CNC Guitar making with machines and hobby routers

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Creating a Guitar and cnc guitar making

One of the more complex tasks for a CNC router hobbyist is using their machine to create an instrument. In this article we will be going over how to do just that, specifically talking about making a guitar. First you should determine exactly what your machine is capable of. Your cutting area should be 600mm x 800mm in order to have enough size for making the neck. If you are a little short on room you might be able to use your diagonal length instead. Be sure to measure everything before you get too deep into other parts of the project.

cnc guitar making

cnc guitar making

For the basics of this project, you need to start by figuring out what kind of guitar you want to make (acoustic classical, acoustic folk, bass, etc.) After that you can find a guitar model to base your own work off of. Find the measurements of the guitar you want to make and start recreating it as a model in your software. You will also want to select woods that have colors you want in your design. Begin with the body of the guitar because it is simpler to design and easier to cut, being more of a 2D than 3D part of your project. The harder part will be designing the neck. The width of the heel (the part of the neck closest to the body) and the nut (the top of the neck where the spacing of the strings is determined) are going to largely impact your design so measure those very carefully. Once your models are ready it is time to start cutting. A common software used for drafting guitars is Rhino 3D while Mach3 is frequently used as the controller software.

This is one of the more complicated projects you can attempt so do not be surprised if it takes you several tries before you are able to get things the way you want them, especially if this is your very first time doing this project. Some of your decisions will probably be influenced by why you have decided to do this project. If you are building just one guitar for fun or for yourself it may not bother you if it takes a while to complete the project. If you are trying to go into the guitar business there will be more questions to ask. Are you going into business locally, online or in some other form? Will you be selling generic guitars or taking custom orders?

If you are willing to do custom work you might not even need to make whole guitars. You could make individual parts and do repairs. Outside of custom work you could still make and sell individual parts for people who only want generic replacements or spare parts in case their working guitar does break.

When you are working on this project keep the other steps that do not involve your CNC router in mind. There will be a lot of sanding throughout the project and towards the end you will likely want to color and gloss the parts before assembling the guitar. There are facilities where you can take classes for CNC routers so you may want to check your area and see if any guitar making classes are offered nearby. Taking a class could be a good way to learn about this project, or any CNC router project that is more complicated than usual, for the first time instead of taking a crack at it on your own. Again, the reasons behind why you are doing this project will likely influence many of your decisions for the project and that includes whether or not you would consider a class worth taking. You should certainly put some thought into something like this and not just dive in without looking. Regardless of what you do we hope this article has been helpful to you in making those decisions.


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