Plycaster - DIY laser cut plywood Esquire

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by JUSS10, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. JUSS10

    JUSS10 TDPRI Member

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    So I'm new to the forum, well, rather a long time lurker.

    So many years ago a bought a custom neck from Warmoth for a guitar I had planned on building. Well, 5 years later I find the neck in the back of a closet and decided to give this a go. Now, I started with a more traditional build with an alder body blank. I'm a designer and work in R&D with a model shop. I decided to laser cut router templates to cut the body but then had a crazy idea. I had some thin plywood laying around thought I wonder what would happen if I would slice a tele body in to layers and glue it all up like a cake. I found a blueprint online and made a 3D cad model, sliced it in to 9 layers and then went ahead and laser cut 9 layers out of thin ply. I made it a chambered body to keep it light just for fun. Cool thing about it being in layers, I could add wire routing and holes to set depths just by tweaking each layer.

    I went ahead and glued the 7 middle layers together then after that glued on the top and back. I sanded the edges up level out the layers. Being that this whole thing was just a trial, I decided to just sand the body up, fill some holes and just hit it with some primer and paint from the store. I 3D printed the neck shim and also 3D printed some router templates for the jack and control cavity.

    I picked up a Bigsby B16 a while back and had some other spare parts laying around. Ended up stealing a neck from my american standard tele that I never loved. Finally got it all together. For a parts "plycaster", I'm really happy with how it turned out.

    It started as a "I'm going to do it just because I can" but it actually turned out pretty great.

    One quick question for anyone who has a B16, the strings slide around, can I cut a small groove with a file to set the string spacing? Would love some input.

    attached are some photos of the build and the final (well minus a few screws) guitar.

    Justin

    IMG_1463.jpeg IMG_1470.jpeg IMG_1477.jpeg IMG_1549.jpeg IMG_1594.jpeg IMG_1595.jpeg IMG_1597.jpeg IMG_1598.jpeg IMG_1599.jpeg
     
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  2. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    When I saw photo #2 Under the tree.1.jpg I thought to myself "that looks a bit familiar!" Then you went and filled in the holes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:lol:


    Great job by the way!!

    DC
     
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  3. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    good job!
    plywood can sound good, had an old hondo strat with plywood body and had a lot of sustain
     
  4. DonM

    DonM Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Great job, and very inventive. I love my Danelectro; I believe it's made out of Masonite or something like that. Great sound.
     
  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  6. nnieman

    nnieman Tele-Meister

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    That looks great!
    Good job

    Nathan
     
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice guitar. Refreshing when someone does not fear the plywood.

    Is the amp schematic on the pickguard laser etched or paper glued on and clear over top. I suspect etched.

    .
     
  8. JUSS10

    JUSS10 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all the kind works everyone. I honestly thought I'd get some flack for the plywood. It was easy for me to do and the cost with the paint was under $20 for me in materials. I laser cut all the layers, but someone with access to a CNC could easily achieve the same effect.

    guitarbuilder, thanks for the link to that build. I actually work far more with acrylic than wood where I work. The laser I used is normally cutting 3mm acrylic sheet. The thought of an acrylic guitar crossed my mind at one point seeing as I have access to the materials. I was concerned about weight but I may have to give it a try sometime!

    jvin248, pickguard is actually 2mm clear acrylic with a printed schematic on the back. In the past I've made some cool custom pickguards with clear acrylic and maps glued to the back using modge podge to laminate it all together. Wasn't sure what I wanted to do with this one so i just kept the pickguard clear. I almost went no pickguard as i like the naked look but then thought about the schematic as I am also building a 5F1 from spare parts and thought it would be a cool tie in to that build.

    Justin
     
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  9. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

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    That's pretty cool. Wish I had skills like that.

    Question about the plywood: It looks like pretty good wood, is it some kind of finishing wood or just plain old 1/4 inch plywood from Home Depot?
     
  10. JUSS10

    JUSS10 TDPRI Member

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    actually its considered underlayment. Its $15 a 4x8 sheet at lowes (at the time I bought it, it was $13 a sheet). Its honestly not the nicest stuff and there are some voids in it, but I alternated direction a few times and since its so thin at 5mm roughly, when you layer and glue 9 sheets together it becomes really strong.
     
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  11. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    That is one COOL looking guitar! Did you build that yourself?
    BTW....I always thought your "tag line" (I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, etc.) was by Tom Waits. I've since researched and learned it was actually said originally by Dorothy Parker.....you could give credit if you wish (?)....;)
     
  12. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Firstly, that looks fantastic. Nice job & thanks for sharing it.

    The strings slide around? Slide around on what?
     
  13. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Holic

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    On the bigsby roller, unless I misread him.
     
  14. JUSS10

    JUSS10 TDPRI Member

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    Strings were sliding around on the rocking bridge. I guess I was hoping the tension of the string would be high enough to hold in place but the low E kept sliding down when playing. I did some reading and it sounds like slotting the bridge is needed. Also started reading about people suggesting the use of a Compton Bridge.

    I decided to try and make my own Compton style bridge after seeing the cost. Found a chunk of 3/8 in aluminum and after work I drew up the shape based on the radius of the old bridge, cut it out and filed out the shape with the 4mm compensation from end to end. A little emery cloth, brillo pad and finally some steel wool and it turned out pretty good. I notched it to set the strings at 53mm E to E as it gave a pretty good spread over the pickup. I machined the bottom of the bridge flat vs making it rock. Going to see how that works. Tuning stability isn't that great at the moment but I'm also running old OLD strings from the guitar I stole the neck from.

    IMG_1617.jpeg IMG_1613.jpeg IMG_1612.jpeg
     
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  15. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Easy there McGyver. You're showing most of us up
     
  16. JUSS10

    JUSS10 TDPRI Member

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    Honestly not trying to show off, just thought hey, whats it hurt to try? I think anyone who has shaped a body relief or neck profile with a rasp could easily carve their own bridge from aluminum or other soft metal. I just drew out the shape on the piece of stock, rough cut it out, marked some end limits of the profile with a sharpie and just started carving away at it with a course metal file. Moved to a finer file and finessed some of the edges then changed to sand paper and kept getting finer till I used steel wool. Took it to a drill press for the holes, and used a small file to cut the slots.

    Justin
     
  17. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Yeah its one I did for one of the build challenges probably around 2012 perhaps. It has a trapezoidal neck profile and five-way switching, and with the bound fretboard and fret nibs it is very light and nice to play.

    Re the tag............it's something my Dad used to say all the time, he was not a drinking man, but had a million amusing sayings.

    DC
     
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  18. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Late to the party, sorry! But I'll echo what everyone else has said so far. That is one cool looking guitar my friend! I enjoy reading threads of people going about the guitar building hobby without prejudices about materials or building techniques. Even if you had to cut plywood with a jigsaw, that would be a pretty easy thing to do.

    Cheers,

    Alberto
     
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  19. JUSS10

    JUSS10 TDPRI Member

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    Thank you!

    I honestly didn't know if it would work, and I probably put way to much time in to it for the caliber of materials but it was fun and I'd like to try and build another. Time will tell how the guitar holds up. My biggest concern is tuning stability. light, hollow plywood body, bigsby, low break angle, non locking tuners (as of now) and non roller bridge. See how it does after it all settles in I guess.

    If anyone is interested in the cad file with the 9 layers in it, I would be willing to share. It also has my pickguard file and control plate file in there as well as the outline of the Bigsby B16.

    Justin
     
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  20. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very cool and original Justin.
    FWIW, several years ago I ordered some door skins from a local lumber yard (1/8" finish grade alder plywood) for a bunch of mountain dulcimers I was making. A nice added bonus I didn't expect was that the pieces of facial veneer was bookmatched.
     
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