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I think it's time to migrate to the darkside....

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rickett Customs, Apr 15, 2010.


  1. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I'm getting prepared to start working on some bolt on prototypes, instead of just Neck throughs. Seeing as how everyone has different tastes, it's time to take the plunge.

    Anyone else recently decided to go this route? or is it just me.

    Did you go "full on" CNC? I'm looking into it, but I'm actually looking into a good overarm router.

    Just wondering what some of you guys ended up doing to be more efficient.
     
  2. HogieWan

    HogieWan

    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    I bought a small CNC to make guitars, basses, and drum shells. However, I have a 1 year old daughter, a son coming in a couple months, and we just moved to a new house. All this on top of a full time job and trying to finish a degree at college has left me little time.
     
  3. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I know what you mean about a 1 y/o......... Yep, got the full time job too, although I took care of the college thing about 5 years ago (got the loans paid off 2 years ago). I just might shift to make mainly bolt ons and save the NT's for custom orders.
     
  4. HogieWan

    HogieWan

    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    I plan on making mostly NTs with mine.
     
  5. Cy_Miles

    Cy_Miles

    Feb 3, 2005
    After doing one neck pocket I realized how much work I need to do to get it right. So for now I am building neck throughs since I am confident in them.

    But I have heard opinions from very experienced luthiers that make me want to build some bolt-ons. (For my own comparison if nothing else.)

    The big challenge for me will be to tighten up my pocket making methods, and since I am making one-off guitars at this time and am not selling (yet) so a CNC is out of the question for now.
     
  6. Dream Weaver

    Dream Weaver

    Jul 11, 2009
    OH
    CNC can be great if you buy the right machine and software. I made the mistake of going for something that was under powered and paid dearly for it. If you go for a cnc I would definitely recommend something that takes a router sporting a 1/2"collet. The smaller systems seem to have too much deflection to route accurately and repeatably. Although they double as an awesome overhead router, which is what mine has been reduced to. Aside from occassional engraving.

    Fretboards are the only thing I can accurately make with mine at the moment. Since the bit is only .023" it doesn't cut enough to deflect at my slow feedrates. Makes one crazy accurate board though. Nice if you did inlays, which you already appear to be awesome at anyways. =p

    I've been looking to try bolt-ons recently for finishing reasons. I think it would suit my methods better if I could finish the body and neck separately. When I replace this cnc with a larger one I'm plannng on switching to bolt-on and set necks since it would be wicked fast to draw and set all the toolpaths. One slab of wood, route all the pockets, flip, repeat, then do the profiles. Then do any roundovers/belly cuts and sand/finish.

    They are one big investment, but can pay off if you find multiple uses for them. I got the CNC Shark Pro and can't say that I would recommend it for any pocket routing. Engraving yes, but not much more. Been looking into the ShopBots lately and even been looking into building one. Seems to be a good way to go if you are familiar with the tech. Much more bang for the buck.

    Just my opinions on the subject. Very adaptable tool if you zero in on the right features.
     
  7. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Yeah, the inlays i'll do by hand, I love routing those out.

    I just purchased some Pbass and J bass templates, so I'll see how it goes.
     
  8. HogieWan

    HogieWan

    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    I have the CompuCarve from Sears (it's the same machine as the CarveWright, but you can get a great extended warranty from Sears for their unit). I've seen a few guys make kick-ass instruments with it and the cost of entry isn't too bad. It definitely has its quirks and you need to be familiar with it before attempting to do anything with expensive wood.
     
  9. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    RC - it's not migrating to the darkside ... you're merely maturing having seen the light :D

    I personally see no need for the added work involved in making neck-thru instruments. I'm 100% bolt-on at my shop and have no regrets in being so

    all the best,

    R
     
  10. Cy_Miles

    Cy_Miles

    Feb 3, 2005
    Am I the only one that see's the neck through as a simpler build?

    I really haven't made enough of either to say for sure, but that is my feeling with my current skills and available tools.
     
  11. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I have to admit, I'm puzzled as to why bolt-on would lend itself any more to CNC than a NT?
     
  12. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    It's just a bit different, I suppose, but my preference is always NT....... but to open up to other folks, bolt on may be necessary to do so....... I don't see NT as extra work, just a different approach.
     
  13. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    have you ever utilized CNC before?

    two super easy reasons:

    1) larger bed size = significantly more $$$ investment. you can do a body on a 30"x24" table, and a neck on a 36" x 18" table

    2) you can cut the bottom of the neck pocket at an angle to eliminate shims, but cutting the same relief angle into an instrument will require some rather creative holding jigs not to mention gluing jigs so you can hold tolerances

    there's many, many more that others can share

    all the best,

    R
     
  14. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    IME a bolt-on is significantly easier if you're good at holding form/fit/function tolerances between mating parts

    all the best,

    R
     
  15. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the explanation. Makes good sense.
     
  16. eleonn

    eleonn

    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    :p
     
  17. Dream Weaver

    Dream Weaver

    Jul 11, 2009
    OH
    If you had a nice 2'x5' bed and one really rigid gantry it probably wouldn't be as much of an issue. Rodent is spot on about the bed size. $$$$ ! I personally think that working in pieces more closely follows the spirit of manufacturing. Make a bunch of bodies, sand the bodies while the necks are routing, sand the necks while the fretboards are routing, etc...

    Feed rates and bit selections can be frustrating at times. Too fast and the bit deflects, or too slow and it burns the wood. Especially in pieces with multiple materials with varying densities. As with any tool, CNC has it's benefits and it's shortcomings.
     
  18. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I guess for now, I'll just be using a bigger sized router table (be building it here shortly), until I scrape up the cheese, for an overarm.... so far right around 1k used (CL) and upwards of 2k new (grizzly). Although the CNC in alot of ways, took the place of the overarm, I'll hunt around for a CNC as well. Any suggestions Rodent?
     

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