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Thread: Who makes their own truss rods?

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Who makes their own truss rods?

    I am curious how many of you make your own truss rod? Have you found one material better than another? There are many kinds of rods of varying composition you can buy. Anyone using Stainless? Anyone doing a special temeper on their own?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    I've made my own before using 10/32 threaded rod. Probably not as strong as some things you could do, but it worked fine. Placement in the neck has more effect than the material used. Even using a very low end for the tensile strength of aluminum, an 1/8" aluminum rod has a yield strength of around 250lbf, which is more than the string tension and the truss rod doesn't have to do close to all the work anyway. So any steel will be quite a bit stronger than is needed. I think the only reason we don't use a material as soft as Aluminum, or a rod as small as 1/8" is because the threads are difficult to cut and might be fragile.
    What about titanium? Many grades offer better tensile performance than SS, while also being lighter. A Grade 5 titanium rod 1/8" in diameter has a tensile yield strength of nearly 2000lbf. I'd definitely be interested in welding a 1/4" cross dowel on one end of an 1/8" Ti rod, then weld a 1/4" threaded section onto the other end. Best of both worlds - super sturdy threads, super low mass.

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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    I've made my own before using 10/32 threaded rod. Probably not as strong as some things you could do, but it worked fine. Placement in the neck has more effect than the material used. Even using a very low end for the tensile strength of aluminum, an 1/8" aluminum rod has a yield strength of around 250lbf, which is more than the string tension and the truss rod doesn't have to do close to all the work anyway. So any steel will be quite a bit stronger than is needed. I think the only reason we don't use a material as soft as Aluminum, or a rod as small as 1/8" is because the threads are difficult to cut and might be fragile.
    What about titanium? Many grades offer better tensile performance than SS, while also being lighter. A Grade 5 titanium rod 1/8" in diameter has a tensile yield strength of nearly 2000lbf. I'd definitely be interested in welding a 1/4" cross dowel on one end of an 1/8" Ti rod, then weld a 1/4" threaded section onto the other end. Best of both worlds - super sturdy threads, super low mass.
    I was hesitant to bring up Titanium, seems to be a hot button on some websites. I do like that idea though!
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    I made my own, but I've turned he process over to a machinist. (I suppose some people would say I still make my own in the same way they say Lloyd Loar made mandolins, but I digress...)
    I use welding rod because it can be welded and machined without hardening like drill rod, so it is less brittle and less likely to break.

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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    I was looking at the .125 titanium welding rod. I think it was grade 5 but it wasn’t labeled grade five. It 6 something, frankly I forget how it was paved off the top of my head. My concern was welding rod would be to soft. I guess not! Thanks!
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    Ti-6Al-4v is another name for ASTM grade 5, the most commercially available ti alloy. Also called TC4.

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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    I've built my own using 3/16 weld rod for almost 20 years.. I heat the ends and thread myself.. In the beginning, I put the slight bend in them as per Siminoff.. But after seeing others thoughts, I've gone with the straight style.. When I cut the channels thu, I make them 5/8 at the heel and 3/8 at the nut...
    kterry

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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?


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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    That's a super slick truss rod, Steve.

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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    So dredging this back up for a few more questions. Hope you all don't mind.
    Since the titanium is stronger Marty was giving thoughts to a 1/8' titanium rod. I don't know if anyone has ever tried it but I'm game I think. I wonder though why is the slot made after the neck is assembled? I know you would have to pay very close attention to the neck profile but why not just create a hole before you glue up the neck? Or are most people using one piece for the neck? I have some nice cherry I thought to try as a neck but would have to join two pieces to get my width and my thought was to groove both sides before the glue up for a 1/8" rod. Any thoughts on these ideas are always welcome. Thanks, everyone.
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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    So dredging this back up for a few more questions. Hope you all don't mind.
    Since the titanium is stronger Marty was giving thoughts to a 1/8' titanium rod. I don't know if anyone has ever tried it but I'm game I think. I wonder though why is the slot made after the neck is assembled? I know you would have to pay very close attention to the neck profile but why not just create a hole before you glue up the neck? Or are most people using one piece for the neck? I have some nice cherry I thought to try as a neck but would have to join two pieces to get my width and my thought was to groove both sides before the glue up for a 1/8" rod. Any thoughts on these ideas are always welcome. Thanks, everyone.
    I cut the trussrod slot while the neck is still square or bandsawed to side profile but sides are flat and parallel (I sometimes cut two necks out of one slightly larger piece of maple, one above the other so I cut the slot after that). Back when I didi few necks with ebony center lamination I used less wide lamination that created the slot and saved some ebony as well (but I cut through that slot as well to make sure the size is correct for my rod)
    Adrian

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    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    I believe James Condino makes his own titanium trussrods. I haven't worked with it, but it's notoriously difficult stuff to machine.

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  21. #13
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    Bill Halsey did make some Titanium rods for his mandolins, and bridge posts as well.
    Adrian

  22. #14

    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    Andrew is correct! 'Been making my own titanium truss rods for all the different instruments for almost 20 years; 'never going back to anything else. It can be difficult to work with but Marty nailed it about the difference in material spring response and tensile strength. I'll have a few at the ASIA Symposium next week to nerd out about. Photos of the "dreadful" model:
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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who makes their own truss rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    Andrew is correct! 'Been making my own titanium truss rods for all the different instruments for almost 20 years; 'never going back to anything else. It can be difficult to work with but Marty nailed it about the difference in material spring response and tensile strength. I'll have a few at the ASIA Symposium next week to nerd out about. Photos of the "dreadful" model:
    What size rod are you using? Is it welding rod? I was thinking the ability to use a smaller rod and have a smaller slot would be good.

    Thanks ! Everyone!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

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