Making Luthier's Tools - Fret wire Bender & Fret end file
Recently I made some fretting tools for my first build, and I thought that the Luthier's Corner would find it interesting on how I went about to make my own tools ! Here I am going to show a series of pictures of how the tools are assembled. These tools are for a fellow TB-er :bassist:
I used my computer skills in the design and drawings of the tools, a laser cutting machine using CAD drawings, a hardware store, and a skilled machinist for some custom components.
The two tools that I came up with are the Fret Bender and the Fret End File. This post will cover the Fret Bender.
My fret bender was designed and built due to the lack of an available fret wire un-bender. Hence I designed my tool to be able to bend and unbend wire precisely. Also the rollers of the tool are so close that minor adjustment to wire radius can also be made after a piece of fret is cut. This was extremely useful for me when fretting my fanned fretboard, which has a slightly different curve to each fret. The adjustment range of this tool is high enough to bend or unbend wire to and from a 3" radius.
Starting with the Laser cutting -
Then to drilling the hole for the height adjustment -
That hole is drilled right into the moving piece of the height adjustment system. A bolt will later be inserted and threaded into it.
Next up are assembly shots -
The bare plate -
The adjustment bolt threaded into the plexiglass height adjustment piece -
The Brass adjustment knob -
The different custom turned aluminium rollers -
The top roller has a collar for the attachment of the crank handle. Each roller has a high quality bearing pressed into it for accurate and smooth rolling.
The rollers get mounting bolts and spacers -
The bottom two rollers mounted, while the top one gets a special spacer to help the height adjustment to be guided only in the up and down movement. This white spacer eliminates any unwanted play in the system -
And all the rollers mounted -
The top roller gets a spacer for the attachment of the crank handle. It is grub screwed into place.
The handle with its cranking mechanism yet to be mounted -
And here it is -
I like this view where you can see all the reflections of the bolts and brass knob from the edge -
I straightened some heavy gauge stainless wire to test it out -
And here it is next to my older design. I made a few changes that aren't too noticeable visually but make a big difference in the performance of the tool -
The Fret End File tool will be pictured tomorrow. Hope all you gearheads and tool freaks enjoy this post :D
very cool. are you planning on selling them?
Yes, as a matter of fact the tool in the pictures is going to be shipped out soon.
Nice! Interested in your next post!
Very nice post. How much are you selling them for? I might be interested in purchasing one!!
Also, do you have some pointers for someone who is looking into CAD? Never used it before.
Nice work, thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the compliments guys. I thought this may be of some interest in the LC as we all work to build instruments and instrument related things.
About the selling price, you have a PM
Suraj strikes again!!!
Your ingenuity always impresses me. Keep it going!
That looks great. Money well spent :D
Fret End File
Tool #2, the Fret End File. The tool used for filing the fret ends flush to the fretboard after end nipping, and the same tool is used to file a 35 degree bevel into the fret ends. This too is for Hopkins.
Same as above, lets see some assembly pictures, although I must admit that I didn't get to take many pictures while I was working, but since the tool is made of clear plexiglass, one can see all the nuts and bolts of how it may have been put together.
First the main Piece, this one has two holes drilled that leads to the notches where the File will go. These holes will get threaded inserts -
The same piece is repeated -
Some bad pics showing the installation of the threaded inserts. Bolts going through these can be hand tightened to lock the mill file in place -
And then it is magically put together -
what you see here is acrylic and stainless steel. The inserts and the bolts in them are used to lock the mill file in place. The inserts make the bolt smooth to turn so hand tightening is easy and sufficient.
And some other views -
And again, a picture next to the older design, this one has improved ergonomics -
That's it for this thread ;)
Those look oustanding,
Great work & products . Keep them coming up !
Very interesting. Do you have a a way of getting repeatable results. with different radius. For instance knowing that x # of turns out from a bottoming the roller out will get you a 12 radius and 3 more will do a 16 or something like that? Hope you understand what I am saying? The Stew-Mac unit is pissing me off. :spit:
Thanks for the kind words guys :)
When you put a flat wire into the tool set for a very slight radius, the wire bends as it goes through the tool. But if the amount of bend is within the elastic limit of the wire, it will come out the other side as flat ! Another example, if I set up the tool to give me a 16" radius theoretically, in reality the wire will spring back a little after it comes out and give a slightly flatter than desired radius. Multiply the elastic bending limits of different fretwire sizes and materials, and it is almost impossible to get an accurate scale on the tool to tell you the radius.
I have an idea to make a scale on the tool itself that will show the radius with a pointer on a scale and the pointer itself will be adjustable/lockable for different fretwire types. You will have to go back and forth a few times to dial in the radius the first time, set the pointer to the right premark on the tool, and then you have a repeatable point to reach later.
I also have an idea of the same tool without a crank handle but with an automated drive wheel. So you just flip a switch on, put in the wire and it will come out the other side, much like wood comes out of a thickness planer.
Enough of my thesis on fretwire benders :p
Very cool you have a pm :D
You need to clear your in box I can no longer private message you...Tom
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