Build 3 - Something Different

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Jim_in_PA, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Tele at heart when it comes to the metrics, but I wanted to do something that was "mine" to go with the neck/headstock design I had been noodling with. And what a nice way to leverage a 360mm wide hunk of sapele that I picked up last summer while at a sign-making training class down in Suffolk VA. :)

    So I came up with a double cut with a top contour that favors arm relief like a Strat and with a belly cut. Both serve for weight reduction, too. The cuts and contours were done using Vectric's molding tool paths that Alex Navaro featured in a video not long ago...a little easier than modeling them in 3D and faster, more efficient when cutting. This one is for humbuckers, but I can easily flip the design to Tele-style single coils. This is designed for two-sided machining.

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    I cut the back side first which includes a slight round-over for the edge, the ferrule recesses, the control pocket and recess for the cover and for this design, the belly and horn relief cuts

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    Then the top gets cut.

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    It's important to note that the CNC is just cutting out the body in the same way one would do it manually. It still needs the same refinement and hand work to complete the job. The big advantage to using the CNC is it removes some of the drudgery work, adds consistency and most importantly for a "new" design, provides the ability to visualize things and work out details before a single piece of expensive wood gets touched.

    I did a little sanding on the contours before releasing the body from the waste because it held things flat and stable. From there, all of the machining marks were removed from the top and bottom with 80 grit on my ROS. The body still needs to get the edges treated at the OSS once I have a large table project out of the way and then a whole lot more sanding to get it where it needs to be. But here are some photos that illustrate the design and contouring I ended up with this first iteration of the design.

    (just wiped down with DNA, which is why there may be some color spots)
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    And here are views of the "package" with the neck mock up design

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    I'll get back on this later next week...I have to see this ~93" x ~39" table project for a client through first...it's monopolizing my bench and other spaces. :D

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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  2. POS Guitars

    POS Guitars Tele-Meister

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    Your guitar looks fantastic. I like that you are taking an original approach to a classic design.

    As far as CNC goes, I don't use it, because I don't have one. (Working on it though).

    There is nothing wrong about using CNC, it makes the job faster and easier. There is still plenty of hand work that goes into the craft, and the instrument is still hand made.

    Good job.
     
  3. brandonh

    brandonh Tele-Meister

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    Wow! The guitar looks great!

    Someone’s going to be very happy with that table, too. I hope we get an update on that, also :)
     
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  4. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I decided to go with sapele for the neck on this instrument, too, and while I was waiting for glue to dry on another project, I cut it. To add a little visual interest since the body and neck would be the same material, I added a maple 'skunk stripe' to the back of the neck. One other thing I did a little different was to run the finishing tool path on the back of the neck across the contour rather than parallel to the neck. This provided a much better surface because of how a ball nose cutter gets inefficient as it moves down a steep slope. The end result is a lot cleaner and will require a lot less scraping and sanding to get it to the final surface prior to finishing. The cost was a little more time to cut, but it's totally worth it, IMHO. I will do them this way going forward for sure.

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    And Brandon, since you asked, the table top came off clamps today and will get taken to a wide belt sander tomorrow for final surfacing. One pass on the back side, and either one or two on the top, depending on how a very small depression near the knots comes out. That thang is 2" thick and, um...really heavy. :)

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  5. builtbyseb

    builtbyseb TDPRI Member

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    Very cool guitar in the making :)
     
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  6. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Thanks! I hope to get back to this soon...after I finished up some client work, I decided to do a little shop renovation project that I had been planning for some time now. It will actually benefit my guitar making efforts because it will allow space for a dedicated "fit for purpose" bench independent from my larger primary bench. I'm almost done with those changes...just have some cleanup to do and a little upgrade to how I'm handling my CNC's control computer to eliminate some cables on the floor, support a larger display, etc.

    If I didn't have other important stuff to do, like take care of client jobs, cook for my family, sleep, etc., I could likely turn these things out in quantity. LOL I never figured I'd been this busy after retiring from full time work two years ago. :D
     
  7. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Today was the day to do a little more work on this project as I completed the small renovation project in my shop, got things back to organized and cleared off any remaining client work.

    To start off, I cut the neck free and removed the tabs so I could test fit it to the body. This neck is also sapele with a little maple skunk stripe on the back. The fit is fine and I'm seriously considering making this a set neck so I can do some further sculpting on the back side of the heel/body for even better access to upper frets. I really do like the body shape and neck design together.

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    I will certainly think a little more about that. In the meantime, it was time to cut a fretboard. I scored a nice piece of east Indian Rosewood at Hearne a few weeks ago and I think that the darker fretboard will really look nice on this instrument. So I cut a hunk off and re-sawed and thicknessed two fretboard blanks and set things up on the CNC. The wood has a really spicy smell to it...quite interesting.

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    This rosewood species cuts really nicely and after a bit of time and a few tool changes, it actually looks like a fretboard. :)

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    The surface off the machine is much nicer than the maple I've cut with the same file. Once it's sanded/scraped, it's going to positively glow

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    For those wondering...this is what the tiny cutter looks like that does the fret slots... .023", three flute running at 18K RPM, 20 ips, five passes per slot. This tooling is from PreciseBits (Tinker and Tinker) in Colorado.

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    Here's the fretboard with the edges cleaned and ready for assembling to the neck when I'm ready to do that task. It's cut slightly long at the headstock end so I can precisely trim it before blending into the sweep up from the headstock to the neck surface.

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    Yea, I like this. A lot.

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  8. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice work.
     
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  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Your fretboard prompted me to find out about tabs in Meshcam. I've been bypassing them it seems or I need to upgrade to the next version.
     
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  10. photondev

    photondev Tele-Holic

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    That is a very nice guitar. Excellent work.
     
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  11. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Marty, tabs are one of those things that sometimes are extremely valuable in keeping things stable when cutting, especially complex things (such as the back of the neck) or files that need precision, such as the fretboard which is starting at 6mm thick and heading south from there as the radius is cut in, etc. On the neck and body I use straight tabs for their added strength. For the fretboard, I used 3D tabs which are like little triangles and slow the feed rate less since the Z-axis changes are gradual rather than an abrupt up and down. You can just make out one in the photo above that shows the heel end of the fretboard. There are other times when just an onion skin is the right solution or if you are holding down something thin with the masking tape and super glue technique, you can sometimes eschew using tabs. The latter is how I cut the pick guard for my first build.
     
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  12. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

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    Marty, I use tabs all the time in CAMBAM. If I recall, you have that software also. Pretty easy to add them and place where you want.
     
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  13. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have drawn in tabs on parts in the past, but mostly I have used double sided tape most of my work. That worked out well. I found that Meshcam calls tabs supports and I always skipped that section because I thought is was something to hold up the work the way it is described. I tried a dummy program with them and it comes out...so I'll incorporate that into my 3d work now if I need to.
     
  14. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Robert, I found the documentation on Cambam to really be hard to use, so I never looked...I will dig deeper now that you mention it.
     
  15. I_build_my_own

    I_build_my_own Friend of Leo's

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    I failed on them too in Cambam. If anyone has screenshot of the parameter section for a tab that would be great.
     
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  16. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well there's this...lol.
    I use the engrave function most every time, not the profile part.


    http://www.cambam.info/doc/plus/cam/HoldingTabs.htm
     
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  17. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Try the painter's tape and superglue method...you'll never use double stick tape again! For hold-down I use a variety of methods and sometimes more than one at a time. On that fretboard above, short pocket screws (because of the flat bottom heads) had the four corners and the clamps only held down the middle. I used the clamps to quickly insure that the piece stayed flat. It wasn't going to mover anywhere laterally, but theoretically could flex a little in the middle given it was about 600mm long.
     
  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I tried it. The fumes are killer and the amount of glue needed costs more than the tape. 30 years of dust and solvents have impacted my respiratory system to the point where I don't use them if I can help it.
     
  19. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    love this new shape! cant wait for the guitar to be finished!!

    Man, I wish I can do this, build guitars, cnc, etc.. that way I wont have GAS pains when I can just build it!
     
  20. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    dreaming', you CAN build guitars and it doesn't take a huge investment in fancy tools. If you're not comfortable with the idea of building necks, then buy them and build your own bodies. It really is pretty basic woodworking and I believe that most people can do a good job with it if they want to. I'm using the CNC because I happen to have one, but it's not required. It's role for me is do to the heavy shaping...the rest of the work is identical to building entirely with hand tools, honestly.
     
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