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Antique Aluminum Bridge
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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Irv
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April 7, 2021 - 11:04 pm
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This is new to me.

Aluminum, in the era of the dawn of the age of electrical distribution, was a miracle material much like what we now think of titanium.  So this bridge was likely quite expensive.588AEC3E-D1F6-48B0-8AB8-F2123D699C32.jpegImage Enlarger

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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ELCBK
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April 7, 2021 - 11:15 pm
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@Irv -

Do you have your hands on this to try out? 

 

- Emily

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Irv
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April 7, 2021 - 11:36 pm
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@ELCBK .  Alas, no.  The cheapest way to make them now would be by aluminum extrusion.  Generally, a minimum order is in hundreds of pounds of aluminum.  If I made a computerized aided design (cad) drawing of the artifact, I could have a wood example made via laser cutter and duplicate it in metal with a mould process.  

I would make them from aluminium bronze, which is stronger than aluminium and has a gold colour that does not tarnish.

If the above picture is examined closely, the feet were obviously made wider than the rest of the bridge.  No clue why this was done and I do not believe it necessary.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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Mark
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April 8, 2021 - 12:17 am
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Irv

Humm, I've not seen a aluminum bridge before on a wooden instrument,  Alcoa made all aluminum instruments in the 1950's I believe it was, I've  seen the double bass quite the conversion piece.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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ELCBK
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April 8, 2021 - 2:13 am
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@Irv -

I'm not fond of aluminum because of tarnish and some of it's other properties, but your aluminum bronze sounds intriguing - only how much heavier would that be...negligible?  

🤔 If you want one, why not find somewhere to get a slice from a rod & maybe go old school?  Many times large companies will let you buy a sample of material for prototype work (maybe even for free).

If I wanted to make one, I would use either silicon carbide or diamond for impregnated blades, flat grinding discs/wheels, bits for drill press and a flexible-shaft for fine detail.  I'm assuming I'd have to use a lubricant/cooling agent other than water to avoid overheating. 

Actually, this is probably overkill for aluminum - if you want to work slowly, there are cheaper, metal cutting blades and bits.

Everything I mentioned is equipment I have from when I was using Borosilicate & other glass - unfortunately I don't have it set up right now and my health is not good, I'm still pretty much bedridden. 

Maybe you can find someone who is set up with equipment and ask for help - maybe work out a trade (even I used to love to barter), otherwise it'll probably cost more than it's worth!😣 

Then again, it would last for-ev-er! 🤗

Aluminum's high electrical conductivity can be a nuisance (ground everything when sandblasting with aluminum oxide), but suppose I should be more open to the myriad of alloys available.

 

giphy.gif

 

...actually thought of the possibility of using Borosilicate glass for a bridge - lampworked or cast! (lol) 

- Emily

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Irv
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April 8, 2021 - 8:30 am
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@ELCBK .  I could likely make one on a scroll saw given the proper blade.  Aluminium bronze is about 90% aluminium, so the copper content would impose a minimal weight penalty.  I will have to investigate if aluminium bronze plate is available.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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ELCBK
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April 8, 2021 - 10:09 am
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@Irv -

Yes, that's what I meant by saw blades, but don't forget lubricant.  I've seen some specific for jewelers, but beeswax or even bar soap would help.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 8, 2021 - 2:44 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I would love to try one out. Just wonder how common it would be that the strings wear from the groove. I suppose the grooves can be well rounded.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Mouse
April 8, 2021 - 2:47 pm
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I don't think I would want to pop an aluminum bridge.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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ELCBK
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April 8, 2021 - 2:52 pm
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String Protectors - like the little plastic tubes that come with the E strings. 

Or, maybe a generous amount of graphite?

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Fiddlerman
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April 20, 2021 - 12:54 pm
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Using the plastic sleeve seems like defeating the purpose of having a hard solid bridge. Perhaps the art of making those grooves extremely smooth. 😁

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Irv
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April 20, 2021 - 1:53 pm
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@Fiddlerman et al.  Aluminium is much softer than the alloys used for string windings, so I do not see much of a problem there.  I would employ a touch of graphite as a lubricant.

Strangely, scroll saw practitioners do not employ soap while cutting aluminium from the videos I have viewed.  They do sandwich the aluminium in cardboard to control shavings.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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ELCBK
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April 20, 2021 - 2:18 pm
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It is recommended here to use WD40 as a lubricant when cutting aluminum. 

https://www.thetoolgeeks.com/c.....t-metal/ 

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JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
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April 20, 2021 - 3:47 pm
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Curious as to how aluminum compares to the traditional wood bridge. Different densities and transmission effects would seem to differ enough to significantly alter tone and volume. Since the majority of sound produced should be from the top and bottom surfaces of the body (transmitted through the sound post).

Am I wrong, or merely overthinking the process?

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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April 20, 2021 - 5:04 pm
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According to this wonderful, illustrated paper,

"The Effect of Wood Removal on Bridge Frequencies" by O.E. Rodgers and T.R. Masino (University of Delaware) - and a ref from Cremer's "The Physics of The Violin", the bridge absorbs vibration and can be adjusted by removing material in certain spots to change specific frequencies (tone).

I can see that making adjustments to the bridge or sound post can possibly help hide wolf tones! 

Would be very exciting to see how different bridge materials compare!

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Mouse
April 20, 2021 - 5:05 pm
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What I am thinking, is that the sound will loose some warmth. I know a wood bow has more warmth than carbon. The hybrid has more warmth than the carbon bow, I am thinking the aluminum will add a metallic sound, or brightness. I could be wrong.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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Irv
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April 20, 2021 - 11:22 pm
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@ELCBK .  I completely agree with you regarding lubrication of the blade.  Wd40 is often used when using a threading tap on aluminium.  The only metal that I know that is cut without oil is cast iron.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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