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  #1  
Old Fri 27 August 2010, 23:11
DTGuitars
Just call me: David
 
Rogersville
United States of America
Complete Newbeeeeeee

Hey guys, I have been thinking of taking the plunge into building a CNC Router for some time. For a business, I build high end custom acoustic guitars, and can see the benefit of having some automation from a CNC machine to carve my necks, bridges, headblocks, forms...and just about anything else I can think of.

I have invested a good amount of time thinking of what I needin a CNC Router, and have looked at so many plans that everything is just a blur. I would love to get some advice on where to start. I know the cutting area I need will be 24"X36" with a 6" Z axis. Can the MechMate plans be easily modified to meet this size machine.

I know there will be many questions once I finally get started on this project, and I am looking forward to any help or advice you guys can give.

Thanks,
David

Last edited by Gerald D; Sat 28 August 2010 at 00:02.. Reason: Removed sig line with link
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  #2  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 04:07
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
David,

The size of your table and the height of your Z is a perfect place to start. You have that decided so I would suggest you download the plans and print them all out. They will fill a large 3 ring notebook.

Look over the plans and become familar with them. As you spend time doing that pick a couple completed builds and start reading the thread from the start to finish. Read the current threads that interest you.

You will have to decided what motors you want to use, geared motors or regular motors with reduction drive by belt.

Spindle or router.

You will also need to start thinking about what CAM software you are going to use and what software you are going to use to drive the MM. Most are using Mach to drive the MM but some are using EMC. For CAM, I use Vectric - Aspire. Vectric has other products that others are using. Some are using more expensive CAM software. If you don't have the more expensive CAM software already, I think Aspire will work nicely for you guitar builds.

As you look over the plans and read the threads, you will have questions and find answers.

Then when you get your machine built, you can help me build a Tenor guitar.

Good luck with your build and welcome.

Last edited by sailfl; Sat 28 August 2010 at 04:14..
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  #3  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 07:52
DTGuitars
Just call me: David
 
Rogersville
United States of America
Nils #12,

Thaks for all the advice on the software side of things. I will definitely research out the different CAM programs you have suggested. I have read a good deal about Mach, but have not checked out any info on Aspire. I'll see what I can find on that one as well.

I have been thinking about using Nema Steppers with a Geckodrive, but I am not sure how they would work with the MM plans. I researched out the infor on the Nema Gecko combo when I was considering several machines that used MDF or Ply for thier construction. These may be decent machines, but I wonder about how well they hold up. That has brought me to lean toward MM plans.

I am not sure if geared or belt drive will best suit my needs, and am definitely open to any advice. There shouldn't be a great deal of tourque seeing that I will be milling Mahogany guitar necks, and will probably set things to take fairly light cuts. There will probably be times I want to mill some light metal work for various tools and jigs I have planned in the future. So I am open to any and all suggestions.

I would also be glad to help you build a Tenor Guitar.

Thanks,
David
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  #4  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 09:37
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Welcome David!
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  #5  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 09:42
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
David,

I purchased Oriental geared drives. If I was building today, I would buy non geared drives and reduction drive by belt. My motors cost $250 and you find good non geared motors for $80+. I don't remember what the reduction drive parts cost but in the long run if you have to replace a motor some day, it is the cheaper way to go. The second option will meet all your needs. Many MM users are using them and they cut every thing you want to cut.

www.vectric.com for the software.

There is a local guy that does his guitars by hand and does very nice work but I would like to do the neck and frame. I will take you up on your offer.
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  #6  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 09:49
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
David
Welcome.
I have a few suggestions to consider.
- think about building the machine with a full width gantry able to cut standard 48" width. This will allow for your to cut 24" x 48" and able to scale the machine up to a 96 x 48 machine with very little cost and modifications. Plus, a "standard" width gantry will make resell on the machine favorable if you ever have to go that route.
- Gecko G540 and the OM PK296 - 7.2 will be your friend.
- I have milled guitar necks and other luthier items and you will not be disappointed in a higher resolution machine...you won't need the speed, but the resolution to do fine 3d work and fret layout will be needed.
- if you plan on milling metal and ivory for the inlay, then I too would again suggest the above motor combination.
- the milwakee router (like Nils and others have) is very quiet and dependable cutting head for the cost.

Good luck and welcome.

Sean
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  #7  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 12:37
DTGuitars
Just call me: David
 
Rogersville
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by smreish View Post
David
Welcome.
I have a few suggestions to consider.
- think about building the machine with a full width gantry able to cut standard 48" width. This will allow for your to cut 24" x 48" and able to scale the machine up to a 96 x 48 machine with very little cost and modifications. Plus, a "standard" width gantry will make resell on the machine favorable if you ever have to go that route.
- Gecko G540 and the OM PK296 - 7.2 will be your friend.
- I have milled guitar necks and other luthier items and you will not be disappointed in a higher resolution machine...you won't need the speed, but the resolution to do fine 3d work and fret layout will be needed.
- if you plan on milling metal and ivory for the inlay, then I too would again suggest the above motor combination.
- the milwakee router (like Nils and others have) is very quiet and dependable cutting head for the cost.

Good luck and welcome.

Sean
Hey, thanks Sean for the input. The biggest challenge I have at this point is space in my shop. It is a 22'X22' shop that is filled with equipment. I have one spot remaining that I may be able to squeeze a 36" gantry into, but I don't think the 48" would fit. Otherwise, I would love to have a full size machine. I'd just fill it up with neck blanks and do about 30 necks at a time.

I think you are right about the higher resolution seeing that fret slotting must be precise, and then there is the fretboard radius to account for as well.

Thanks,
David
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  #8  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 12:45
DTGuitars
Just call me: David
 
Rogersville
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailfl View Post
David,

I purchased Oriental geared drives. If I was building today, I would buy non geared drives and reduction drive by belt. My motors cost $250 and you find good non geared motors for $80+. I don't remember what the reduction drive parts cost but in the long run if you have to replace a motor some day, it is the cheaper way to go. The second option will meet all your needs. Many MM users are using them and they cut every thing you want to cut.

www.vectric.com for the software.

There is a local guy that does his guitars by hand and does very nice work but I would like to do the neck and frame. I will take you up on your offer.
I will definitely take your advice on the non geared motors. It sounds like that would be the most economical way to go.

I have built my guitars by hand for 12 years now. There is no doubt that I can carve a neck, so I don't have anything to prove there. It is long past the time that CNC becomes a reality in my shop, especially since I am 15 months out on orders. My biggest fear at this point isn't if I can build the machine. It is if I can figure out how to run the thing. I have done machine work since the age of 14, and I am 42 now. The skills to build it are there, but I have zero CNC experience.

We can talk some more about the tenor guitar. Building these things isn't as hard as it looks.

Thanks,
David
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  #9  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 16:56
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
David,

I had zereo CNC experience also. I have an advantage, I am a software engineer and I can usually figure things out.

Vectric has wonderful video tutorials so you can learn their software. Mach takes a little setting up but they have tutorials also and there are lots of MMs that have the same setup.

If you can build a guitar, you will be able to run your machine. It will take some time but it is just another skill you can learn.

Building a MM isn't as hard as it looks!

The pieces come together. Gerald has designed an excellent machine, provided the best drawings and provided a way to get help.

Sean built most of my table with me doing some of the work. I did the rest of it and if you take your time it will come together and it will cut lots of great things.

I will soon be posting some pictures of that work.

I agree with Sean, I would start out with a Milwaukee router. If you have plenty of money you can go with a spindle but you can always add one later. You can buy a lot of Milwaukee routers for the price of a spindle.

Last edited by sailfl; Sat 28 August 2010 at 17:02..
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  #10  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 21:31
DTGuitars
Just call me: David
 
Rogersville
United States of America
Nils, I will definitely be starting out with a router. You guys speak pretty highly of Milwalkee. I am familiar with several of thier tools, and like them quite well. How would you compare them to Bosh or PorterCable?

David
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  #11  
Old Sat 28 August 2010, 23:40
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
I bought Milwukee based on listening to Sean's PorterCable. PorterCable is very loud. I understand Bosh is quieter than the Milwaukee. I think they all are quality routers and will hold up. I would consider the Bosh but I would like to listen to one.
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