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Another build from the contents of the garage


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Just been continuing my current trend of building using odds and sods from the garage. This time with aluminium and plastic in addition to the use of left over carbon fibre from the previous build.  

One thing that I didn’t envisage was the fact that when working on it the aluminium heats up to such an extent that the epoxy melts and the CF lamination comes loose, for this reason I am using additional bolts for support.

For the fretboard section I’m using another 6mm strip of CF and some aluminium. This will have the added benefit of providing more structural support for the tension of the strings.

As you can see it’s really rough and ready at the moment, will hopefully look the muts nuts eventually. Some may question the order in which I have done things with regards to the headstock, but there are methods behind the madness. Prettyness will get their eventually, quite industrial at the moment 😉

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really throwing tradition to the wind - alum, carbon fiber, plastic - I like it.  I imagine aluminum would make a challenge for wood glue too... you could probably heat it up just sanding it - enough to loosen the bond. 

looking fwd to seeing what sort of body you will marry to this.

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8 hours ago, mistermikev said:

really throwing tradition to the wind - alum, carbon fiber, plastic - I like it.  I imagine aluminum would make a challenge for wood glue too... you could probably heat it up just sanding it - enough to loosen the bond. 

looking fwd to seeing what sort of body you will marry to this.

I’m bolting it to a hollow centre block of aluminium, with some wings bolted on…possibly separated a little so you can see the bolts, although not sure yet.  Shape isn’t decided yet.
 

On a different note I’m thinking a 2K finish would be good for the neck, considering the overall vibe and the materials.  Maybe on the body too. 
 

Obviously this isn’t the full width of the neck, still lots of work to do. But I love me a challenge.

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That is seriously cool. Am I correct in assuming the aluminium core of the neck means you wont be bothering with a truss rod? What about routing the aluminium and carbon fibre, are you going to be routing it out to get a pickup over the neck tenon? I'm both scared and excited. 

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8 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

That is seriously cool. Am I correct in assuming the aluminium core of the neck means you wont be bothering with a truss rod? What about routing the aluminium and carbon fibre, are you going to be routing it out to get a pickup over the neck tenon? I'm both scared and excited. 

Yes, there’s no truss rod. It worked in the last build so I’m trying it with this one too 😆 There’s the fretboard section that is going on top which is another carbon fiber and aluminium sandwich, so I’m not too worried about tension issues, it’s always at the back of the mind but it should be fine I reckon. 

In terms of routing, that would certainly be a lot of work 😃 No tenon, it’s just a bolt on design. 

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The talent and imagination of members continues to stun me. This will be something I pay attention to for sure - good luck (not that you need it)!

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Neat idea! I like the concept of using non-traditional materials, curious to see where you take it and how the end result pans out.

FWIW aluminium will route with regular woodworking router bits, but remember to go super carefully (templates only, no freehand routing!), clamp everything securely and take tiny bites at a time - the closer you can get the workpiece to the final shape using other methods before attacking it with the router the better. Wear will be much faster on the cutting edges too, so expect to throw your bits away after you've built your instrument. You don't get 'dust' as such, more like tissuepaper-like slivers of metal, so wear safety goggles/glasses.

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18 minutes ago, curtisa said:

Wear will be much faster on the cutting edges too, so expect to throw your bits away after you've built your instrument

Or rather, sharpen them afterwards! It shouldn't be too difficult: https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/careandsharpeningofrouterbits.aspx

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43 minutes ago, curtisa said:

Neat idea! I like the concept of using non-traditional materials, curious to see where you take it and how the end result pans out.

FWIW aluminium will route with regular woodworking router bits, but remember to go super carefully (templates only, no freehand routing!), clamp everything securely and take tiny bites at a time - the closer you can get the workpiece to the final shape using other methods before attacking it with the router the better. Wear will be much faster on the cutting edges too, so expect to throw your bits away after you've built your instrument. You don't get 'dust' as such, more like tissuepaper-like slivers of metal, so wear safety goggles/glasses.

Thanks for the advice there! Great to know. I’ve been quite shy about the idea of moving the router anywhere close to the aluminium 😂

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I should also note that I've personally only done it with a maximum of 10mm thick aluminium sheet, and even then I was taking half a mm off per pass at the most. I wouldn't recommend doing it if you're looking at shaping anything thicker, taking more material off in one go or you're at all unsure about what you're doing.

Technically it does work, but the risks of things going south are much greater than routing wood. A blowout in timber may just take a chunk out of the workpiece. A blowout in aluminium may send the whole workpiece and/or the router in very unpredictable directions very quickly. Approach with extreme caution.

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Now I am the owner of a Schaller 3D6 bridge, some Perspex/lucite (picked up from the car boot sale for £5!) and an EMG M50 (mini bucker).

Will be making the Perspex the required thickness with some acrylic ‘cement’. This will be on the ‘wings’ of the body. 
 

This is starting to take on a Travis Bean mixed with Dan Armstrong vibe 😉
 

will update soon when I get some more photos 😁

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  • 3 weeks later...

Slow progress at the moment but had a change of plan…this may turn out to have been a foolish plan but we will see how it goes.

I have tipped the neck on each side and filled in the bottom sections with epoxy. Thinning the neck whilst not melting it will be the main concern now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Done some shaping of the back and an approximate test fit of the frets. So far so good.

Trying to figure out a finish for the aluminium fretboard though. It scratches really easily. I suppose I could do epoxy. Thought about CA glue too? Not sure that would work but may try out on a test piece of metal. Maybe I don’t need a finish on there at all? Hmm. Suggestions welcome.

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6 minutes ago, Charlie H 72 said:

Whoa, an aluminum fretboard! I say leave it, I bet when you start playing it, it will scratch to a semi-uniform sort of distressed finish. Maybe like a metallic dirty maple fingerboard? 

Well it is a build for myself (at the moment at least) so I may well go down that route 😃

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1 minute ago, Bizman62 said:

Anodizing might be an option... Doing at home may not be possible due to the chemicals used not being available for mere mortals but you may find a service provider.

I have given that a thought and do have possible contacts. Just have limited time these days to work on things. We will see 😃

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