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  1. #1
    Hello friends
    My names Tim and I'm from South UK. I've been really keen to get into CNC work to build guitars but covid stopped any of that happening for me.

    I'm wondering if any of you guys would be interested in helping me with this? I have 3D models made and can source woods easily enough, I just need someone to do the machining. Specifically for the bodies.

    Anyone here interested? Happy to pay for the work of course.

    Other than that, I hope to get a CNC setup in 2021 sometime when things get back to some sort of normality, and I can move house in Spring.


  2. #2
    mekanik's Avatar
    Lives in Barrow in Furness, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 10 Hours Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 722. Received thanks 94 times, giving thanks to others 153 times.
    Hi Tim
    Welcome to the forum.
    There are a few members on here that are into guitar builds, check out washouts work.
    Think it might be a big ask getting someone to do production runs.

  3. Hi Tim,

    What you are asking for might not exactly be a little thing.!!

    If you are just talking about cutting out body blanks then that's not so much a Big thing and relatively simple, However.!

    If it's 3D work like what many guitar bodies and necks require, it is very time-consuming and can be intricate work so the costs will be high.
    Machine time for a business to cut it can be anything from £40 to £150 per hour depending on the machine, plus can have extras like setup, fixtures, artwork, and tooling fee's again depending on complexity and materials.

    The file sizes and job cutting times for 3D work often runs into multiple hours just for small jobs. A guitar body I'd class as a Mid-level sized job that could easily take 8 to 10hrs for a relatively average design and much longer for a complex design that requires high detail with a high-quality surface finish many more hours. I've cut 3D jobs that have run for 36hrs continuously and it wasn't massive.

    The CAM programming alone just to produce the G-code file can take many hours and cost £40 to £80 per hour.

    Many Hobby or DIY builders won't like to run their machines for 8+ hours continuously because of the wear, noise, heat, and the fact they don't like to walk away and leave the machine running unattended.
    Also, many machines can't even handle running those periods of time as the heat and dust, etc knock seven bells out of the machine that then causes errors of failures.
    3D work is often made up of tiny little moves, often with all axis moving at the same time relatively quickly so It takes a good machine to run continuously at high feed rates for 8+ hours that won't lose its position and still produce the part correctly, or worse snap tools 7.5hrs into an 8hr job with a piece of material that costs £150.

    So like I say it's not a little thing your asking for doing and expect to pay £££
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 30-11-2020 at 07:57 PM.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  4. #4
    Hi Tim,

    Ive built a few guitars in the conventional way ( hand / power tools ) over the years and after having a buddy of mine cut me some templates in MDF on his big industrial CNC for a build I was planning in this conventional way, it really sparked my interest in getting a small cnc for myself in order to use in future builds. I joined the forum looking for advice on a suitable machine and made contact with Dean ( JAZZCNC ) about getting a machine made which is currently in the works.

    I have a fairly ( !!! ) solid background in 2D CAD and in the last couple of months have been working on improving my skills in 3D Modelling ( taking a evening class in parametric modelling ) as well as doing my homework on the practical hands on of CNC'ing. All good fun !!

    Ive been using Fusion 360 and have been spending alot of time learning the CAM side of the software to create the code to actually cut the bodies. I think this is where alot of the time and if you are wanting someone else to do it money comes into it. Im learning alot of this from scratch so you have to factor in that it will take me longer than someone whos been doing this for a while to suss it all out. But even then I think alot of this is down to trial and error, setting up the different milling functions involves alot of tweaking and running simulations, seeing how the simulation runs, changing parameters etc, devising an order of milling and so on. Ive spent hours on an evening in Fusion playing round with a model of a Strat working on the CAM to get it to cut right.. roundovers / arm contours etc. All of this would have to be done by whoever takes your job on and I can only imagine they would want adequately compensating for it.

    This is before you even run any test cuts. How a simulation runs on a PC and how it cuts in the real world are Im assuming two related but not identical things, you are probably looking at tweaking feeds and speeds depths of cuts and so on. All of this is going to add further costs for you. If someone has to run a couple of test bodies for you again its gonna cost.

    You also say you can "source woods easily enough" but do you mean you would supply your CNC operator with prepared body blanks doing all the jointing / thicknessing etc yourself or would want this doing for you as well? If so, then there's going to be more costs involved and you'd have to find someone with not only a CNC machine but the ability to process rough lumber into body blanks for milling and willing to take this extra work on.

    I dont mean to sound negative at all. It sounds like we are after similar things, Im just pointing out that I cna only imagine it will cost a fair amount to get this up and running if you want someone else to do the CNCing for you, its effectively like prototyping a part which can often cost alot of time and money. You will have to sort out who covers costs etc, the standard of work / finish you are expecting / happy to pay for etc. For the cost of paying someone else to do this, you could put that money towards a machine and have the fun of learning yourself, but it is a learning curve for sure. And like I say, Im just learning all the computer side of it up to now, Ive still got to get my head round running a machine when I get up and running with it, but for me this is the reason for doing it, the interest in the process as much as the final product.

    hope this helps or at least gives you something else to think about.


  5. #5
    Thanks for all the feedback guys :) some great info for me to look into. I'll see what I can figure out. All the more reason for me to get my own setup and do this myself

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