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Old Jul 07, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Getting back to violin stuff. Money can buy these tools, but since they aren't normal model airplane tools they are worth mentioning.

One of the main tools used in string instrument making is a bending iron, which is just a rounded hunk of electrically heated metal that is used to bend thin pieces of wood. Violin makers use them, but guitar makers often use elaborate jigs to do the same job.

I like to use sliced ribs and by bending a piece of balsa to the curve of the airfoil using my bending iron I can slice rib tops that have the grain running around the curve. So far I've only done it once, but the results were excellent. Assuming no loss a three inch wide piece of balsa can yield 48 ribs 1/16th of an inch wide. It's also a lot neater to slice the ribs off on my Master Airscrew Balsa Stripper than to cut them the conventional (and weaker) way using an xacto #11 blade.

It doesn't take a lot of skill to shape wood on a bending iron. A couple of tries and you'll probably be pretty good.

Sorry the picture is so cluttered. Many years ago I read a fine book on watercolor painting in which the author warned against being too fussy about neatness. He said that he had never seen a work of art emerge from a neat studio. I took that message to heart and have lived by his words ever since.

Pete
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteSchug View Post
Getting back to violin stuff. Money can buy these tools, but since they aren't normal model airplane tools they are worth mentioning.

One of the main tools used in string instrument making is a bending iron, which is just a rounded hunk of electrically heated metal that is used to bend thin pieces of wood. Violin makers use them, but guitar makers often use elaborate jigs to do the same job.

I like to use sliced ribs and by bending a piece of balsa to the curve of the airfoil using my bending iron I can slice rib tops that have the grain running around the curve. So far I've only done it once, but the results were excellent. Assuming no loss a three inch wide piece of balsa can yield 48 ribs 1/16th of an inch wide. It's also a lot neater to slice the ribs off on my Master Airscrew Balsa Stripper than to cut them the conventional (and weaker) way using an xacto #11 blade.

It doesn't take a lot of skill to shape wood on a bending iron. A couple of tries and you'll probably be pretty good.

Sorry the picture is so cluttered. Many years ago I read a fine book on watercolor painting in which the author warned against being too fussy about neatness. He said that he had never seen a work of art emerge from a neat studio. I took that message to heart and have lived by his words ever since.

Pete
Pete, I think the guy in the book was referring to a tad bit of clutter, not what I'm seeing in the picture. That's a mess hahahahahahahaha!

THIS IS A CLUTTER!
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 10:52 AM
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???

Why are we talking about violins? Last time I looked violins don't have any RC components nor do they fly! Stick to something we can use, not building musical instruments!
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 10:59 AM
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I disagree--I have been building flying models for 58 years and have never seen anything like the nifty round violin plane or the gadget to bend wide pieces of wood to make airfoil sections for stripping. This has been very informative to me and I hope Pete has more to contribute.
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 11:25 AM
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I disagree as well, I also like to use things that were made for other things, but I modify them to be used for the particular hobby I'm into at the moment. That Violin thing is really cool. I would like to see it in action especially for bending thin strips of wood. That would have to be a fantastic tool for making wooden ship models.
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 01:26 PM
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This thread is fantastic. It has given me many great ideas and the inspiration to go ahead with them.

This is an interesting new (to me at least) building method that I will be trying here soon, along with all of my new ideas from this thread.

LINK

-PC49
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by martys View Post
Why are we talking about violins? Last time I looked violins don't have any RC components nor do they fly! Stick to something we can use, not building musical instruments!
tools arent job specific ! I'm always looking to buy my next kool tool ! Take a hint, you'll be a better craftsman for it...
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mtdoramike View Post
Pete, I think the guy in the book was referring to a tad bit of clutter, not what I'm seeing in the picture. That's a mess hahahahahahahaha!

THIS IS A CLUTTER!
I wouldn't have posted the picture if I didn't think you'd enjoy it!

Pete
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 04:20 PM
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Pete I'm glad you posted that picture. I showed the picture to my wife who has been mentioning to me about how messy my work area is getting. But after seeing the picture you posted, she says my work area is neat as a pin compared to yours

Thanks,
Mike
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by PiperCub49 View Post
This thread is fantastic. It has given me many great ideas and the inspiration to go ahead with them.

This is an interesting new (to me at least) building method that I will be trying here soon, along with all of my new ideas from this thread.

LINK

-PC49
Thanks, that looks like a phenomenal way to build.
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 08:34 PM
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Pete, my younger son has a similar device, only it shoots sparks out several feet. I think he calls it a Tesla coil. Seriously, though, I've heard of heat bending, and may try using my "Big Bertha" soldering iron body in place of the purpose-made one you have.

Geoff
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 10:40 PM
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Pete, my younger son has a similar device, only it shoots sparks out several feet. I think he calls it a Tesla coil. Seriously, though, I've heard of heat bending, and may try using my "Big Bertha" soldering iron body in place of the purpose-made one you have.

Geoff
I've got a rheostat on mine. I usually set it so that it just about tints the wood but doesn't toast it. I wet the wood and keep it under tension while rocking it on the iron. Sometimes I back it up with a block of wood as I work. If you don't maintain some tension the wood may crease.

With balsa you have to avoid compressing the wood. Whether working with balsa or maple (for violin ribs) I try to dry the wood out completely since it will lose some of the bend if it is not completely dried out.

I hope this helps.

Pete
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Old Jul 07, 2010, 11:35 PM
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The heat bending trick is something I saw in boat building many years ago, then again from the free flight guys. That one was a simple tin can in a vise with a propane torch 'blowing' into it. There was also one that had a can with a candle under it.

For some reason it was described to use with wet wood and then let the heat of the tool dry it out as it is worked over the curve.

FWIW, I am always finding uses for tools in areas where they are not intended. Probably goes back to having a screwdriver and a hammer. Even if they weren't made for the job the could be made to work.
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Old Jul 08, 2010, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by portablevcb View Post
The heat bending trick is something I saw in boat building many years ago, then again from the free flight guys. That one was a simple tin can in a vise with a propane torch 'blowing' into it. There was also one that had a can with a candle under it.

For some reason it was described to use with wet wood and then let the heat of the tool dry it out as it is worked over the curve.

FWIW, I am always finding uses for tools in areas where they are not intended. Probably goes back to having a screwdriver and a hammer. Even if they weren't made for the job the could be made to work.
That's how most home made bending irons are built. Being pretty old when I started, I had lots of money (well a bit anyway) and not as much time to work, so I made the decision to buy everything I needed including a band saw and a drill press. Total use of power tools in making a fiddle was probably under an hour but doing the same job by hand would have meant (at least to a beginner) a few days of very hard and not so neat work.

If you go back far enough you'll find that a lot of people built models by heating bamboo using an alcohol flame and bending it. Pre-dates laminating outlines by fifty or sixty years. Alcohol flame was used because a candle flame left soot on the bamboo.

Pete
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Old Jul 08, 2010, 07:20 AM
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Here are two tools I had built decades ago, one for bending plastic sheet on a straight line, and the other a fixed width balsa stripper. I have started using an adjustable stripper, but before that I was using these home made strippers for FF work. The old type thick and brittle razor blades were broken and pushed into the spruce sheet. A block at the back kept it from moving out. A couple of strippers were needed to cover different sizes.

The hot bender was used for bending 3 mm acrylic sheet for instrument cases, but there is no reason it can't be used for depron or similar. It gives a nice curve at the bent edge. The aluminum liner protects the board. I have seen that it would be better to use hardwood instead of particleboard - which cracks at the screw locations and bends under the load. The steel wire at one end keeps the nichrome wire under tension, when it heats and expands. By the way, that U shaped aluminum liner and the L shaped profiles at the ends were removed from the wings of a full scale Piper PA-18 which we were trying to restore at the university.

I had also built a simple non-slip wing bolt driver, I have to find photos for that.

Bulent
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