Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

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Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby Matthew Lau » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:55 pm

Hey MIMFers,

I've been trying to think of how to help Randy Angella for a while.
He mentioned that necks and bridges are a PITA, and are most appropriate for CNC duplication.

Have any of you guys tried this?
I was thinking that it would save lots of man hours to have a prelaminated billet and to CNC "rough" it out.

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Re: Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby Eric Baack » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:52 pm

I've done a couple on CNC. It works well, especially if you are looking to replicate the same design multiple times.
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Re: Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby David King » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:00 pm

Necks and bridges are quick and easy enough with the right conventional jigs. CNC makes somethings easier and other things it makes a lot harder. Complex curves are never easy with either system but between CAD time and CAM time and actual machine babysitting I'd bet that most folks could carve and sand a neck faster, certainly for one-offs. With CNC like with a hammer, once you have one everything looks like a nail.

A good duplicarver is pretty great but you have to stand in the noise and the dust with the potential for chunks of wood flying around and actually muscle the part into shape.

There's a big difference between a little desktop CNC router and a full-on 6 ton bed mill like the Fadal 4020 or a 5 axis mill that most factories are running.
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Re: Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby Randolph Rhett » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:11 pm

I use my CNC extensively, but it is not an easy path. Necks are particularly hard to do. It is hard to model the transition of a full acoustic heel and the neck shaft. Most small CNC will not have the vertical clearance or travel to clear a heel. Necks are a very awkward shape to hold down and properly index. I am still, ten years on, chasing bugs and refining my process.

In short, trying to CNC acoustic necks is the height of skill on a complex and difficult to use tool. Electric guitars lend themselves much more to milling on CNC. Even so, if you aren’t beginning with solid CAD skills, a CNC machine is not going to be a time saver. Flying an airplane is faster than driving, but if you don’t already know how to fly, buying a plane isn’t going to get you there any faster.
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Re: Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby Barry Daniels » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:16 pm

I feel that I can hand carve a neck or shape a bridge about as fast as a CNC (and that is not even considering the programming and setup time others have mentioned). Time savings is not the justification for CNC. Numerous copies and precise dimensions are.
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Re: Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby David King » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:26 pm

And having an extra set of hands and a brain to take on another useful, complex task while the machine runs in the background.
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Re: Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:42 am

As someone who had done some fairly intricate inlay projects, I can say that a CNC may be nice for that also.
But as has been said, they are a difficult machine to make work if you are not skilled in the programming end of things.

I know that is where the challenge would lie for me.
That, and I still get great pleasure from creating things with my hands.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Fri May 04, 2018 2:29 pm

If you are just looking for a way to quickly rough out necks here are a few simple techniques you might consider.

1. Use a router and a large round over bit (steel string) or bowl bit (ovolo - classical shape) to hog off most of the material using a quickly made jig.

2. Use the tablesaw and miter gauge to rough out the "Spanish heel " shape by carefully moving the heel across the blade.

3. If routing a blank with an integral peghead use a thick subbase with one side cut away to allow the base to clear the peghead (this will also "sculpt" the transition area)
neck jig.jpg
heel shaping.jpg
neck shaping subbase.jpg
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Re: Anyone try CNC or a duplicarver?

Postby Andy Birko » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:02 am

I've made hundreds and hundreds of necks with a CNC and agree that it's not an easy task to get it going. As others have mentioned, the CAD part of the neck is the most difficult to master and then you have the machine issues to deal with such as heel clearance etc.

For me now a days, making a neck is pretty straight forward but it's a steep learning curve to get there!
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