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Last thread was just a feasability study - thanks for all your input guys - it really did help, and I continue to need feedback, as I am still only a four month old in my guitar building phase (but 30 years old in high-end woodworking / composites).  

I am getting my rough milled basswood body blanks from my luthier tomorrow, and he is working on my custom spec necks so I decided to start a new thread to kickoff these "different" builds.  This build thread needed an easier title too, as "Elliptical cross section body for T-formed acrylic" is about as interesting as Chenglish instruction manuals.   Look up that thread if you want background info on these builds.  

Will be posting pics of recent castings in 1/4" acrylic like this one below for a few days, as the color possibilities are endless, given the endless metallic / pearlesecent / borosilicate pigments available now coupled with the masking technique I recently figured out on this stuff.  After doing a half dozen or so panels, I will be choosing three to do the first three guitars with.  Kind of set on this "Fire" panel for the 2nd one and the gold / silver boro in the "Quilt" pattern as # 1.  The dichroic inlay tests went very well too, so the necks will have the appropriate color inlay according to the body panel choice.  

 

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Those are really amazing effects.  I was intrigued by your last post and this one promises to be just as good :)

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Thanks, Andy!  Thermoforming and cutting that Fire face was such a PITA today.  You have to cut the panel AFTER thermoforming in order to get a nice consistent convex curve, but then the surface is out of focus on the laser the whole time.  So I laser cut the pup openings first, then cut the outline (which will be flush trimmed to the body, after scribing and shaping the body to fit the curve), and cutting the outline required me to lift the edges into focus as the laser was cutting.  I think I will use my bandsaw next time, and just laser the interior openings.  This is why I am doing this project - to learn all the fabrication techniques required with this material.  Will post pics of these soon.  

The bodies were perfect.  I sent a laser cut template to my luthier (Attila Custom Guitars) and picked up the bodies today.  Great to team up with a serious, detailed guy.  His FB is Attila's FB page.  He does amazing guitars.  The best part it that his shop is within walking distance of me.   

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Next one - Done in Fire Burl.  The Fire burl is too visually busy and dominating, so I contrasted it with a black interior that roughly follows a strat pickguard outline with some sexified line augmentation.  Then the Fire Burl looks great against lime green metallic, so I tested a bunch of green metallics and came up with green candy over green to blue borosilicate in the "liquid" section.  Metaphoric of it "dripping with color", and you could say that its a little too much going on, but hey, these are prototypes.   Going with another rainbow chrome Floyd Rose again with this one too.  

Back carving the acrylic is quite a challenge - never doing it again, unless I get five figures for another one.  

 

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On 4/21/2017 at 3:17 PM, StratsRdivine said:

Back carving the acrylic is quite a challenge - never doing it again, unless I get five figures for another one.  

Is that what is going on in the last pic?

SR

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Yep, last photo is the smoothing stage with a ball grinding bit after doing the initial carving with a carbide ball mill.  Too bad this one won't be in one of the three first builds.  After living with it for a while, I decided that I didn't like that green "drip" carving.  It is good, but not awesome enough to be included in these three builds.  I will keep it, and it may become a guitar if my current "Fire Burl" lamination is not as cool as I think it will be.  

The outer multi-colored stuff in the top pics is a new, recent lamination I call "Fire Burl".  I used inlay grade Fire Burl for that face, which is a tighter pattern, with lower topography so it inlays into necks in a .040" cavity.  The heavier topography version looks way better, so I just laminated a panel this morning and am hoping it thermoforms nicely.  If so, I will not do the black inner part with the green back carving.  It will be the whole body face.  Then I will overlay black acrylic around the knobs, bridge and pups.  I think it will look better - simpler, kindof less is more.  A good artist knows when to stop, and I think I went too far on this last one - a bit too Roger Dean ish (as much as I love his Yes album covers).   

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Today's lamination of the deep topography Fire Burl in 1/4" acrylic went great.  The panel also thermoformed without bubbling, formed to a 26" radius nicely, and is ready for cutting.  Will be a much better blank than the previous one with the green liquid back carving.   On top of that, I thermoformed the 4th quilted acrylic panels with high adhesion back coating to very uniform radii.  Now on to the easy part - making guitars with this stuff.  Trust me - it is the easy part.  I may not say that when these are done in a month or so.  

 

Fire Burl-Guitar body-raw.JPG

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Scribing, then planing the bodies to the scribe line and carving the cutaways went quick - likely cuz I have been so looking forward to doing it, and have rehearsed every step.  

Looks like I will need to put a handle on my 2-1/2" DIA drum.  The 3" DIA just didnt quite fit in the cutaway scallops.  All the more difficult cuz I drew the flames in CAD anticipating the cutaway scallops, so I have to carve the scallops right up to an even margin next to the flames.  Got a little too close on the top horn due to that 3" DIA drum.  Should have carved the quilted acrylic body first.   

The chainsaw carving blade worked like a dream, even with my sphincter tightening death grip on it.  Gotta get used to it with the tummy cuts.  Gottalot of experience with blades in my grinder but I also have over a hundred stitches in both hands as well . . . 

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2 hours ago, StratsRdivine said:

, even with my sphincter tightening death grip on it. . . 

 

 

I do the same every time I grab a router. Every single time.

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Done scalloping and flush trimming these two. The latest Fire Burl panel is curing right now (cracked the one above with the jigsaw - really ticked me off, but the one thats curing now is twice the depth).  That one will blow these away.  

 

Scalloped-n-Flushtrimmed.JPG

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Did a mockup of a fingerboard in Red Burl acrylic. Yes, I said acrylic fingerboard.  Will be free floating to expand and contract by being locked at the nut, and "T" blocks glued underside of the Dichrolam to slide inside T-slots either side of the truss rod.  Highly likely it will fail on a ton of fronts, but need to try it, as it would look so cool.  The two other necks will be standard inlays of Dichrolam, one in Richlite so the inlays can be nearly all the way to the fret slots.  

Then I milled my heel relief prior to radiusing the back to a 25" Radius.  Kindof a cool jig, so I thought I'd share it.  Simple dado chipper for side milling.  Worked like a dream.  Just need to plane the bolt face flat.  

 

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Insane amount of tools just for shaping.  My favorite above all is my 1-1/8" belt sander.  Can't imagine guitar building without one.  When you remove the graphite backing plate, you can contour outside curves so perfectly - only hitting the high spots, and will conform to radii as tight as 9" DIA depending on pressure, and even that can be adjusted for tighter radii by loosening the belt tension.  After planing the 38" radius backs, the plane left a series of flat areas, which were smoothed in 3 minutes with the unbacked sander.  

 

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if you mentioned in previous post my apologies but how do you plan on finishing these and (2nd question)- will the finish go on the acrylic as well or only the wood?

that sander looks pretty bad ass- I personally would get in trouble with it with say 80 grit on it. I had to back off the grit on my little 1/2" b&d sander as it was just too aggressive. (or my use of it was not delicate enough- depending on perspective).

not sure why but I am suddenly wondering how a stage light would reflect off that quilt you have going on in your May 4th post. I am channeling back to a concert from many years ago- cannot for the life of me remember who it was- but they had broken pieces of mirror I think on their guitar and a spot light hit it and it was the coolest thing ever (or atleast it was to a 15/16 yr old Mr natural)

pretty impressive how you have replicated the quilts - very cool man.

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1 hour ago, Mr Natural said:

 

not sure why but I am suddenly wondering how a stage light would reflect off that quilt you have going on in your May 4th post. I am channeling back to a concert from many years ago- cannot for the life of me remember who it was- but they had broken pieces of mirror I think on their guitar and a spot light hit it and it was the coolest thing ever (or atleast it was to a 15/16 yr old Mr natural)

 

 

Paul Stanley and his mirrored iceman, perhaps?

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12 hours ago, Mr Natural said:

if you mentioned in previous post my apologies but how do you plan on finishing these and (2nd question)- will the finish go on the acrylic as well or only the wood?

Finish will only go on the body base only, as the acrylic has been shaped to fit the body, then polished final.  Then I waxed the back-beveled underside edges of the acrylic, then mounted the acrylic to the raw wood body, then epoxy filled the gap so that the loose acrylic would fit the body like a glove (you can't permanently glue the acrylic due to expansion / contraction issues).  Then I popped the acrylic off, and sanded the epoxy, then finished the body (sealer is currently hardening as of this post).  

As far as the finish?  Well, this will get me banned off this forum for life, disqualify me for any GOTM competitions, and registered as a guitar offender with my address posted so luthier school children will know to walk on the other side of the street.    

Yes, polyester gelcoat sealer then 2K urethane metallics, and topcoats.  There.  I said it.  I figured that since I am breaking all the rules by "destroying tone" with the acrylic face, I might as well go all the way.  But seriously, these are stage guitars, not studio guitars.  My buddy gigs with my current acrylic faced guitar, and he can't tell any difference.     BTW, I don't plan to leave more than total 7 - 11 mils on these (15 mils sealer, sanded to 4, then 10 wet color+top, then cut and buffed to 4).  Most tone killing arguments I have read about are based on 50 mil + builds, because factories have to hose on the PE so thick that unskilled sanders at a buck an hour don't sand through.     

 

EpoxyFill.JPG

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17 hours ago, Mr Natural said:

sweet spray job man!

 

Thanks!  Got a lot of experience, just not on guitars.  Compared to all the other stuff I have sprayed, this is relatively easy as far as the actual spraying is concerned, but the level of perfection needs to be higher,  

Just sprayed the body for the gold/silver quilt top.  This has iridised gold borosilicate over white.  A little tip for pearl spraying:  You can't over "solventate" your pearl coat.  I cut the urethane 50% with thinner on the blue/magenta boro body above, and the platelets didn't quite lay as flat as I wanted.  Still looks awesome, but specular leafing could be better,  I cut the gold boro coat with 75% thinner below, and it layed out awesome.  

 

QuiltGoldBody-sprayed.JPG

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On 5/27/2017 at 7:09 PM, djobson101 said:

I'm definitely a fan of those back contours. Very cool and interesting usage of the chippers to achieve that heel area  :wOOt

Thanks, Man!  It was actually a subconscious "seat of the pants" design.  I forgot that the extra middle thickness needed for the elliptical cross section (needed thick so that the 5way switch had enough depth) would also create too thick of a heel, and knew I had to deal with it by full across scallop / milling, but then decided to radius the scallop, then carve so the peaks of the scallop ridge bisected the horns.   Just happened to work out well, as if I designed it that way.  But if anyone asks at the guitar shows, I will say I designed it that way all along:D.

However, the below was designed like this a long time ago in my head, and finally came to pass.  This is for the silver / gold boro "quilt" body.

Will have gold frets and tuners too.  Can't wait to see all the gold against the Gold Burl inlays.    

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Neck sprayed.  My trademark inlays are "exhaust plumes" which is why I shaded them with white vapor trails.  Needed the whitest possible fingerboard anyway to show off the gold frets, so I bleached the maple as well, which whitens it, but doesn't remove a slight yellow cast so I plan to pull out one of my finishing tricks and add the slightest amount of purple dye to the clearcoat to cancel out the yellow.  

6AQuilt-silver-shopshot.JPG

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That is looking quite rich, like it's built from platinum and light. I'm looking forward to seeing the final product.

SR

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Thanks, Scott!  This is the one I am really psyched for.  Just sprayed today.  There is even carbon fiber in the cutaway scallops.  Ever heard of 6A quilt?  Now you have.  

 

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