Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by full_bleed, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    Where do most of you get your templates? Do all of you draw them up yourselves or do some of you purchase them from somewhere? Main reason for the question is that I would like to try my hand at building a bass based off of the old ampeg scroll basses but I can't draw a straight line with a ruler. Is there hope for those who ride the artistic short-bus?
  2. I use a CAD program to draw up what I want to full scale. I then print multi-page and tape them up. I glue that to a piece of 1/2" MDF, use a jigsaw to cut close to the line and then files and sandpaper to get final shape. It works out pretty good, and you can me a body template in about 30 mins.
  3. Wilser's hit it on the head. You have the most powerful drafting tool in the world sitting right in front of you. Any simple drafting, CAD, or illustration program that can scale will give you all of the "straight lines" and even all the curved lines you'll ever need for templates. I began my career with T-squares, triangles, and drafting pens and haven't needed to pick up any of those in nearly 20 years. Be creative.
  4. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I love my T-square and drafting pencil, but then I'm at where you were 20 years ago..... :D
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I still am in the stone ages. It is all drawn by hand. I haven't a clue as to how to use a cad program. :confused:
  6. Its not the stone ages.
    Dont feel bad about not knowing how to use CAD. Theres something to be said for the folks who still stretch a piece of a0 across a drafting board and go at it by hand. The craftsmenship starts when you put the pencil in your hand and begin to draw. Having studied technical drawing in Germany I know the design advantages of having a picture sitting on a board over a computer screen.
    To say that drawing by hand is stoneage , is like saying that mural and portrait painters are behind the times because they dont use autocad.
    As luthiers we are artists too. Just with a different medium. Having built alot of custom instruments for people it really impresses them when you invite them over and begin to draw and design the instrument right infront of them as they tell you what they like. If I was payin 3000 plus dollars for a custom bass.......I would expect nothing less than this.
  7. I don't think anyone is saying that there's no value in drawing instruments by hand in the start, or doing initial designs on it. The computer is an amazing tool for making sure everything is aligned properly. It can also eliminate the need to do a lot of calculations unnecessarily. Once you give the computer the minimum number of measurements it generates all the others for you. Need to know how wide the end of the fretboard is? It's really simple to get that once the nut and bridge width is set. I mean, doing a little trig to get it by hand isn't so hard, but it is much faster to rip it off of your CAD drawing on the computer.
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I feel a bit better now. :p I would feel even better if I could get even 1/3 of the $3000 for my basses :rollno: Trig is that what it takes? I have been just sort of guesstamating...t
  9. Well you need trig when you are working with angles. Things that immediately come to mind are the neck taper and neck angle (if you use one).
  10. What about pickup routes??? Are there temps. for those? Also, what about pickup positioning??? How are you supposed to know where a bridge J goes?

  11. I guess that if you are exactly copying an existing bass then you are going to have to measure it.

    There are ready made templates for standard pickups available at luthier supply places. You can make the templates yourself out of plywood or mdf or anything really. It really isn't very hard to make good templates for routing. Most pickups are very close to rectangular, so with an appropriate choice of router bit the template can be extremely simple to make. I haven't made P or J templates, but the only difference is the tabs for the screws. You could go so far as to drill those out with an appropriate forstner and then you'd only have to use a rectangular template for routing, rather than having to make one with the semicircles on them. You could make a proper template in the same manner. Depends how much routing you want to do. I personally prefer to do as little as possible and drill out as much as I can.
  12. I found a on-line site if your still looking for ready to go templates. Selection isn't very high on basses though. here's the link. Templates are made from masonite.
  13. I don't want anyone to think for a second that I'm showing disrespect for the simpler drafting tools and the methods employed using them. Since I learned them early and my career was begun with them, I owe a lot to their existence. If I hadn't learned them FIRST, I couldn't run rings around the blank slates schools spit out as knowledgeable graduates nowadays. In fact, I keep a pad and drawing utensils at hand in the shop and I'm constantly sketching an idea when I get one so that I can keep (read "remember") it long enough to get it back into the house and render it on the computer. If I were smarter, I would acquire a laptop and use my wireless network to run my drawing program out there and port it back to my main pc at the house but the dusty environment out there would probably gas the system in a matter of hours :rolleyes: No, if the pencil and paper is whatcha got then go with whatcha know - it's just as valuable as what I've got IF YOU USE IT!! And that's my main point. Too often, we are asked about stuff like this when the answers are quite simple and only require the gumption to "git'er done".
  14. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    My grandpa does the design and engineering work for Coca-Cola Bottling, so when he found out I was going after an engineering degree, he bought AutoCAD for me. No clue how to use it, though. I still prefer doing the design work by hand, but I'd like to print out the finalized design (finer, more precise lines).
  15. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I had the good fortune to learn AutoCAD in highschool. Those skills are still with me, and I use them regularly.

    Of course, technology didn't stop there so all the new school kids are running SolidWorks these days. I'm still partial to AutoCAD despite the claims that it's harder to work with than the new generation of CAD programs. Heck, I still type my commands. Old school CAD represent.

    If you're looking to learn and don't want to just spend hours playing with it, check out your local tech school. Chances are they offer CAD certification that you can take in the evenings. Up here it's no longer a requirement for most types of engineering (the mechanical engineers still take it, though), but I figure it's still a helpful thing to know. I keep meaning to pick up my CAD Level 1 so I have some paper backing up my drafting claims.

  16. dpmasunder


    Apr 30, 2005
    I'm using CAD. It's much more efficient when it comes to subtle curve tweaks and so accurate and quick for pickup routes etc.
    If it's something I intend keeping and using a lot I'll have it cut with laser or abrasive water jet. Jet is more accurate as laser leaves a tapered edge because of the beam shape and refraction.
    Otherwise printing and sticking like wilser does it great too. Try finding a plotting place for big things. My plotting dude told me the best thing is to download the driver for the machine they use and utilise it's 'print to file' feature. That way you take in exactly what the plotter needs and save time and money. DXF's and similar files are apparently a hassle for them.
  17. Zetora


    Aug 16, 2004
    I like CAD for what you can do with it, its an amazing tool from the little I have actually used it, but with the design for my bass, the drawing it out was one of the things I've enjoyed so much so far, yes to the point I've got to I have thoroughly enjoyed it all the way but drawing it and mulling over all the measurements and taking it all into consideration got me to think very toroughly about it, yeah I used my comp for all the calculations, just all in one excell sheet, and that worked a charm, wouldn't of liked to do that by hand. Though it gave me a sense of acomplishment to an extent from drawing it out and getting my thoughts to paper, I just dont think I could of personally got it that accurate on the computer to how I wanted it without a lot of time and minor adjustments to get the curves just right. Yeah maybe thats just thought and not experimenting and doing so.

    Also on pickup placement, not sure how much use this will be for you but you can get some darn good info from this;

    Pickup Response

    Someone posted this on here and I found it very useful but I am familiar with some of the main physics presented in that diagram. If you can find it of use like I did, great, if not just look at other basses for some idea's as there is no place you 'have' to put a pickup.

    Anyway thanks for whoever posted that in the past. Good luck with your bass.