The first bit of news is that the Bend-Tech Dragon arrived just before Christmas. We waited until after the holiday season to assemble it, and begin the process of getting it going. Having only ever seen a demonstration machine at trade shows, I was surprised at its size, especially its' length. We ordered the longest machine so we could cut full lengths of tubing which are random 24' when we receive them. That made the machine 26' long. So Tank assembled the machine, we found a place to set it up in the shop, and then ran the necessary utilities to it, (air, 220V & 110V). Tank has initiated all the programs, and
is beginning to run practice cuts. Hopefully a few more practice sessions and he can start to make pieces.
There is one feature of the machine that is interesting, and although we had been told about it none of us had seen it until our machine was assembled. Because we are starting with long pieces, they tend to sag in the middle. This sag creates inaccurate cuts. Also because of the length of the tubing, a vibration sets in and also affects the cuts. The solution is a support in the middle of the machine. But, because the tail section, which rotates and pushes the tubing, needs to move the full length of the machine, these supports are actually "gates" which are air powered and swing out of the way when needed.
For me the whole operation and design of the machine is fascinating. Especially so for me because I have seen it develop over the last few years, from a good idea that didn't quite do what we needed, into a really great machine.