer controls all the power, if it's off, everything is off. There's a power switch to the blanket to turn it off in case it overheats and another power button that controls the PID so the temp can be monitored without the blanket powered up.

There was a bit of a craze a few years ago on OLF forum regarding PID's and Fox benders and a bunch of help to understand such things but that knowledge is buried pretty deep these days.

And the cutaway setup is the only way I've seen it done. The execution is a bit tricky but so far so good.

Keep us posted on the progress of yours please.
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Old 01-26-2022, 07:40 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Update: I got the springs figured out and build new cauls from a dowel and scrap plywood.

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Old 02-01-2022, 06:45 PM
LHawes LHawes is offline
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I like the cauls. I just have a couple of scrap 2 x 4's and am inspired by the dowels.
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2022, 11:28 PM
H165 H165 is offline
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Quote:
That is why I will be using it in my driveway when the weather clears.
I found that outdoor weather adds one more variable to the process, so I only use mine indoors. I also find the blanket far superior to the light bulb heating devices due to consistency of the heat spread (no hot spots).

OTOH, I used my first light-bulb bender for about fifteen guitars with no insurmountable problems.
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  #14  
Old 04-08-2022, 12:22 AM
Asat Asat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil K Walk View Post
Update: I got the springs figured out and build new cauls from a dowel and scrap plywood.

Looks like you’re gearing up to build a thickness sander too?
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  #15  
Old 04-15-2022, 08:30 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asat View Post
Looks like you’re gearing up to build a thickness sander too?
Yes, but not with that drum.

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