View Full Version : Questions related to Guitar-making

02-27-2007, 11:37 PM
I'm also interested in inlay applications for instrument-making. Is 1/16 the smallest diameter cut or are smaller bits available? Some of my work is very fine. Would something like the image below be possible practically or should I just wait and go with a laser system? The price of the carveWright is appealing. I don't mind putting smaller pieces in with a tweezers, but wonder about routing some of the tight cavities and small parts.


See another example in the background of http://www.michaeldunnguitars.com of digitally-faked inlay work.

If I can cut pieces like this easily with precision and make these designs come to life, I'm an instant customer. I don't mind hot-gluing my work pieces to a shim-board to get the thickness where it needs to be.

Finally, for instrument applications, I know that cutting fret slots will be dependent on how small a bit I can get, but what about specifying contours for fingerboards with a compound radius or even rough-carving arched tops and backs for guitars and mandolins. Is there any way to reliably translate gray scales to depth contours or actually bring in 3d files?

I've read through most of the FAQs but just discovered this this evening and may have missed something. I'm very excited at the prospect of an affordable CNC machine, apologize for any redundancy in my questions, and would very much appreciate any answers from real-life users.


Dave Bricker

02-28-2007, 12:26 AM
1/16 is the carving bit, 1/8 is the smallest cutting bit. For small inlay, you're better off with the laser. The CW would probably be OK with Marquetry and larger inlay. But you won't get intricate stuff on small things like the fretboard.

You might look into the laser's with the flip open sides ("Pass Through") so you can laser over sized objects like necks or assembled bodies, without having to invest in an oversized bed.

Well... my opinion at least, i reserve the right to be flat out wrong. (c;


03-01-2007, 07:21 AM
If you're talking about mother of pearl inlays, I've been told that MOP doesn't react well to the laser. I took some blanks to a trophy engraver who has a powerful laser system, and he hasn't had much luck cutting the MOP. He's dinking around a lot with the power settings. Maybe he'll find a way, but I'm not sure it's going to be THE answer.

I think a CNC is the way to go, it's the way a lot of MOP is cut these days. I'm sure a way will be found to do it on the CW machine someday. Getting the software adapted to work with a smaller bit would be a useful item.

Dennis Perry
03-01-2007, 11:38 AM
Hi Dave,
I have had my CW for a year now, there is noway it can cut the pieces your asking about. with a .125" cutting bit or even if you can find something smaller say .06 the machine is not that accurate. It's IMHO only a computerized carving router not a true CNC machine. It can not even cut a perfect circle, it will cut one but not perfectly do to backlash in the traction belts. The machine to do basic woodworking functions it is not! thats what our woodworking tools are for i.e. miter, ripping and edge routing, IMHO only carving.
I think your right a laser, Knife, scrollsaw or fretsaw is your only option. I have attach a Photo of my latest piece, 36" dia. 1,380 pieces the smallest are about .06 all cut with a laser. The only draw back it cost about 25X the CW.

Thanks Dennis

03-04-2007, 12:06 AM
Any "carving" the machine does will leave a tapered pocket, because the tool is tapered, unless you use the straight sided bit, then you can't get any detail in your inlays. Fret slots are out of the question also, as they're too thin for any router bits to cut, regardless of the accuracy they can cut. Pick-up and electrical cut-outs should work fine, but in my experience clamp on templates allow quick hogging out of pockets in solid bodies. I think the best Carvewright function would be the carving of archtop guitars. Others here are working on that.