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Linny
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Just wondering what the rest of you guys use when designing a guitar. I currently use Adobe Illustrator which does kinda allow me to draw what i need but i know its not the right thing to use for a technical drawing but i don't know what i should be using.

I basically need to be able to draw full scale and then be able to print it.

How do you go about designing something to make your templates?

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I've used illustrator for my first and second guitar plans and they have worked fine. If you know how to use it I see no reason why not to. Except maybe if you want to design in 3 dimensions.

What I like about illustrator is I'm familiar with it and you can design at 100% size. I take my finished plans to kinkos/fedex office and they print it out. It cost me about 6 bucks.

Edited by sdshirtman
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AutoCAD mostly, but sometimes I'll put things into Inventor for 3D work. Mostly to check layouts, but AutoCAD is faster most times. They currently have trails available of their 2012 release which is pretty nice. I've not played with the AutoCAD 3D capabilities in years, so I don't know how much they've improved.

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This what i am able to do with illustrator. I find the flowing curves to be easy to make. It is things like trapezoids for fingerboards that i am not sure how to draw. Excuse the childish burst. :D Anyone have any screenshots of what they can do in a proper cad program?

Screen%20Shot%202011-08-16%20at%2018.36.46.png

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Rhino CAD will work for 2d and 3d for the dollar it is very good (about $1k). I use it as well as Solid Works. Also I use other 3d and 2d depending on my needs, such as ArtCam Pro, Mastercam, and Aspire. Autocad is antiquated as far as I'm concerned, but that's just me.

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Not that it's economically feasible for most people, I use Autocad to do the initial 2D sketches and mockups of guitars then make them in 3D with Solidworks once I have all of the parts and can measure them and recreate them exactly. Then I know exactly how all of the parts will fit and can get templates lasered out easily at work.

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I also use Rhino, but i've never used any of it's 3D functionality.

For those on a budget, there are several free cad programs out there...

Also, If you know a full time student at a university most of the auto cad type companies give rediculously cheep liscences to students... Im assuming the rational is if you learn on drafting program "A", given the oppertunity, you'll be more likly to choose program "A" once your out of school.

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Don't want to sound like Mr Negativity here, but I think that CAD is a tool and not a solution. It is better practice to do the important work in your head (the things your eyes are in). CAD to me is just a good way to produce empirical evidence of certain mathematical and geometric relationships. It has its place (same as CNC has its place) however it is bad practice to rely solely on a non-physical visualisation.

But that it just me. Mr Negativity.

*feels to the urge to listen to L7 today*

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Just like Prosteta I use Turbo CAD. I started to use a free version that used to be available (might still be out there some were) but switched to using the real deal after a while. 2D CAD is a great way to test things out, to check measurements and to get a general idea of how the end result will look. It makes if possible to quickly give the customer an idea of how the guitar will look. And compared to making really flashy 3D rendering that looks like the real deal this is clearly a drawing and the customer will not expect that the end result looks exactly like the drawing in terms of color, grain pattern etc. An example of a design (customer specified) with and w/o pickguard:

modified.jpg?t=1244562933

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Rhino CAD will work for 2d and 3d for the dollar it is very good (about $1k). I use it as well as Solid Works. Also I use other 3d and 2d depending on my needs, such as ArtCam Pro, Mastercam, and Aspire. Autocad is antiquated as far as I'm concerned, but that's just me.

Ditto on Rhino...Great program. The layout makes more sense to me than other CAD programs. I also use ArtCAM, but that is mainly for toolpaths. But for basic 2D design I use an old vector based sign software called Casmate. I bought my first licensed ver back when DOS was the operating system. Now I'm feeling "antiquated" :D

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I used to use a computer, but I found I'm more productive doing it by hand with French curves. I still use software to make things more precise and symetrical after I'm done, but that's normally all I use it for.

I know that doesn't answer the "what software" question. I just wanted to throw "doing it by hand" into the mix.

Edited by NotYou
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I used to use a computer, but I found I'm more productive doing it by hand with French curves. I still use software to make things more precise and symetrical after I'm done, but that's normally all I use it for.

I know that doesn't answer the "what software" question. I just wanted to throw "doing it by hand" into the mix.

I've only drawn two guitars but as an industrial designer I have done a few other designs. I'm sort of old school, but I use computer on daily basis and my preferred method to design a guitar is to sketch by hand, refine the shape in Illustrator, print it out and do the final shape by hand with French curves (the polycarbonate ones I made for myself 20 years ago). The computer is there only because to me it's much quicker to alter the design there. Once I'm close to the final shape It's again more productive to continue by hand. My euro cent or two.

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Can't agree more on many of these points. To me, drawing splines/Bezier curves in CAD is as much of an art as using French curves. Creating graceful and appropriate shapes using simple and well-selected geometry is very difficult and requires a high degree of feel and intuition. I do think that carves and flowing forms are best handled using physical methods as opposed to digital representation. The beauty of a sublime recurve or waist tuck can only be felt by hand or seen in the play of light over surfaces. Modelling gets us most of the way non-destructively, but it won't replace the physical aesthetic of The Thing itself...and I don't mean Kurt Russell needs to be yer CAD monkey.

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By the way, if you are using ACAD and drawing bodies using splines....you can convert them to 2d polylines using the 'flatten' command. I know splines look great and are easy to tweak for curves etc, but the ability to offset and stuff is also important.

ACAD for me, just because I am sat on it for hours everyday at work.

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Same here Sam, except in TurboCAD of course. I keep the mathematically-derived curves on a seperate layer now before I destructively render them to discrete stepped polylines. I can see this thread turning into a discussion on CAD techniques and pro-"this software" debate! :D

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  • 1 month later...

I've used Catia V5 for my virtual guitar.

CAD is just a tool (I know, I use it every day) and you have to know what you are aiming to do and figure it all out. The computer is not going to do any work for you, it's just going to help you visualize it all so you can avoid making too many obvious mistakes.

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Exactly. I used to send out geotechnical drilling teams with expensive DGPS systems to locate specific spots to drill within 10cm or so, but could they manage to follow instructions? No. The trick is the transition from the CAD to the real world. Often fraught with difficulties and half measures (joke intended).

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