This one’s been a bit of a saga – laser-cutting fret-slots, laser-etching fret-marker holes, laser-etching nut slots.
The main reason it’s been a saga is that the guitar is too tall to fit under the laser-cutter beam-guide. The next laser-cutter I get, I’m going to build myself. The way the Chinese ones come in a giant metal-box is a bit of a pain, looks kindof crap, is non-modular, and takes up a fuck of a lot of space. Basically means you need a room just for the laser-cutter.
Anyway, it turns out that if I take the floor out of the laser cutter, I can attach a couple of DIY clamps to the edge – which allow me to raise and lower the guitar neck.
Lowering the floor like this means I needed to extend the lens-focusing tube – which took 3 goes
So… massive learning curve, probably ought to write down what I’ve learned (now that I’ve done 2 necks using this method)
1) The DIY clamps are still too wobbly – use real clamps. Not pegs, not tape, not rubber bands… real clamps, because if you accidentally knock it, you’re going to spend hours trying to get things to line again. Tie the neck down. It has to be rock solid.
2) don’t bother with making a template – eyeball it.
3) if you’re using pre-made fret markers, test your etch on a bit of scrap wood first. If you make the holes too big you’ll need new fret-markers, if you make them too small, each one is going to take about 1/2 an hour to fix.
4) so get it all done in one shot.
5) this means getting the laser clean, focused, and operating at full-power, with the nozzle-extender. The nozzle-extender makes this a LOT harder to do. It’d be good not to have to do this actually. Pain in the arse.
6) it’s a lot easer to fix a randomly placed dot-pattern than a uniformly spaced one.
7) it’s a LOT easier to make your own fret-markers with laser-cuttable material. The pattern you use to etch the hole is the same pattern you use to cut the inlay material. Sometimes you have to bodge for kerf etc, but not usually.
8) you can’t cut bone with a laser-cutter.
9) do all this stuff before you shape the neck
10) making a separate fret-board will save doing all the table-lowering stuff. So make separate fretboards from now on.
Anyhoo… pre-sanding, fretting etc.
A lot rougher than I’d like… but I might be able to fill some cracks with epoxy after I’ve calmed down a bit, and everything in the whole world is a bit less annoying. Oh yea, and the frets are upside down. Mind you, so are the pegs. It’s got that whole Hendrix thing going on. It’s from Down Under. What do you expect?