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Uk Laser Cutting?


Prostheta
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Hey all - i've done some investigation into making thick acrylic templates (10mm-12mm) within the UK and was wondering if anyone on the board has access to a laser cutter, or knows of a luthier-friendly source for the service. Specifically I am wanting to cut bodies and headstock templates, although as one-offs at this stage. Cuts are body outlines with etched reference marks....

(tried HuntinDoug, but shipping would make this prohibitive for US>UK)

Cheers all. :D

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we have one at school (teacher not student) but its not big enough for a full body and i am still doing baby steps with my own small templates at the moment

in theory it would work for a jigsawed template - do both halfs seperately with a key section in the middle

at the moment i dont have enough kudos and experience to offer to get your work done, i struggle to get a few pickup templates done, but that might be because i should be teaching.... but who knows whats residing in your local school or college - if they offer courses it might be worth asking!

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www.pololu.com are well priced. They are in the states, but is there a real reason why you need 10-12mm thick acrylic? Why not 6mm acrylic? I've got plenty of custom templates made by pololu, and I use them as masters to make copies on ply/mdf.

Next month I'm going to get some templates made (full-body size), we could talk about sharing shipping if you want.

Edited by Supernova9
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Cheers Wez - a CDT teacher friend has access to a laser cutter, but the bed size is pretty small.

I use thick templates because I run two bearings on my template cutters, plus it gives you a better range of movement for selecting the amount of cut per pass.

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What I mean is - why use the relatively expensive 10-12mm material for anything other than master templates? One slip of the router on a plexi template like that and you'll be out at least £40 (including manufacturing costs), use a 6mm template to make a 3/4" ply template or similar and a slip would only cost like £5.

Also, why run two bearings on your template cutters? Surely just being accurate with your depth settings whilst using one would be more efficient?

Edit: I just re-read this, and I don't mean it to sound harsh/critical, I'd really love a [curiousity] tag on this board - I'm genuinely interested in the benefits of using multiple bearings.

Edited by Supernova9
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For exactly the reason you stated about router damage to templates. I would rather run two or more bearings (as long as there is enough shank left for the cutter to be secure in the collet) against the template edge to ensure that any bearing seizures don't ruin templates and workpieces. Fair enough, a 6mm MDF template is almost expendable, but the wood underneath isn't :-D

Having two bearings is an insurance policy. Secondly, having two bearings means you can set your cutting height within a greater range, especially when you have a thicker template. Sometimes you may be running one bearing against the template, but more often than not it's still two. For reference, I use 1/2" depth CMT cutters rather than the bigger 1" cutters since I prefer to be patient with my routing passes.

In hindsight, 10mm is inconvenient for a cutting house to make templates from as it takes more time to cut, so I guess it would be satisfactory to make a master template from 5mm and use that to produce templates from the thicker stock.

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Cool, I just use the 1 bearing, but I might give 2 a go now :D

And by the way just to give you an idea of the pricings for that company I mentioned above - I got 840 sq in. of 1/4" clear acrylic and 22 minutes of cutting time on their laser CNC for $60. Shipping was $57. That got me a full-size LP body template, and another template for an inlaid top (two templates - male template for the top shape and female template to rout the cavity in the body blank to receive the top).

No set-up charge, I just provided the DWF files and they cut them. Brilliant customer service too. With the dollar the way it is, that's great pricing I'd say.

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