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hi

inspired by a number of topics that I came across and the fact that my board remains unsurpassed - ooops no the word was unfrequented sorry- B) I give it a try .... (thanks jer7440 for posting over there)

I'd like to ask you what CAD Software you use (or would like to use) for guitar construction and why - may be what you miss and what you would like to see.

I came across two turbo CAD enquiries somewhere in between, and I was wonderiung why.

Does any body know the difference between Turbo Cad and IntelliCAD. The latter as far as I know is very similar to AutoCAD for a tenth of the price, but to be honest, I don't know how good AutoCAd is in the first place or compared to other big systems like Inventor or Catia or Solid Edge a.s.o.

What good is it anyways to buy a huge software for tons of money if we don't know how to handle it afterwards, or if it has tons of functions that you will never need in guitar building, even for the finest modelling of carved tops etc.

Some of you might be working professionally with a CAD and guitars is only a hobby, but how about those who exclusively want to construct guitars.

C'mon chat a little about it - professionals and amateurs

:D

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Yeah, I'm wondering about the same thing. I'm thinking of CNCing a one piece guitar, but I need to know what program. I think the most popular would have to be autocad, but I don't really know.

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I run SolidWorks 2004 here. I've had it for a couple of years and absolutely love it. My degrees are NOT engineering based, but in SW, I can model up anything I imagine.

My local machine shop also runs SolidWorks and SolidCAM, so revisions to my designs are email-quick.

Yes- SolidWorks is VERY expensive (about $20K for the basic package), but for what I do, it's a great setup.

There are a couple of other threads here about CAD/CAM. Here's a good one for ya:

http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=8469

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Kevan,

Could you expound a little on how you create things in solidworks? I have mastercam, and that has a primative solid modeler in it, but it is tedious to use. I tried to use it to create the LP surface in my avatar, but it just couldn't do it. I ended up having to create it all out of individual surfaces. It took way too long.

How would you do something like and LP top in solid works? Do you have to create a bunch of geometry in 3d space, and use that like cutting tools (thats kind of what I had to do in MC.)?

Any extra info you could give would be great.

Mushy, If you are looking to CNC just 2D shapes, any cad program that will output a dxf file will get you where you need to go.

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Jer- I've not tried to do any carved tops in SW, but I'm pretty sure I could bust one out quickly. Personally, I'd do one big LP outline-shaped extrusion, then cut away the carved parts (and the pickup/neck/jack cavities, of course). Cutting/extruding in 3D is painless in SW- pick a point, select the shape/size, then cut or extrude.

SW is incredibly easy. I previously worked with TurboCAD and AutoCAD, and I have to say that even though it's very pricey, for a goof like me who doesn't have an engineering degree, it's the perfect tool for CAD.

If I had SolidCAM and a CNC machine, you guys would never hear from me again.

:D

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Personally, I'd do one big LP outline-shaped extrusion, then cut away the carved parts (and the pickup/neck/jack cavities, of course).  Cutting/extruding in 3D is painless in

I previously worked with TurboCAD and AutoCAD

Cutting and extruding might be easy but when you start creating carved tops, and you want to cut (away), you will have to model the negative form first, which imho is one more brain-twister, but may be the only way - I have not done it yet and unfortunately I do not know all modelling possibilities, I have heard though, that mashes and nurbs would be the better way - like you would model the shapes of a car ??!

Another thing - if you used Turbo- and also AutoCAD, can you say which one of the two is the better programm, which one can do more things and which one is easier to handle, including those boolean operations?

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Well, I'd model a car much differently than I would a guitar. :-)

In relation to TurboCAD vs. AutoCAD...

Both have their strong and weak points- TurboCAD is inexpensive and quick to figure out, and great for someone taking the initial dive into CAD. You get to learn all the basics. It's cheap and easy, just like the girls I dated in college. LOL

AutoCAD is *ok* for beginners (you can get overwhelmed quite easily), but it has more advanced features which let you design cooler stuff. It's also an industry standard, so if you work with it for a while, you can hop onto any AutoCAD machine and bust out the cool stuff (anywhere in the world). It's like the Swiss Army Knife of CAD software. It can pretty much do it all, and everyone knows what it is. :-)

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Jer-  I've not tried to do any carved tops in SW, but I'm pretty sure I could bust one out quickly.

How about neck shapes? I use SolidWorks (currently SW2005 SP 0) daily at my work too, but I haven't made any trials modeling a guitar until recently. I didin't have to guts to even try to modell a carved top body, because even modeling the neck seemed to be too difficult for me. The fingerboard and back shapes are easy, as well as the headstock and the heel, but the transitions from the neck to the heel and from the neck to the headstock seem to be very tricky to model. Any hints?

My work is mainly traditional machine designing where you have very little chance to use other than straight lines connected with arcs, so my experience with difficult shapes is very limited.

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but the transitions from the neck to the heel and from the neck to the headstock seem to be very tricky to model. Any hints?

hi

this is only an idea and unfortunately I don't know how your software works:

In a program that I have used for a few hours (3D Studio Max) you could do the following , but I must say that there is little control over how that will feel later as a real neck - especially if you consider how much difference a mm makes in real live over the good feel of a neck

create a cylinder and raise to length and reshape it to a half (U know half the basball bat). In 3DSM you can do that with one parameter in percents from piece of cake to half (or less) ..

Once you have half the thing you can select a number of seqments over the distance and "bend" a dynamic taper over the xy, yz and xz koordinates

It probably is a good idea to start the cylinder in a diameter between your nut width and the 16th fret and reshape and size in two halfs from the middle ?!

I apologize if I dumped down your skills .... I just thought of it as a direction hint

@ Kevan: thanks, apparently IntelliCAD is pretty much the same as Autocad and only slowes down drastically with files over 5 MB. I think 5 MB should be ok for guitar projects and the latest Version 5 and 6 Pro is only a few Dollar over the TurboCAD.

So I think I will go for the IntelliCAD - it does not appear to make sense to spend more money and I found a couple of starter Tuts for it as well in the meantime.

For the total Newbie its hard to overview all those features between the programs. If it wasn't for the money, I personally would rather go for a program like Inventor or Catia and Solid Edge - you lucky "bastards" who have those programs and the training at work :D

Edited by gitCAD

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Hey guys,

Here is part of a neck that I did in Mastercam solids.

backneck.JPG

I know this screen shot sucks, but its all I have right now.

When I made this I started with these dimensions: Width and thickness at the nut and width and thickness at the 12th fret. Using these numbers and the appropriate dxf scale template I created wire frame at the nut and the 12th fret and then used a loft function to extrude the "playing part" of the neck.

Then I took the 2D outline of my head stock and placed it at the end of the neck extrusion. I rotated the 2d geometry to the appropriate headstock angle (17 deg), and extruded that outline for the headstock thickness.

Now the transition between the 2 took me forever. Mastercam wouldn't let me just do a variable radius fillet, it just kept puking on me. So, I ended up having to create 2D geometry in the correct 3d space to "cut " what I wanted. I also had to create a curve that I wanted my "cutting tool" to follow. This turned into alot of trial and error until I came up with something I thought was good enough. I could sand it the rest of the way. :D

Would this have been easier in SW? What about creating the carved top? Would you have to create the "negative geometry", or does SW have some sort of freehand kind of thing?

Great thread by the way! B)

Edited by jer7440

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Spy- you've got SW2005 already? You lucky dog! Does it have a whole bunch of upgrades over 2004, or should I just hang out for the revisions in 2006?

Jer- That neck would have been MUCH easier in SW. Personally, I would have done the neck/fretboard first, then lofted the headstock, but that's just me.

In SW, I would do the LP outline, extruded that to it's max thickness, and then cut away the carves in the top that I wanted. I'm not exactly sure what 'negative geometry' relates to, but in SW you can "cut air". And yes- you can freehand in SW. Oh, and there's the option for variable radius fillets as well (my machine shop guy calls me The Fillet King. LOL).

If I get some time this weekend, I'll try to do a neck/fretboard in SW.

Just for fun, I'll knurl the frets. :D

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I use SolidWorks 2004 for a lot of stuff in school etc... It´s really easy for a newbie to learn actually..W/o any tutorials or anything I could make a basic Lamborghini Countach shape after a week of playing around with the program every now & then...And you can render different types of materials as well.. It just makes it heaps more fun to work with when your models actually look something like it would do in reality...It is quite expensive, but you could always get it of the internet or something :D

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Spy- you've got SW2005 already?  You lucky dog!  Does it have a whole bunch of upgrades over 2004, or should I just hang out for the revisions in 2006?

Jer- That neck would have been MUCH easier in SW.  Personally, I would have done the neck/fretboard first, then lofted the headstock, but that's just me.

There are plenty of new features, but apart from the new explode view -tool I haven't found them too useful with my work. For guitar modeling there are interesting new features though, like flexform tool, I wish I just could find the time to read the tutorials and experiment with the new features. The SP 0 has still a lot of bugs and the software hangs quite often, especially if you work with files (especially drawings) created with SW2004.

So far, I've modelled the necks by startiting to lofting a neck between two sketches and protruding the headstock and heel afterwards. I've also tried to do this by protruding a "neck blank" and cutting away unnecessery sections, but ended up having even more problems with the transitions between headstock and the neck.

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snettframifran.jpg

I did that in 10 min today...while cooking my dinner..You can kinda see what the wood textures look like in Sw...

Edited by aidlook

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Nice work, Aid! (I can see your origin though...heh heh) That's a great example of how easy SW is. The wood textures aren't super-detailed, but you can get a general idea, and can label them if need be. If I'm not mistaken, you can also import your own textures.

Spy- thanks for the info. I think I'll just stick with 2004 for a while. It's perfect for my needs.

Sorry guys, but I didn't have time to get to that neck this weekend. I'll find some time soon and time how long it takes me for each section (neck, headstock, fretboard, frets, etc).

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If you´re a decent photographer a cool idea would be to take a photo of your piece of wood...and use that as a texture..That way you could render the guitar with the correct grain pattern..

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Man, Solid Works is kicking my a$$! Here are some pics of the neck I am trying to model for my LP.

swneck6ei.th.jpg

swneck2jpg1kt.jpg

I for my life cant get that stupid thing to roung over the back of the neck. :D I am starting to get a little frustrated.

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I for my life cant get that stupid thing to roung over the back of the neck. :D  I am starting to get a little frustrated.

Same problem here. I've tried different sweep cuts and loft cuts using the edge as the path and scetching the profile(s) with some results but not even near realistic.

I've also tried starting the modeling by sweeping the basic neck shape first between two cross-section scetches. This creates accurate back (and fretboard, if done simultaneously) shape, but leads to problems with heel / headstock transitions.

Unfortunately I don't have my cad-models here now, but I can post some pics when I get home from work.

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I am trying to get a neck model I like, to use for programing a CNC. I had one model that i created in mastercam, but after I cut a prototype on my cnc I realized it was to thin at the headstock joint. That's when I started trying to do it in SW. I like the volute I have so far, I just wish I could get the back of the neck right.

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Back to the original question. AutoCAD is a great program for mechanical and architectural work. It's not so good at fluid curves.

Rhinocerous does a great job of that. It can handle carvetops and neck shapes, but like any software product, the learning curve for 3D surfaces is going to be steep.

You could hand carve dozens of necks or bodies in the time it would take to program your first one. Then you still need to get the neck or body from the virtual on your screen to a physical part. That's the toughest part and will cost you several test necks and bodies to get it right.

Edited by ddgman2001

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