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alnico51

Cnc Work Available From Jim Donahue

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Hey everyone, Its been a while since I left my last position, Since then I have opened my own manufacturing plant, consulting company and lumbermill. I am very busy but I do have some free time on my machine and if anyone needs some affordable CNC bodies or necks roughed out. I would like to offer this service exclusive to Project Guitar members.

I have many body shapes and a few neck shapes already programmed so if you are looking for something that you can finish I would be happy to help out.

This service is for members only and prices will be affordable. I also purchase my wood in bulk so the basic cost of the materials are usually less than other companies charge.

Cost will be quoted by job and material cost, turn around on bodies with material in stock will be in the one week range.

I can't make one of a kind custom shapes unless the drawing is supplied to scale in DXF format.

Thanks I hope this helps some of you out.

Jim Donahue

Noahjames Guitars

alnico51@comcast.net

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In case folks are wondering:

Jim spent the better part of the last two decades working for Ibanez as head of their R&D. If you've played a JEM, JS, or just about any other guitar to come out of Ibanez since 1985, you can thank Jim.

I've worked with Jim on a couple of projects, and have seen the great woods available, and the magic his CNC can do.

You're in good hands.

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Yeah i would also like to know the costs of a Custom CNC cut guitar body. Oh, aslo the price of the guitar as a neck through. Basically that means if the guitar was like one piece of wood, except the fringer board. Oh aslo just the body prices too incase i want to do a bolt on. Thanks. Also thanks for making the JEM possible and the Iceman. If you did the iceman that is... Thank you again.

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Cost will be quoted by job and material cost.

IE: Provide more info than 'a guitar body', like exactly what you want, what it'll be made of, etc. The man's already stated he's extremely busy, and can't make custom parts without a .DFX of exactly what you need, so lets not turn this into another rambling, half baked speculation fest like the sustainer thread or the build your own CNC, OK?

Did you actually read his post Monkey? :D

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I guess both of our questions were round-about ways of asking "what's the hourly charge for custom CNC time" assuming all the proper .DXF files are provided (thanks for the PM reply Jim!). Probably a lot of people would like to know, especially if it will save them time and improve the precision of the finished body.

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I guess both of our questions were round-about ways of asking "what's the hourly charge for custom CNC time" assuming all the proper .DXF files are provided (thanks for the PM reply Jim!).  Probably a lot of people would like to know, especially if it will save them time and improve the precision of the finished body.

Sorry Erik, I wasn't having a pop at you - your question seemed entirely reasonable and relevant to me, it was Monkey's post that I was referring to. The last thing I want to do is discourage valid questions, I'm just trying to avoid the thread being filled with nonsense. I doubt very much that Jim's CNC is large enough to machine a one piece neck and body, and I also doubt very much that Monkey has the .DFX of such a project available, hence my irritation. I also keen to avoid that F*X!ing spider guitar cropping up again, to be met with cries of 'Use a bandsaw or come up with a less ambitious design!'.

Sorry I'm a prematurely grumpy old man :D

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Testimonial!

I have a body that Jim did sitting right here in front of me.

This body is near perfect.

Let it be known when Jim says rough...it means rough.

You will need to do ALL the finish work on these bodies. Be prepared to take some time to get them ready to finish.

But I must say that you will be very pleased with his product.

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Welcome to the forum Jim.

A price list of some sort, and examples of "rough" work in high res pics (several) would be a good idea.

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No offense taken Setch...having a project as nice as yours this-><-close to being done would put me in the same frame of mind... :D

.DXF files BTW are not that difficult to come up with these days, any decent drafting program will get it done (I use Canvas 9 on a Mac, and it's great). The more difficult part might be to download the mental concept of what you want onto paper in 2-D. Its always a good idea to print it out on a large-format printer, or 4 sheets of paper, and cut it out and look at it before you commit it to wood.

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Its not so easy to set any fee, basically I would quote per job, I can cut a body in 30 minutes no problem, but the process of setting up a job can take an hour.

I have not updated my website in about 6 months but you can see my machine and what it does at

http://www.noahjames.com

I had this machine custom made to my specs so it does wood, metal or plastic. Actually it is a upgraded milling machine. The reason I went that way was because it is so accurate. Standard Routers can't do inlays or metal work. This machine could engrave your name on your fingernail.

I actually use 3D programing with G codes, but for basic body roughing I can use DXF format.

And as someone stated, I do the roughing work, That is basically everything except sand the body. I do have a thickness sander that I use for the top and back and a Spindle sander I use for the sides, All are done to #150 grit.

I can also make Templates and Jigs for various projects that people may need.

Jim

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Thanks for offering your services, Jim, and welcome to the forum.

Greg

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.DXF files BTW are not that difficult to come up with these days,

hi

what exactly do you call a *.dxf file (ready for the mill)- are we talking about contours or complete 3D models?

Imagine a strat - you draw the shape , you want it to be yx thick and then you have a few routings to do - the trem , the PU and here and there a cavity - front or back or both -

in 2D you only get to see outlines - You further want a certain radius over rounded at the outside edges, may be a binding on the top - how is the process - has it all to be 3D modelled or ...........what ever suggestion I could put in here ....how ? B) please

would it be the combination of 2D and communication ?

thanks

gitCAD

btw: this is my first posting - please allow me to introduce myself a bit later :D

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Folks, this is like we're all hanging around shooting playground basketball and then Michael Jordan shows up and offers to shoot our freethrows for us. It's not only an unbelievable opportunity for everyone here, but its an act of kindness from someone with quality character. Even if you never take advantage of it, be thankful of the offer. Jim is humble and will never toot his own horn, but in many ways he is the Michael Jordan of our industry.

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Thank You Jim for offering your time and services to us at PG, busy as you must be.

And thanks Brian and Kevan also, I'm sure one or both of you had something to do with it. :D

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I've had very limited experience with .DXF files, and no experience with a CNC router, but here's what I've done before.

Using Canvas 9 (Deneba Software), I can draw up anything in 2D to any scale, then save it as a .DXF file (say, outline of a LP body). I hand the .DXF over to my friend who does something (I don't know what) to load the file into the CNC computer; maybe it's the .DXF raw, I don't know for sure. He sets the depth of the rout, depending on the thickness of the blank, then roughs out the outline of the body according to the drawing.

Pickup routs? No problem; separate .DXF file shows the 2D shape and position of the routs; my friend sets the depth and away it goes.

Neck pocket? Roundover? Same deal. Holes for V/T pots? No problem. The key is to use EXACTLY the same point of origin and scale for all of the files that go with one body. Otherwise you're dead. You might be able to (somehow) merge them into a single file, but that's how we've done it (grand total of 2 bodies).

I'm certain you could get the CNC to mill the carve on the LP top, and the neck contour as well, but I really don't know (yet) how to set anything like that in 3D. I can imagine how to do it as a series of 2D routs (contour lines), but not fully 3D.

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ok- I understasnd what you say - I personally have not yet done it all the way. I met somebody internetwise, who told me that he needed my pixel drawing that I had created for printing out and creating templates in vektor (*.DXF) in order for his cnc ...

So I got started redrawing in vektor and other then you, I have all layers in one file (and in *.dxf) now.

The thing that he does on the machine is called "extrusion" in the 3D modelling language - he extrudes the 2D file to its 3D depth/hight whatever, it is a very simple parametric numeric input (z-axis)

He still needs the information on how deep each extrusion wants to be - in 2D that is a matter of extra written information, while the 3D model should read it out.

Looking at it from here I actually think, that the single file way you discribe is better when you have many layers, because you can name them better, the layer/object name menu is not the best in the *.dxf I think - its not like a photoshop file :D the name might not be maintained between different programs. That is a problem when you have a file and a routing that is called e.g: " stealth board under pickguard route" - I mean unusual extra things in uncommon places :D

I'd be interessting to read what the opener of this thread has to say, how he preferes

format and files ? B)

The roundover, so I imagine, is only done from the shape and the use of the router bit along the line. That is what I ment with communication or 3 D model - only the 3D model can tell - "ah that edge is a roundover and the other is for a binding".

I don't even know if the complete 3D model would get confusing since you don''t see so clear in which step you have to change the bit - these things I would like to clear :D - no machine will tell us " I know what you mean" unless you first tell it :D

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Here is a 3d model of a Les Paul top that I have been working on.

lptop.JPG

Here are another view of the top and 2 views of an unfinished neck.

neck

back of neck

isometric top

This is all machinable data created in mastercam. I hope to start machining this guitar after x-mas on the cnc machine at my work.

I realize the carve on the lp top is not exact but I'm really happy with it. The neck drawing obviously is not finished yet still needs a tennon.

These are the types of cad work you would need to do 3d work like carving a lp top.

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I'd be interessting to read what the opener of this thread has to say, how he preferes

format and files ? B) 

hello

I don't want to be rude or pushy - but I find my question very important :D

so I'd like to put it back to memory

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I'd be interessting to read what the opener of this thread has to say, how he preferes

format and files ?

When working with design programs, use "curves"; NOT SPLINES! This will make the DXF *so much* easier for Jim to work with. Also, if your software allows you to export to IGES format, that's a good one too.

If the file is in a format that Jim has problems with, he'll tell you right away. But the info above should help minimize difficulty between your idea and his CNC.

Frank- great analogy! :-)

Drak- you're welcome. :-)

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When working with design programs, use "curves"; NOT SPLINES!  This will make the DXF *so much* easier for Jim to work with.  Also, if your software allows you to export to IGES format, that's a good one too.

thank you for the response - thats indead very interesting, that thing with curves and not splines - I have to go and find out right away why that is so - thanks :D

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