Cnc fretwork

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by LiveOVErdrive, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I've been pondering this here and there since I got my cnc machine. I wonder if I could plop a diamond grinding bit in my cnc machine and mill the frets with the desired radius - maybe even crown if I want to get really finicky.

    I'd almost certainly have to do it before shaping the neck so it is still a flat slab that won't bow for any reason.

    Would this actually be useful? Probably not, to be honest. But if I could figure out a good way to both level and crown them... Maybe it would be pretty cool.r Pobably throw sparks friggin everywhere tho.

    Anyone ever heard of someone dking this before? Did I just reinvent PLEK?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Yeah you're basically describing part of the PLEK process.

    What makes the PLEK special is that it measures the existing fretwork and makes any needed corrections.

    I'm not really sure how much of a time saver this would really be. Not to brag, as I'm definitely not special, but I can do some damn fine fretwork in a few hours. Once you have the tools and get comfortable with the work flow it's not hard to do great fretwork.

    Honestly, level, radius and crown are the "easiest" parts. It's dressing that takes the most practice, and time.
     
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  3. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Yeah I think you're right. The only real advantage I could see leveling and crowning with cnc is that you wouldn't end up with different crown shapes anywhere, and you wouldn't file a fret lower at all due to over crowning. All this can be done by a careful human, but it's fun to think about automating.

    But yeah, dressing isn't really gonna happen with cnc. Still going to have to get better at that myself. Though a piece of sand paper on a sanding sponge dragged across the fret ends does a quick and pretty nice job for how easy it is.
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Where the CNC is going to shine is making the fretboard itself. The better the fretboard the easier the fretwork will be.
     
  5. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Oh yeah. It definitely helps for that. No worries about cutting one side lower than the other with a radius block.
     
  6. Randy

    Randy ROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOU Super Moderator

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    As said, basically just reinvented the PLEK.

    In terms of practicality, I'm not necessarily sold on something like that on a CNC that's not purpose built for doing that being any easier than just doing it by hand. It'd be especially tough on the Shapeoko considering how imprecise it is (speaking from experience).
     
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  7. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    Sort of off topic but, are you making or at least starting the fret slots using the CNC? If so, what's your approach?

    I feel like it wouldn't be too hard to get a right angle attachment for a vertical mill and attach one of those Stew Mac fret slotting blades. Then you can program the slots and they should be dead on.
     
  8. primitiverebelworld

    primitiverebelworld SS.org Regular

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    I know that wood is living material and all that but its 2019 and WE ARE STILL TRYING TO GET OUR FRETS LEVEL!!! I would expect flying cars but If a good or better-be-perfect fretjob is something from the future please lend me a shovel...
     
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  9. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    They ain't gonna level themselves. :lol:
     
  10. primitiverebelworld

    primitiverebelworld SS.org Regular

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    correction: almost 2019 :)
     
  11. primitiverebelworld

    primitiverebelworld SS.org Regular

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    Maybe we need autolevelling frets too now? :fever:

    (patend not pending yet)
     
  12. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I slot on my cnc machine after I radius the board but in the same setup. I cut them very slowly with 0.6mm end mills.
     
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  13. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    What’s the operation run time?
     
  14. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I think about 45 minutes. I'm probably more conservative with my feeds and speeds than I need to be but I've broken a few of those tiny mills so I don't push it.
     
  15. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    Wow that’s actually not bad. And thank you for sharing :)
     
  16. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    I use the same machine, i'm approx 1 hour to slot, radius and cut out the fretboard. never broken a tiny bit yet. the CNC is worth it for this alone.
     
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  17. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Yeah doing a fretboard with cnc is a joy. Inlays are fantastic too.
     
  18. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    haven't tackled inlays yet, but its on the list!
     
  19. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I agree with the leveling bit. That SHOULD be the easiest part of the process, but I’m constantly running into guitars that need work, or require high action. And I’m talking about instruments across the price spectrum. I’m not sure where it falls apart, or if they don’t check it after the instrument is assembled (likely) or what.
     
  20. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I'm guessing shipping halfway around the world plays hell on frets. Even if it is perfect at the factory I'd assume by the time it gets to the end user the frets can be a little wonky. Wood can warp. Frets can shift. Probably.
     
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