There are several ways someone can make a guitar. You can buy a kit and assemble it yourself or find an instrument that needs some love and fix it up. But for the more adventurous people out there, why not try making your own?
For sure, this might sound like something only people with woodworking skills will attempt, but this isn’t always the case! Many hobbyists and artisans have created custom guitars without prior experience through a Computer Numerical Control router.
Making a guitar using a CNC machine is not as hard as it sounds. In this article, we will go over each step so that anyone can follow along with ease.
Here Are The Steps In Making A Guitar Body On A CNC Machine:
Step1: Design the Body
The first step is designing the body of your guitar. You will need to have a clear picture of how you want it to look and what measurements fit your ideal vision for the instrument.
There are various designs and templates available online that you can use for your CNC machine. So, research and pick the one that suits your preferences best. Try keeping it simple and more minimalistic if this is your first time doing so.
Step 2: Cut The Wood
Once you have picked a design, it is now time to get the materials ready. In creating your guitar body and neck, consider using a solid blank such as mahogany, oak and maple. You can buy them from most lumber yards. It would help if you made sure that the wood is a bit thicker for the body. A wood that is about 1/8" more should do just fine.
To get these materials into the exact sizes that you want, use your CNC machine for this step. It will be easier for you and will reduce the chance of errors when working with such precise equipment. Also, be sure to level off all your pieces of material to be cut down to get everything looking nice and even.
Step 3: Cut The Neck Slots
Now that the wood is ready, it is time to cut the slots for the neck and headstock. If you are new to CNC machining, start with a smaller tool bit. You can always make the slots bigger when you are already more comfortable using them.
Step 4: Cut The Neck Pocket And Bridge Slots
Cut the neck pocket with the CNC machine then cut a small piece of wood for the bridge to sit in. To do this, you need to make sure the depth of your router bit is no deeper than the thickness of the guitar body. This will leave plenty of wood for gluing on later.
Step 5: Cut Out The Headstock And Pickup Routs
Make a template out of plywood so that you can cut out the headstock and pickup routs. Use the same router bit as the neck pocket. Make a small template at first, then enlarge it until it is big enough for what you need.
Step 6: Cut Out the Fret Holes
With a 1/8" end mill, cut out the fret slots. Just remember to prepare your template first and take your time. These are small slots, so it is easy to mess up if you rush the job.
Step 7: Cut Out The Body Shape
Cut out the shape of the guitar with a bigger router bit. You want to follow your template so that when the two pieces are glued together, they will fit perfectly.
Step 8: Cut Out The Control Cavities
Cut out where your controls and pickup will be located in the guitar body. Use a small router bit for this job as well. Just remember that you need to leave enough room for the controls to be mounted and routed.
Step 9: Glue The Pieces
With all of the cuts ready, it is time to glue the pieces together. Use some wood glue. Also, make sure that you have clamps on hand because this project will probably take a while to dry.
Step 10: Sand And Stain
Sand down the guitar body. You should use 220 grit sandpaper and start with an orbital sander. Do not go too deep into the wood because you don't want to hit any of your cuts.
Put a couple of coats of stain on the wood. This will let the wood grain show better in your completed project. If you will paint it, then make sure that all of your cuts are already sealed with a good amount of clear coat. This will make your project stand out more.
CNC machines are a great way to make guitars. If you're eager to create your own guitar body, follow these steps, and you'll be on your way.