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thaumgarrett

Unconventional (?) CNC Project

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Halloo again.

In the spirit of continuing this adventure, here's my next project...

I6cI7V1.jpg

Context is that I'm not a woodworker but I do work at a business that does a LOT of CNC with Russian birch. I know CNC routing guitars isn't new, but I'd wondered if there was a way to make an entire guitar body - neck and pickup pockets, wire channels, cavity covers, the whole bit - out of a single sheet of plywood with minimal hand-work afterward.

This is actually my second attempt at doing this. The first version was 3-ply, weighed a lot more than expected, and had a buzz that I couldn't diagnose because the wiring scheme was impractical in ways I hadn't realized until it was too late. Hopefully this will turn out better in every way. Planning to have it cut some time before the end of September. Fingers crossed....

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Hi @thaumgarrett. I am currently looking at my 1970s Hohner Les Paul which has a plywood body. It's one of the heaviest guitars I own. It's very resonant though, so no problems for on a tonal level (note to self - don't go there, don't mention the 'T' word 🙄).

I understand that Russian Birch plywood is very strong and stable?

I'm also breaking out the popcorn :popcorn:

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23 minutes ago, Splintazert said:

Hi @thaumgarrett. I am currently looking at my 1970s Hohner Les Paul which has a plywood body. It's one of the heaviest guitars I own. It's very resonant though, so no problems for on a tonal level (note to self - don't go there, don't mention the 'T' word 🙄).

I understand that Russian Birch plywood is very strong and stable?

I'm also breaking out the popcorn :popcorn:

This one's going to have a 1" thick body (because those are 1/2" sheets in the diagram) so hopefully that will cut down on the weight some. 

And in my own experience the birch we use is very resilient and also very difficult to warp. If there's a common complaint it's that the top ply is annoyingly easy splinter and separate while tooling, but it's nothing bondo and a coat of primer can't fix. ;)

Enjoy your popcorn.

 

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If you're going to use plywood, make sure it's the "A grade" stuff. The lower the grade, the crappier laminates and more voids you run into. Voids are the absolute last thing you want to deal with here.

Or you already know all this seeing as you work with it every day.

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They say that failure is proof that you're trying and earlier this week I got a LOT of proof.

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-- Machine tolerance is too high to cut a neck pocket with no cutaway

-- Routing a 2.5-D cut for the output jack removes so much material that the surrounding surface becomes unfinish-able

-- Hand-routing all these deep pockets that I added to leave room for the pots and switches is a horrible chore that I messed up about 100 times in as many seconds

So here's the next iteration....

qEHi9NW.jpg

+ Tele-style body instead of firebird

+ 1.5" thick instead of 1"

+ rectangular cavity covers instead of the weird rounded shapes I was using last time

+ and probably going to use a reverse strat jack plate 

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19 hours ago, thaumgarrett said:

They say that failure is proof that you're trying...

That's about right. 😃

It's probably worth pointing out that (on your Tele) the routing between pickups and switches may pass too close to the pickup screws, causing the wiring to get damaged on assembly. A short diagonal path would be better I'd say.

 

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15 hours ago, Splintazert said:

That's about right. 😃

It's probably worth pointing out that (on your Tele) the routing between pickups and switches may pass too close to the pickup screws, causing the wiring to get damaged on assembly. A short diagonal path would be better I'd say.

 

Hmm good call. I've fixed that now. I think subconsciously I was trying to leave enough wood for the ring mounting screws but it wasn't until reading your response that I realized (duh) they aren't as deep as the actual pickup screws.

And this is why y'all have a wonderful community

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