Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Guitar Neck

The last few days of school were hectic. I managed to secure the time I needed in the shop and pumped out the aluminum part of the neck. I also was able to pack all the junk in my dorm room back into my car. The poor thing was probably past its maximum cargo capacity especially with all the material I accumulated over the semester.

Profile machining the neck took alot less time that I had thought it would. I didn't want to switch the CNC to 3-axis mode, so I did everything by manually adjusting the Z axis. It was a little slower than running full in CNC, but it kept me from scrapping the part with a stupid code error. I think there were 8 or 9 passes per side. It was machined with a 3/8" ball end mill. It has a really cool machined texture. Its much better than a perfectly smooth curve.

I realized my camera was at home, so I used my wonderful cell phone camera. I'll work on increasing the picture quality in the future.

I don't think I need to polish the neck either. The machine left a nearly perfect finish on all of the parts. The dimensions were all within 0.001". I love it when a part comes out perfect. I still need to break all the sharp edges or I'll lose a finger when I slide my hand across the fret board.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Guitar Fret Board

I've started to move into guitar production. With school ending soon, by opportunity to use a large CNC is also ending soon. I figured I'd do the pieces which were the most difficult to machine first so I might have a hope at finishing the leftover parts during the summer.

Using 2 vises is GENIUS! They made the setup much faster than if I had bolted the part to the table. I left them on the machine (usually there is only 1 per machine in the school shop). I'm pretty sure others will appreciate not having to unbolt the vise anytime they want to make a part larger than 8" wide.

 I missed a bit of the surface while facing the top. It really didn't matter because it would be almost completely machined away while cutting the frets. The fret marker screws were cut perfectly so they would be flush once the frets were machined into the board.

The pattern from the tool path looks really cool, so I've decided not to polish the fret board. It isn't really visible in the picture, but all of the frets were rounded with a corner rounding endmill.

I hadn't machined any stainless in a while, so I forgot how painful it is to machine compared to the usual aluminum. The machine really wanted flood coolant, but I didn't have that option since the machine wasn't fully enclosed. Next time I'll make sure I use a full machining center when I go to make a big stainless steel part like this. I was also too lazy to do any bit changes so all of the frets with a 1/4" carbide end mill. It just slowed down the process to the limit of my patience.

Also I've just about had it with my cell phones camera... the pictures it takes look like crap. I swear they get worse every day. I'll probably go back to using a real camera instead.