DIY Bell Bending

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dutchie, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Dutchie

    Dutchie New Friend

    Apr 11, 2010
    P.E.I., Canada
    Hey Folks,

    I had a hard time finding a thread on bending bell's up. Perhaps somebody has a link with some information they can share?

    I have a Conn 16A cornet I picked up for $50 and my intention is to use it as my experimental horn. I hope to bend the bell up 'Dizzy' style and eventually strip the lacquer to use as an eye catcher in my rock band.


    Dutchie :play:
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Saw a Getzen video on bending bells. They mixed a water/soap solution and froze the bells to -47 degrees. Dizzy's horn was sat on or dropped. you could try that easily.
  3. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    You could also buy pitch and melt that in to the bell, or lead. There are also a variety of products under the name Cerro. Cerrobend, Cerrosafe etc. They are known as Wood's metals. They melt in ~150 degree water and don't expand much on cooling. They are used for casting gun barrels.
    The soap companies use is Murphy's Oil Soap brand.

    You also should make a bending jig. There are tons of guides to that online.
  4. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Instead of trying to bend the bell which is not easy unless experienced, look for a copper 45 degree bend or make one from 3/4" copper pipe, cut the bell pipe at the right place and solder it in. Even if it takes several goes to get it right you have not damaged the bell beyond repair.

    Regards, Stuart.
  5. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Cutting the bell damages it much more than bending it in my opinion. Plus, finding a copper pipe with the same ID as the bell would be hard, not to mention soldering and aligning and accurately measuring the length to cut so it doesn't play out of tune.

    How Dutchie, how are you going to make up new braces for the new position of the bell?
  6. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    I've done some copper tube bending for making little camping stoves and you might try packing the tubing with sand to bend, or salt (be sure to rinse it out well!). I've used salt, and it works fine, I should pick up some nice sand next time I'm down in Sand City.
  7. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Using sand or salt doesn't hold the shape of the tube as well as the other methods. When doing bending of instruments, the tubing has to stay as round as possible.
  8. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    One of the advertisers on this site makes lead pipes and tuning slides, the tuning slides are bent of course, maybe you can send your horn to them to bend it, or maybe they'll give you some advice on how to do it.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There is not much of this info on the net because the demand is not high, lead is VERY toxic and not many trumpet players have the ability to freeze soapy water. Pitch is messy and dangerous when you remelt it. Heating up the wrong place causes pressure to build up and it can explode!

    I have found that if you just anneal the bell bow (heat it up and allow it to cool back down slowly), that you can bend the entire bell up with little effort - you just need to move slowly to prevent a kink. There used to be a video where Maurice André bent his bell for laughs during a duet session with Dizzy. It is no longer on the web - the "bent" unbraced horn can be seen here:
    YouTube - Maurice André and Dizzy Gillespie "Groovin´ High"
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  10. chet fan

    chet fan Piano User

    Jul 3, 2009
    you will have another problem after you bend the bell -it wont fit in the case anymore, so you will have to buy a special one for bended trumpets

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