The last decade has seen Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machining become something that most guitar builders can access; Compact affordable CNC machines are now found in the workshops of many hobbyist and enthusiast guitar builders, with the same flexibility and productivity of their larger manufacturing siblings. In this, the first of a short run of articles, we'll investigate what a small affordable desktop CNC router can do for us and what their practicalities are.
Developing practical personal working areas is a common issue to the complete beginner and seasoned builder alike. Slotting nuts in situ, hand-tuning a carve or routing pickup holes into a body requires specific workholding and for-task flexibility in a bench. This series discusses the pressures, solutions and requirements of a luthier, whilst highlighting how "traditional woodworking benches" don't stack up as being appropriate for luthiery. To cap it off, we'll describe a step by step build of an exceptional and affordable DIY bench design useful to luthiers of all stripes that won't break the bank.
Laser cutters open up a world of useful applications to the luthiery enthusiast, especially when used to produce custom router shaping templates. If we don't have ready access to a laser cutter, paying for third party laser services to do the work for us is a great alternative. This no-nonsense article looks at how to best prepare your work to reduce setup costs and get the results you need, hassle-free.
Now that we've gone through the heavy lifting of building a jig to position a fret board blank on the CNC machine, and formatting the CAD file to allow the milling to be completed in two halves, it's high time that we apply all this information and legwork to milling the fret slots. Read on...
Few would disagree that adding a router to your workshop opens up an entire new world of shaping, cutting and copying operations that hand tools cannot readily match. Choosing the right router for your work is worth careful consideration to get the most out of this powerful tool.
One of the massive benefits to adding a small CNC machine to your arsenal of workshop equipment is the jump in high accuracy cutting. An area where this accuracy is most obvious is the slotting of a fret board, where the position of the frets plays a major role in defining how well the instrument intonates. But how do you slot a fret board that will not physically fit onto a small CNC machine?
In the previous article about the small CNC router we set up and calibrated the CNC machine so that each axis was tuned to provide accurate and reliable operation ready for machining real life parts and components. In the final instalment of this introductory series we will set the machine to work creating a simple truss rod cover from scratch using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Machining (CAM) software. Let's go!
In the previous article about CNC routers we explored the application and usefulness of a compact desktop machine when applied to guitar building. In this instalment we go through the steps required to successfully set up and calibrate the CNC machine in preparation for actually making some sawdust. Read on…
In the not too distant past we explored the usage of a compact desktop CNC milling machine in the area of guitar construction. An obvious application where accuracy and flexibility is desirable is machining a fretboard. But how do you mill such a large component if the CNC router you have is too small to accommodate a fretboard on its bed? This article is for you.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks we have explored the practicalities of using a modestly-sized CNC router for guitar building applications, and performed the necessary setup procedure when using the CNC machine under LinuxCNC. In this weeks' installment we will write and analyse a small G-Code program, and then use this file to drive the CNC machine to check its accuracy. Lets get started...