You may remember that the original experiment for this project "make a sax" was designed to tell us what the different tapers and different materials might do to the tone. The goal was to: cheaply make three different tapers and gain first hand knowledge of how taper affects tone and response. Well, that didn't exactly work. The goal is good but the process is not as easy as we hoped. It turns out it was difficult to make the three sizes. We made one tapered tube but making the others was obviously going to require a mandrel made from some metal and without a draw bench the experiments would not be very consistent. In the end, we would have three mandrels that were no longer usable and possibly still no answer to the initial question. Considering our options, we decided that, no matter what this experiment gives us, we are going to want to proceed.
A draw bench is a machine that pulls the sax, put over a mandrel of the exact desired size, through a donut or washer that expands as it's pulled through. The end result is a Tapered tube with inside dimensions exactly the same as the tapered mandrel. To do this, we need a draw bench.
So, we fired up an old project of making a draw bench while considering the issues and cost of having someone make us the bodies to our specs. For the long run goal: "make a sax (and some necks)", we decided to make a draw bench. Late last week our Hydraulic power unit for the new bench and the Cylinder showed up.
The Cylinder has a 48" stroke (enough to pull a Bass Sax body Tube!) and way-way more power than it should need. The power unit is capable of even more power pressure than the cylinder so we can get pull if we need it.
Over the weekend, a group of ProShop folks got their ideas into a design drawing and this week we'll finalize the drawing and begin manufacture of this baby. We have some of the materials we need around the shop and some that are a little too burly for this project but we're going to use them anyway. The current plan is to wall mount the draw "bench" in the Sax ProShop. The folks in the PadCompany love to name (and put name tags on) their machines, so we'll probably go to them for an appropriate name. Now we need to decide what color to paint it....