Sunday, December 15, 2013

Halfway Home.....

          Well Its almost halfway over! This year of learning and doing has been flying by so fast its almost hard to believe that each day is a day closer to a dream come true! The clock is ticking down to holiday break and with that the countdown begins to finishing all the projects that are on the bench.

The old Five Star guitar that my mother bought in the 60's learned to play and passe to me to play is officially a guitar again! It has gone through quite the transformation. It has almost been rebuilt! The process was long but very educational and rewarding. I had to re-glue the top and back, repair and brace a cracked rib, re-glue some internal braces, re-set the angles of the neck, re-fret the entire fingerboard on the non adjustable neck, and make a new bridge for the guitar. Each step was dependent on the others and had one not gone well all of the others would have suffered. With patience, skill, and hard work, the guitar plays and feels better than ever and still retains that first guitar charm.
All strung up, set up, and ready to play the blues 
 Nice low action with no buzz
 New solid Rosewood bridge and Silk and Steel Folk strings
 New nut to top off all the work 

          The CAD and CNC class is finally paying off with the finish of all of the drafting leading to the production of molds and templates for the upcoming builds. For me this includes Inside Bending, and Outside Clamping molds for the acoustic build. Along with neck and head stock shape templates for the acoustic, and head stock shape template for the electric build. These were all taken from our Rhino CAD drawings and loaded into the MasterCAM program where we created the tool paths that tell the CNC machine where and how to cut the parts out. This process is relatively the same as most of the large manufacturing operations like Fender, Gibson, PRS, etc, and will be the same process used for making most of the parts of my spring acoustic and electric builds.
The CNC machine cutting the plywood inside and outside mold patterns
 Each inside and outside panel is an exact copy of the others. They are layered and attached together.  
 The outside edges are cleaned up of any glue and splinters. The inside Bending Mold is made of 7-8 layers
wide enough to bend the sides of the guitar around.
 The outside mold is made of 4 layers and will give the final shape of the guitar. After the sides are bent they are clamped into the outside mold to help them retain their shape until the top and back are glued on.
 The machine cutting out 1/4 inch thick templates of the acoustic head stock, neck, and electric head stock.
 These templates will make the construction much simpler, and provide permanent reference for future builds. 

           The mandolin build is almost halfway finished as well with the final touches being done to the top and the ribs. The scroll has been finely hand carved and smoothed to perfection ( or as close as I can get! ) and the entire top has been hand flushed to the ribs. The ribs have been smoothed and flattened to give the router a firm base for routing the binding channel around the edge. This leaves the mandolin ready for routing, which will be done first thing next semester when i have the bindings ready to install. 
The scroll In all its hand carved glory.
 The smooth top arching

 The elegant blended points.
 All trimmed and ready to move on to back and neck construction!

           Thanks for all of the support and following along with me in this journey. Now its time to kick back and enjoy some much needed time off, and holiday cheer! Happy Holidays to all!

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