Craig Guitar

Not open for further replies.


So I haven't actually played infinite yet, but I've seen the craig guitar that can be found ingame, and since I've been wanting to build an electric guitar for a bit anyways, I thought this would be a good opportunity.
I've never built a guitar before, or even really played an electric one (I did play an acoustic one a bit), so I'll probably make a bunch of mistakes that are obvious to someone who knows this stuff better than I do, but I'll just learn along the way.

So the first step was the design. I have to change it quite a bit anyways since the in-game design won't work at all (the strings are fixed again in the middle, which just doesn't work), and the fretboard isn't really usable either. So I decided to not make it too accurate, but instead make it in a way I think might be a bit more comfortable. In the game it's also a bass guitar, but I don't want to build a bass, so I decided to go with 8 strings because why not (probably not a great idea, but I'll see about that later).

So this is what I came up with. I kept the hole and its shape in the middle, but made it a bit wider due to having more strings. I also tried to keep the general shape of the body similar, but made it a bit longer in the top left to hopefully make it a bit more comfortable (I just tried some stuff out with a piece of wood, a clamp and some welding wire, and it came out at about that size). The neck has pretty much no resemblance to the original, but there wasn't really a way around that if I want to make it practical. The headstock I'd say is fairly close, but it had to be quite long to fit all of the tuners.

So that's about the general design, now onto how I plan on building this thing:
While I could just buy the brigde, pickups and tuners and "just" make the body and headstock, I decided to make pretty much everything I can on this, which means most of the parts will in one way or another be from the affordable ironmonger.

So after first trying if I could make worm gears which I need for the tuners a bit ago (more on that when I'm making the ones for this), I started off with the bridge, or more precisely, the saddles.
Starting off, I pretty much immediately decided to deviate from my plan, and instead of making them out a piece of 3mm sheet for the bottom part and welding on a piece of 4mm steel on the back for a screw to go through, I instead decided to mill them out of some 10x10mm steel. The only issue there is that I don't have a mill.

However, I have a lathe, and a lathe is pretty much just a mill without an X axis turned on it's side (I know there are more differences, but in this case, it doesn't really matter). This will probably hurt some machinists, but basically, I clamped the workpiece to the toolpost in the most sketchy way possible, and put an endmill into the lathe chuck.

Basically, I have a piece of 3mm steel clamped in the toolpost. Onto that piece of steel, I first clamped down the workpiece with a small clamp. The 3mm sheet puts it at the correct height to mill a 6mm slot 4mm away from the end of the part. The big clamp holding the part to the toolpost does most of the actual holding, the small clamp is mostly just for alignment. I later added a plate on the side of the toolpost facing away from the chuck to have something that's easier to clamp against with the big clamp. I'm also using a burr in this picture because my endmill broke off and I don't have another one (the the replacements haven't arrived yet). This is actually rigid enough that I could take at least 1mm deep cuts if I had a sharp endmill instead of a dull burr.
The next step is to drill a 3mm hole into the face of the part, but a bit off center, so I can't just center drill it on the lathe. I could do this on the drillpress, but it wouldn't be very accurate. So instead, it's back to abusing the lathe as a mill again. This is gonna happen pretty often with with this project.

This time, the part is clamped flat against a piece of 3mm steel (in this picture it's 4mm aluminium, but that was too high to reliably work). Then, after roughly squaring it up, I take one pass with an endmill to actually square it up relative to the spindle. This is necessary so that the drill bit wanders the least amount possible. After that, I just have to change the endmill for a center drill, and move it to the center of the part, which isn't very difficult. Then I can drill the hole that later an M3 screw will go through to adjust the position of the saddles. The slot I milled earlier is for two countered nuts so that I can actually adjust the saddles while having the threads in the bridge instead. After this, there actually isn't much left to do on the saddles. One thing is to mill another slot for the string to go through, and the last thing is shape the other end for the string to go over. I've milled the slot on two saddles so far, but I milled those slots 6mm wide which isn't ideal, and since I had to order some endmills now anyways, I'll mill the other slots to 4mm.

For these slots, the setup was actually a good bit easier. I just shimmed up the toolpost 5mm so that the center of a 10mm piece in the toolpost is at the same height as the center of the spindle. Then, it's just drilling two holes (actually, one should be enough, but I drilled two in this part because I milled the slots in a different order. This is actually what broke the endmill, and this slot is intersecting with the other slot about half way through, and that caught the endmill and broke it off) and milling out the slot. I can take pretty heavy cuts with this setup as long as I cut feeding inwards, as that's how the lathe is supposed to be loaded.
So after breaking one endmill and dulling one burr, this is where I'm currently at:

While I'm waiting for the endmills to arrive, I can start on the other parts of the bridge. The piece that the saddles will be screwed against for example needs the holes for that drilled at a fairly precise distance of 1.08cm, which should be pretty easy on the lathe again though, as I can just move it with the cross slide (assuming I have enough travel, but I think it should be enough. It's only an 8"x16" lathe though.)
Small update.
While waiting for the endmills, I made the back plate the saddles get screwed into (well, it's just a piece of flat bar with some holes drilled and tapped into it).
The thing here is though that the holes have to be spaced 10.8mm apart, and should be as precise as possible, both in X and Y direction. If the spacing isn't consistent, the string spacing will be inconsistent, and inconsistent height would either not matter as there is a bit of play in the saddles, or the string height could end up inconsistent.
So, I ended up using my lathe as a mill once more and drilled the holes on there.


Since the center of the holes has to be 10mm from the edge, I couldn't clamp something in the toolpost to set the height, as the lower edge of the flat bar has to be at the same height as the lower face of the toolpost. So instead, I wound the top slide back a bit to have something to put some spacers on, and used a 20mm piece of HSS and a 6mm allen wrench as a 26mm spacer, which is the correct distance. Then, resting the bar on the spacers, I just clamped it to the tool post with an F-clamp again.
The other problem was the travel on the cross slide. This is a rather small lathe, but it had just enough travel to drill all 8 holes and have some left without having to change the setup during the process.

After drilling the 2.5mm holes, I had to tap them with an M3 tap. Now I could just to that by hand, but getting 8 threads kinda square by hand with an oversized tap wrench isn't that easy, and I don't have a tap wrench of the proper size. So instead, I tapped them in the drillpress.

This ensures that the threads are rather square to the workpiece, and also makes it easier to use the tap, as I can just chuck it in the chuck. To then actually cut the thread, I took off the belt (I don't need the motor for this, and it just provides extra resistance) and spun the pulley by hand, as it's also easier to access than the chuck. This also worked really nicely, and I didn't break anything this time.

After a couple days, my endmills also arrived, so I could continue with the saddles. It was pretty much the same as before, except that I milled the 4mm slot from the backside that wasn't interrupted by a slot, which makes it a lot easier. So now, the saddles are pretty much done except for a few things, and some other parts of the bridge is also mostly done.

Having the holes on each end of the slot drilled like this means I can feed inwards while cutting, which loads the toolpost the same way it's usually loaded when using the lathe as a lathe, so this gets me the best results.

So with that, The bridge is starting to take shape now, and next will probably be the tuners.

I also updated the 3D model with the actual design of the saddles instead of the one I modeled before. The hole that's currently missing on the actual saddles is for an M3 set screw to adjust the height of the individual saddles.
So onto the tuners.

Basically, I have to make a worm gear. However, that is kinda where the problems start. Making the worm is easy, as that's just cutting a thread (in my case, I'm just using M5, so I can even just use a die), but the gear is a bit more complicated. I first had the idea to just turn the thread cutting tool on its side in the lathe, index by hand (which isn't very precise), and cut the individual teeth in a few passes. While this gets me something gear-like looking, it doesn't work, because a worm gear doesn't just have straight teeth.
So after a quick search, I found a way to do it with a tap.
Making Wormgears

This is nice because it makes it really easy to cut the gear, and also makes it easy if I want to use a different thread profile, because I'd just have to make a tap, which isn't hard if it's just for aluminium.
However, instead of using a big disk for a large gear, I'm just making 32 tooth gears from some 10mm round bar, which makes the setup a little bit different, but it's quite simple. I still have the tap in the chuck and a piece of aluminium in the tailstock to hold the other end of the tap, reducing the risk of breaking it.

The stock is just held with a piece of wood that I drilled a 10mm hole into on the drill press, so it should be rather square to the bottom face of the block of wood.

I then just have to cut 0.925mm deep, which I can do in multiple passes. And the result is a finished gear! I was originally planning on 3D printing the housing for the tuners, as that makes it a bit easier to get it precise enough, but I should be able to make them from some square aluminium tubing I have laying around, so I'll probably go that route, as it should be more resistant than PLA, especially since the string tension is going to be pulling on it the whole time.
So not too much progress right now, but that's partially because I had to redo/change some parts.
The 10.8mm string spacing I modeled originally is apparently relatively wide, as electric guitars usually use around 9mm (I just measured on a classic guitar, so that's why I had wider spacing). Changing that wasn't a big deal though, I just have to redrill that piece of flat bar with the correct spacing (it's wider then I need it anyways, so I can just flip it around and cut the other part off), and mill the saddles down to 9mm width, as 10mm would be to wide.

I mostly did that again by putting the saddle in the tool holder and milling a slot in the side with a 7mm endmill (the widest one I have). That doesn't fully get it down to the correct width, but I just filed off the parts that didn't get milled off. However, I also tried a different setup that would've milled the whole side down.
For that, I started off by taking off the top slide, and instead put the vice from my drillpress there (the closest thing I have to a milling vice). To mount it there, I put some 10mm pieces of HSS between the vice and the cross slide, and screwed down the vice like the top slide would be screwed down. This felt pretty solid, but it wasn't really.


With more sketchy spacers, I was able to get the saddles at a height where I had an endmill that would take it down to the correct width (or height in this setup), and while this worked, it was chattering quite a bit, and with the amount of passes I'd have to do, this wasn't any faster then using the toolpost and filing the rest, so I just did that.


(this was 2 or 3 passes, and the surface really isn't great)

That's about all I got done on the bridge.

The other stuff I did was for the tuners. I had some issues drilling them precise enough, so to help with that, I printed a drill template that just slides over the tubing. I also replaced the camping-chair aluminium tubing with some nicer looking steel tubing (which as an added bonus has rather straight sides instead of concave ones). The screw is in there to prevent the template from sliding around.

So while this worked great, I had some issues with the worm gears. The way I made them resulted in them all somehow being cut at a different depth, even though I cut them all 0.925 deep. It might be that the 0 point was a bit different between them, and my jig is just made from a block of wood, so that's not the most precise either, but the difference between them seems a bit too big for me (mostly how much of the teeth is still there in the middle of the groove, and how much is just gone). This is kinda an issue, because now, some of the gears aren't strong enough anymore (I was able to overturn one by hand without a lot of force). This is probably not just because of my method not being that precise, but also just a design issue. The M5 thread I'm using has a fairly fine pitch (0.8mm, the tuners on my classic guitar use a 2mm pitch), so there isn't a lot of material there per tooth, which obviously makes them weaker. The shape is also an issue. M5 is just a 60° tooth shape, which isn't the strongest. I don't know exactly what shape the tuners on my guitar use, but my guess would be a 20° trapezoidal thread. So to get around these issues, I'll probably end up making a tap for a trapezoidal thread and use that to remake the gears. As long as I'm just making those out of aluminium, I also shouldn't have to harden the tap, which is good, because I don't have any steel that can be hardened that isn't 30mm or more in diameter, and I'm not wasting that much material on one tap. Making the gears out of a harder material like brass, which might still be fine with tools that aren't hardened, would of course help with the strength, but brass is a lot more expensive then aluminium, and I'd have to order it, as the hardware store near me only has brass round stock up to 8mm, and I need 10mm, otherwise the gears would end up a bit small.

(the current M5 gears)
So I'm probably gonna make a 6mm diameter 2mm pitch 20° trapezoidal tap and either cut new or maybe recut these gears (depends on if there is too much material missing or not). Not really what I was planning on doing because it's a good bit more work, but metric threads are just not going to be strong enough.
If I use 11 teeth, the spacing should be the same between the gear and the worm, so I should be able to reuse the same template and just drill out the holes for the worm to 6mm.

11 teeth would give me stronger teeth, while 12 teeth would need less torque to get the same tension on the strings, and would give me finer adjustment. The difference in the spacing between is 0.3mm, so that wouldn't really be an issue that wouldn't be fixed with drilling out the holes to 6.5mm (I had to drill out the holes to 5.5mm for my current gears as well).

Thanks PlanetAlexander and Asguardianhammer!

Anyways, I tried the larger thread I mentioned yesterday. The first step was to grind a tool, since I don't have one for this profile. That wasn't too big of a deal though. I haven't done much tool grinding, but it turned out pretty well I'd say.
After that, I cut the thread on a piece of steel I had laying around, as mild steel is strong enough to cut aluminium, which is the end goal.

I had to use the tailstock with a dead center (I don't have a live one) as support since this part is quite thin with only 6mm in diameter, the cutting forces would just bend it. I didn't have enough thickness to start cutting off of the part or to cut in some gutters (I also just forgot to do that), because I had to cut 1.4mm deep, which left me with 3.2mm in the center, which isn't very much. So because of that, thread starts off a bit shallow. This isn't an issue though because I'm not really making a tap here, but rather more of a gear hob, so I only need one spot on the thread to be cut properly.
The next thing was to cut the flutes, or rather the flute, as I didn't want to weaken it too much. I just did that on the lathe again by milling a bit of the thread away. I also cut in a smaller flute though with the dremel.

So with the flutes cut in now, the hob is done. The next this was to cut gears (again), but that's where the problems started again. Since the thread now is much more coarse and the diameter of the gear is still quite small with 10mm, the gear doesn't get turned reliably by the tap/hob anymore and stops turning at the flute. The smaller flute I cut in with the dremel didn't do much better either and still had the same issue.


(the "gear" on the left was cut with the big flute, the one on the right with the small one)

So am I just going to buy the tuners now? Nope, at least not yet. The cutter worked fine, the only issue was rotating the workpiece, and having that rotated by the hob isn't ideal anyways, as the speed is only correct once I'm at the final cutting depth. So, I need some way to turn the workpiece synchronized with the spindle. I'm pretty much going to do this like the gear hobbing attachment from AndysMachines on YouTube, having some kind of encoder on the spindle and using a stepper motor to spin the workpiece.
However, my version is going to be a lot more crappy.
The encoder side isn't going to be much different, except that instead of using a metal encoder wheel, I'll just print one out on some transparent film, and for the light barrier, I have some from old inkjet printers. For the stepper I'm planning on using one from an old hard drive, but if that one isn't strong enough, I'll borrow one from my 3D printer. The controller will just be an Arduino UNO and an A4988 stepper driver, which I both have laying around. Since this is all just a temporary setup (for now), I'll just use my bench power supply for the power supply.
There isn't supposed to be any knurling though. Those are supposed to be worm gears (which they also work as, they just aren't very strong).
I also got the spindle encoder mostly working now, though I had some issues.
The first issue was that I didn't have any transparent film that I knew was usable with laser printers (and the inkjet printer didn't have a high enough resolution), and no stores near me had it either. I still had some transparent (or rather more translucent) paper, which worked fine. I had some issues with my first encoder disk though. I didn't get it on completely straight on the spindle, and with the distance varying in the sensor, it didn't work reliably. I tried adding some foam to keep it at the same distance in the sensor which helped, but it still wasn't reliable enough.
A new disk fixed that though, this time with only 100 lines, and a lot thicker lines.

(this is still the old disk, but the rest is the same)

The only issue I still had with the new disk were some extra pulses from the sensor at the cut. I had to cut a slot into the disk to fit it onto the spindle, as I didn't want to disassemble a bunch of stuff just to get it on. Dealing with those extra pulses wasn't too difficult though, as they are a lot faster than the other pulses, so it's easy to filter them out. I just calculate the average pulse time over 10 pulses and discard any pulses that are under a certain percentage of that time. This might cause some issues when spinning up the lathe, but it should stay in sync after that. Since it spins up rather slowly though, it shouldn't be an issue.
And as you can see, it works pretty well now:

There is still one issue though that might not be too hard to fix:
Since the whole setup doesn't really have enough rigidity to just do one deep cut, I have to do multiple cuts. However, at not-final depth, the thread on the tap/hob tries to turn the material at a different speed than the stepper is, which obviously causes issues. Probably the best solution for that is to cut in more flutes, so that there is less tread there to mess things up, and it might also make the cutting faster. The other way would be to just go to final depth in one go, but when I do that, everything is moving quite a lot. It might still be the easier option though, or at least quicker. 1.4mm is a lot of depth though.
OK, I've crawled through this to wrap my brain around it all. The knurling I admired was your burr, LoL. I'm a milling guy--converted a Harbor Freight Mini Mill to CNC. Looking at building a tapping attachment, but still do it manually on the drill press the same way you do. For your home-made tap from mild steel, you might want to surface harden it with a oxy/acetylene torch and smoky flame. True, it can do soft aluminum as is, but the aluminum stock you are cutting is really soft and likes to gum up rather than chip. I curse this same stock when I machine it. I also shop at recycling centers for stock, but it may be worth getting some mid-grade aluminum for the worms. I love the encoder work--definitely taking the hard road.

One other thing. I feel your pain in clamping stock and having it stay located. I have the exact same drill press vice that you do. It was terrible for milling because the floating jaw tilts as you tighten it, taking your stock out of square. I massively improved its precision by replacing the small plate on the underside with one that was as large as I could fit underneath and thicker (to cut flex). Since I used a piece of scrap, it was the best money I never spent.

Guess who's not coming back from the Slayer match--the guy in the Red Shirt
Signature Project: Halo 3 Working Airsoft Spartan Laser in Metal & Fiberglass
That's a really good tip for the vice, I'll definitely try that out.
I don't have an oxy/acetylene torch to surface harden that way, but some charcoal powder should work too with either a butane torch or just a coal fire.

I'll see about the aluminium. I still have this stuff left over from a few years back, but if it turns out too soft, I'll try some harder alloys. It doesn't create super nice chips, but it's not too bad either, and some sand paper can clean it off quite easily.
So the encoder still drifts. I had a feeling it would happen, but it still sucks that after spending 3 days on that stuff, it still doesn't work.
I'm not really sure what to do now. I could try making a spiral flute tap, but doing that by hand would be really difficult, and I still don't know if it would even help. I don't really want to buy the tuners either though, since I'd have to redesign some parts on the headstock to fit commercial ones. It might be the best way though, even if it's kinda expensive.
I'm just gonna buy the tuners. I found some bass tuners at a local music store that should be pretty easy to fit into my current design without changing too much. Instead of screwing them into the wood like they would normally be, I can screw them to a piece of flatbar.

Depending on the actual size of the tuners (I couldn't find any drawings of them), the 16mm I currently have there might be a bit small, but I'll just have to see about that. It wouldn't be hard to change that though, if it's necessary.
I might still try to make my own knobs at least, but I'll use the rest of those tuners since there is no good reason to remake them.
So I got the tuners now. They just about don't fit onto the 16mm tubing as there isn't quite enough space for the screw that prevents them from turning. I might be able to fit them onto it, but the other issue would be the thickness. The tuners are built to be mounted to an about 14mm thick piece of wood. I could make a 12mm thick piece of steel with two pieces of 6mm flat bar I have, but that would get quite heavy, and wouldn't be thick enough. Instead, I found a piece of 14x30mm wood that the tuners mount to well though, so I'll just use that.

I don't fully know what wood it is, but my guess would be pine or something like that. It's not ideal, but it should work for now, and I can just replace it later.

However, it's not just that simple. These tuners are a bit too wide for the 20mm spacing I had planned originally, so I had to change it to 24mm, which works well. However, I can now only fit 5 tuners on the length I could fit 6 before, so I had to do 3/5 instead of 2/6 like I had before to not end up with an even longer headstock. I also made the headstock a bit wider to make sure it's not too weak, as the tuners now need more depth


Essentially, the tuners get screwed to a piece of wood and then go into this cavity with the block that holds them being screwed into the headstock at each end. I'll try to make these cavities (and others that I need too, like for the truss rod) with a mill/burr on my dremel and some chisels, but I might use some of the bigger endmills too. Or I might have to borrow a router, at least for the truss rod.


In the wireframe view, it's pretty visible why I made the headstock a bit wider. The solid piece between the tuner cavities is about 15mm thick, and I don't want to go with less, as that might not be that strong, and I don't want it to break, as there will probably be still quite a bit of force on there from the tension on the strings.
I might also use different wood for the block that the tuners get mounted too if I find some nicer looking wood or it turns out to not be strong enough. Some dark wood could look pretty nice inset into the brighter woods that I have for this build, but I don't really have any, and I don't want to buy a bunch of wood for a few small pieces.
So either I lost one of the nuts to attach the tuners, or they forgot to pack it at the music store. I'm not going back there for just a nut though (not really worth it for me, since I can just make one myself, which is what I did).

I made it out of 10mm aluminium again, since I still have a lot of that stuff, and 19.5mm would be a bit of a waste, and steel is too annoying to use. One issue was that my thread gauge only has 0.7mm and 0.8mm pitch and it was somewhere in between those (the imperial side doesn't go as fine, so I didn't bother with that). My lathe can do 0.75mm pitch though, so I used that, which worked, so it was probably correct. The shape otherwise is quite simple, as it's just a 6mm hole in the middle (though I drilled it to 6.5mm as I had some issues fitting it over the tuner otherwise), 7.5mm outer diameter and a hex on the top. I didn't make it a hex, but instead just filed two sides flat, as that should be good enough, and is easier to do.

As you can probably guess, on the right is one that came with the other tuners, and on the left is the one I made.

I also made the blocks of wood that the tuners attach to. To start of, I used the finger remover 2000 (also known as the table saw) to cut the piece of wood I had down to 21mm in width. After that, I just cut it to length with a hand saw and drilled the holes on the drillpress, making sure that I have a piece of scrap wood under it to get less tearout. After that, I just temporarly screwed in the tuners for now. They aren't aligned perfectly yet, and I haven't put in the small screw that keeps them from rotating, but this is about how they'll look once that's all done. The wood also isn't finished yet.

The one nut I made and the stainless steel washer I used stick out a bit from the rest, but I think if I put it in the middle like here it'll look ok, and it'll be kinda hidden behind the handle anyways, so it doesn't bother me that much.
I haven't updated this thread in a bit, but I've made quite some progress.

First some more metal work on the bridge. I want to be able to do some pitch bending on the bridge (though I probably won't do that that much), so it basically has to be on a hinge. To mount it that way, I have to weld two pins onto the side of the bridge, but they have to be in line with each other, otherwise the hinge won't work properly.


I first welded the blocks and lined them up by putting a bolt through both of them. With them lined up and screwed down, I could then just put in the actual pins and weld them to the plate that will be part of the bridge later.
And here is the current state of the bridge: mostly done, all that's really left is to drill some holes.


After this, time for some wood working. I first transferred the design for the body and neck onto the pieces of wood I want to use for them. This was kinda time consuming, but not really difficult. Just measure along one edge, then draw a perpendicular line to that at the x coordinate and measure on that line for Y, then mark that spot. The only issue was that my longest ruler at that time was 30cm, but it wasn't a huge issue.
I then cut out the rough shape of the neck with a circular saw and got it to the final outline with a jigsaw and some rasps.


(not the final shape on the headstock yet)

To get the fret board radius, I needed a radius sanding block. The easiest way to get one was to make one, so I did that. I started off by gluing two pieces of wood together as I didn't have any soft wood that was wide enough, and then it was onto getting the radius. For that I made a rather simple and crappy jig. Basically, I have to put a router on a pendulum so that I can rout in the radius. I didn't have access to a router at this time though, so I used the spare motor that I have for my lathe and made an adapter to connect a 6mm endmill to it. So this meant I was milling pine with an endmill made for metal at about 5000rpm. In the end, it worked out fine though and the result wasn't too bad considering nothing was really precise on that jig.

After some sanding, I just had to cut off the ends, and I had a completed radius block.

Next were the pockets for the tuners on the headstock. I made those using a few chisels, as I still didn't have access to a router, and they weren't too big, so it was doable. I also had to drill some holes to pass the knobs through, which might have been smarter to do before chiseling the pockets to prevent tearout, but I didn't think that far ahead.

So now the tuners can be installed, but I need to take them out again to do some more work on the neck.

Now next was a bit of metal working again for the truss rod. It would've made more sense to just buy one, but I already bought the materials before actually looking up trussrods, so there was no point in not trying. I can't cut left hand threads though, which are usually used on truss rods, so I only have a thread on one end and have the other end fixed. It seems to work alright though, but if it doesn't, I can still swap it out for a commercial rod.

After that, I routed the slot for the truss rod into the neck (actually using a router this time) and then cut a skunk stripe to size on the table saw to fill that slot back up. One issue there was that the blade on my table saw isn't very straight, and it's not really possible to set it square to the table, as the table is just rather thin sheet metal. The downside of cheap tools. I got it fitting after a good amount of cursing at the saw though.


I also started routing out the body. And that's pretty much it for now.
New update after a while! (I should really update my threads more often)

So I finished routing the shape of the body, which means most of the large wood working is now done! Cutting out the rough shape for the hole with a jigsaw wasn't very fun.


After then also routing out the neck pocket, it was ready for a test fit. Starting to look like an actual guitar now.


I also got the skunk stripe sanded down smooth again, so now, the next part was mounting the neck.


To mount the neck, I'm using 4 M5 bolts with some threaded inserts, as this allows me to remove and put the neck back on quite a few times without really wearing anything out, which allows me to be a bit more flexible with the order in which I do stuff.
So anyways, inserting the inserts.
To insert the inserts, I first drilled an 8mm hole into the wood which the insert will go in. Then, without removing the neck from the vice, I swapped the drill for a piece of M5 threaded rod with 3 nuts on it, two of them countering each other, and one loose nut. The insert is then screwed onto the threaded rod and the loose nut is used to counter the insert. This way, I can make sure the insert goes in straight.


This also has another advantage, as I can screw in the insert using a wrench this way instead of having to use a slotted screwdriver, as I don't have a wide enough one. (the hardware store didn't have any inserts with an internal hex)

Now with the neck attached, there was some more work to do on the bridge, more specifically the saddles. So far, there is no good way to adjust the height, which is something that I'll kinda need to do. The strings also go around a sharp corner, which isn't good, as they might wear faster this way, and this also isn't great with the thicker strings, as they need a larger radius to bend around that corner, so the heights are off again.
To add some height adjustment, I drilled a hole into each saddle and tapped an M3 thread into it so that I can use an M3 set screw to adjust the height. Removing the sharp corner wasn't that difficult either. I first took a cutoff disk on my dremel and ground a rounded shape from the tip of the saddle to the slot that the string passes through. After roughing in that shape, I took a 3mm burr to clean that up. So now, the bridge is pretty much done too.


Now, I had to shape the neck. This could be done with a belt sander, but I don't have one, so it was rasps and files for me.


So now, the guitar is in a somewhat usable state.


However, it's still fretless, so the next step was to add the frets. The frets are made from fret wire, which is wire with a somewhat mushroom like profile, where the "stem" part (or tang) gets pressed into a slot. To cut that slot, I used a fretsaw. It doesn't really have anything to do with frets, but it was the only saw I had with a sawblade of the right thickness. This made cutting the slots square to the surface difficult though, which turned into an issue later.


Initially, I planned to press the frets into the slots on my drillpress, as it's the closest thing I have to an arborpress, I know you're not supposed to put much pressure on the quill of a drill press, but pressing in the frets shouldn't take too much force, right?
Well, kinda. If the slots were square to the surface, it might've worked, but since the slots weren't, the frets needed too much force for my drill press. So instead, I had to do it in the vice.
The first issue I ran into there was the maximum width the jaws could open, as I couldn't fit in both the neck and the aluminium sheet that I cut in the radius of the fretboard to use it as a press tool. Cutting down that aluminium fixed that though.
So after doing that, it was just holding things in a weird position in the vice and then pressing in the frets.


However, the frets are still too long (at least some of them. Some are actually a bit short, but just by 1-2mm, so it's no big deal). To get them to length, I first cut them roughly with some side cutters. Now to get them actually smooth to the side of the fretboard, one option is to use fret files, which are basically just regular flat files that are mounted sideways in a block, so that you can easily file the edge to 90°. However, instead of doing that, or using handing blocks, I just used a regular flat file. The handle got in the way a bit, but it was doable. After filing the sides of the frets to roughly 90° (it's not really critical), I then filed an angle onto the ends of the frets to make it more comfortable (it's probably somewhere around 30-45°, but again not really critical as long as it doesn't dig into my hand or rip it up). After some passes with some sand paper to make the ends a bit smoother, the frets are now mostly done!


It's definitely playable now, but I need to level the frets as the first fret buzzes a lot. There are also a few steel parts left to be made, but mostly, it's electronics, finishing the wood, and cleaning up a few different things that's left.
For finishing the wood, I've got some clear coat (solvent based) that I'm currently trying to dye to a nice color (I got some also solvent based ink for that). I'll post more on that later though once I've got it figured out a bit more (if I don't forget to update my thread again).
Not open for further replies.