My New Duplicating Carver

nuance97

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Anybody who’s perused my old build thread may remember my old CopyCarver (the fish carver you can get plans for online)
D3030872-5E2B-43C5-8BFC-32CEFC1B5183.jpeg

This thing “worked” obviously, but the accuracy lacked something to be desired. I mean it did a decent job when extreme pains were taken. I wanted something better

Years ago Damien Probett was around here and posted his carver
7B430DE0-9018-4368-8DD4-E9489F25ACAE.jpeg

I liked his a lot

And there was Gil’s (preeb on the Tele forum)
147801F7-3609-46EE-8CF1-C61B23EFF60F.jpeg

Very similar idea, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Damien’s was the basis for his carver

I have for a long time wanted to build myself one that took the best bits from these two designs...so I finally did.
467F3A84-6C51-4E53-B70F-8CBCDDE92BD9.jpeg

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8EB9D829-A70F-411E-AD24-E8C38C6426A6.jpeg


How does it work? Pretty good
4409A329-89AB-42CE-ACE1-E0EEB5529816.jpeg

3B427891-6F46-454F-8F66-75AFB3FB174C.jpeg

3rd and final pass no photo ... :(

I almost had a catastrophic router malfunction...the nut/bolt that tightens the motor in the router base had unbeknownst to me become stripped and the router slipped down in the base (you can see the slip in the neck mortise area). This left me so flummoxed that I somehow forget the final pic...sorry
A89E77C4-D45F-441F-8019-5F1A85C7268D.jpeg

I luckily had another bolt and barrel nut
EB832B41-068E-4795-9D4A-E11A7C795B97.jpeg


But after some sanding this is the carved top
79B471AF-EBB5-472D-9F4A-92FE2A2CBBB3.jpeg

5A3A511F-65B0-4483-82F3-07E481BF5B71.jpeg


If there’s any interest I’d be happy to post some details on the machine should anybody else choose to build one like it. It was pretty difficult to derive a lot of the details from two low quality grainy photos
 
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nuance97

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In anticipation for the “why not CNC” question that will likely come up: I don’t want to have to learn how to do the digital modeling, learning CAD/CAM, creating tool paths, or all the other technical jargon to describe what all is involved. Learning woodworking for the sole purpose of guitar building took long enough, and I can do that. I don’t want to devote years to learning all that computer stuff. So low-tech it is for me
 

SlingBlader

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Awesome, Daniel. Thanks for posting this. I would love to have more details for sure. I don't have room for one now, but I might in the next year or so. I've been tempted to make one of these, but like you pointed out; the details are hard to work out from the numerous horrible pictures that exist.
 

nuance97

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Awesome, Daniel. Thanks for posting this. I would love to have more details for sure. I don't have room for one now, but I might in the next year or so. I've been tempted to make one of these, but like you pointed out; the details are hard to work out from the numerous horrible pictures that exist.
Okay. I’ll get some details together for you and post them in the coming days.

Its really not massive. I can move it by myself although a helper is preferable
 

valvetoneman

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That came out lovely, I can't wait to get back to mine now I've seen this

If you do another one try and weigh the body and cap before and after, I'm interested in how much a carved cap weighs, also what's the final thickness, I'm assuming around 14.5mm
 

lowatter

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Awesome Daniel! It looks very sturdy and controllable. Most of the DIY carvers look kinda "squirrely" to me. The large C clamp was a perfect counterweight/handle. I bet there's a market for selling plans for this.
It could easily be hung on a wall for storage so that it doesn't take up too much shop space.
BTW...it looks like you live out in the country. I'm on 6 acres and wouldn't have it any other way. I'm in the next state from you near Greenwood SC.
 

the great waldo

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HI Daniel
Cad_cnc has it's place but I think for tops and a lot of the other routing operations a copy carver is the way to go. I've got a cnc macine and it carves tops nicely but it takes forever, much quicker with a copy router and I also have some tactile feedback on the machining process. I've got the bits to make a copy router I just don't have the space to set it up yet but with retirement around the corner time and space will be made. Your copy router looks very straight forward. Food for thought for my one. Keep up the good work.
Cheers
Andrfew
 

nuance97

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If you do another one try and weigh the body and cap before and after, I'm interested in how much a carved cap weighs, also what's the final thickness, I'm assuming around 14.5mm
I’ll weigh the next one, and 14.5mm is pretty close to exact!
 

pshupe

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In anticipation for the “why not CNC” question that will likely come up: I don’t want to have to learn how to do the digital modeling, learning CAD/CAM, creating tool paths, or all the other technical jargon to describe what all is involved. Learning woodworking for the sole purpose of guitar building took long enough, and I can do that. I don’t want to devote years to learning all that computer stuff. So low-tech it is for me
This is something that boggles my mind. I use CNC and can tell you if you are not into computers and have a background in CAD it is a very tough road to go CNC. I am amazed at people that purchase a CNC and know nothing about computers and/or CAD. Similarly if they build it themselves. I had 25 years experience with CAD construction documents and 15 yrs of 3d modeling. I really enjoy modeling in 3d and computers. Anything I build, even well before my guitar building additction, I use CAD to lay it out to make sure everything works.

Looks great Daniel.

Cheers Peter.
 

nuance97

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Awesome Daniel! It looks very sturdy and controllable. Most of the DIY carvers look kinda "squirrely" to me. The large C clamp was a perfect counterweight/handle. I bet there's a market for selling plans for this.
It could easily be hung on a wall for storage so that it doesn't take up too much shop space.
BTW...it looks like you live out in the country. I'm on 6 acres and wouldn't have it any other way. I'm in the next state from you near Greenwood SC.
Good eye: the C-clamp is indeed a counterbalance, and it was just right.

I live in the rural NE part of Georgia (Clarkesville) about 90 miles from you. We were in Anderson a few weeks ago out on the lake with friends who live over there
 
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pshupe

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HI Daniel
Cad_cnc has it's place but I think for tops and a lot of the other routing operations a copy carver is the way to go. I've got a cnc macine and it carves tops nicely but it takes forever, much quicker with a copy router and I also have some tactile feedback on the machining process. I've got the bits to make a copy router I just don't have the space to set it up yet but with retirement around the corner time and space will be made. Your copy router looks very straight forward. Food for thought for my one. Keep up the good work.
Cheers
Andrfew
Interesting point. I bet my CNC machine will carve faster than someone with a duplicarver. I'm not 100% sure of that though. @nuance97 - How long would it take you to rough carve and finish carve a top? One thing I can ask, while you are carving a top what else can you be doing? :naughty: My rough carve and finish carve may take about 20 mins each but I can be working on something else at the same time. That's where the CNC machines shines.

I've been using CNC for guitars for a while now but started as most do with templates and hand routers. I built a Firebird a while back and thought it would be easier to just use templates for some processes. I forgot how difficult and time consuming using the templates had been. I'm definitely not shooting it down but rather illustrating you have to be on the ball and aware or things can go bad quickly.

Frankly I do not see much difference between CNC and using a router with templates. The operator is the CNC in that case. There is still all the finish work to be done. I can rough cut a neck on my CNC and still use files and rasps to get a feel for the neck and how I want to shape.

Cheers Peter.
 

nuance97

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This is something that boggles my mind. I use CNC and can tell you if you are not into computers and have a background in CAD it is a very tough road to go CNC. I am amazed at people that purchase a CNC and know nothing about computers and/or CAD. Similarly if they build it themselves. I had 25 years experience with CAD construction documents and 15 yrs of 3d modeling. I really enjoy modeling in 3d and computers. Anything I build, even well before my guitar building additction, I use CAD to lay it out to make sure everything works.

Looks great Daniel.

Cheers Peter.
I think people are naïve enough about it that they think they mash the “guitar” button and a CNC spits one out the other side...

Same goes with 3-D printing. Seems really cool until you realize you have to learn all the same stuff
Interesting point. I bet my CNC machine will carve faster than someone with a duplicarver. I'm not 100% sure of that though. @nuance97 - How long would it take you to rough carve and finish carve a top? One thing I can ask, while you are carving a top what else can you be doing? :naughty: My rough carve and finish carve may take about 20 mins each but I can be working on something else at the same time. That's where the CNC machines shines.

I've been using CNC for guitars for a while now but started as most do with templates and hand routers. I built a Firebird a while back and thought it would be easier to just use templates for some processes. I forgot how difficult and time consuming using the templates had been. I'm definitely not shooting it down but rather illustrating you have to be on the ball and aware or things can go bad quickly.

Frankly I do not see much difference between CNC and using a router with templates. The operator is the CNC in that case. There is still all the finish work to be done. I can rough cut a neck on my CNC and still use files and rasps to get a feel for the neck and how I want to shape.

Cheers Peter.
It took a lot longer than 20 minutes! I really didn’t time it. This was my 1st time, and I was figuring out how to best work it so the next one will take considerably less time. I’d estimate 2 hours. It is a slow process, but hand carving is much slower, and a router/topographical template set is not fast either
 

shickma0

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I think people are naïve enough about it that they think they mash the “guitar” button and a CNC spits one out the other side...

Same goes with 3-D printing. Seems really cool until you realize you have to learn all the same stuff

It took a lot longer than 20 minutes! I really didn’t time it. This was my 1st time, and I was figuring out how to best work it so the next one will take considerably less time. I’d estimate 2 hours. It is a slow process, but hand carving is much slower, and a router/topographical template set is not fast either
Totally agree with this. I just recently turned 18 and have been doing cad modeling for about 6 or 7 years now as well as 3D printing stuff in addition to guitar building. I’ve only been scratch building guitars for about a year but I could knock out a junior type build in a weekend now but when I was learning CAD I don’t think I could even fully model a carved top guitar for the first year. Same goes for making plastic parts with a 3D printer, the amount of calibration and setup combined with the finishing work often exceeds the actual amount of time something is printing. But I think once you’re able to use tools like CAD, CNC machining and 3D printing your ability to rapidly and accurately prototype and produce guitars increases drastically
 

fatdaddypreacher

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nice job. those linear bearings aren't cheap, but they surely do a great job. years ago i ran custom moulding and had to build my own knives, so i modeled a duplicator like the first two pictured using two sets of rails with linear bearing. I can't guess how many knives i ground over the years . ingenius the way you made your router let to angle. you dah man
 

lowatter

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I used to work in Anderson for 5 years. I would commute 40 min each way from Due West which is between Greenwood and Anderson. I'm on temporary disability now until the docs can find out what's wrong with me. I've had some major health setbacks lately and cancer isn't out of the equation. Waiting on more test results but the blood results aren't the greatest. I'm on steroids right now to keep me going.
Maybe you could drop by sometime on another visit with your friends. You helped me out trmendously with my 2 DC Jr builds and you're a great contributor here. It would be an honor if you ever could swing by and yak about building etc.
 
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nuance97

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I used to work in Anderson for 5 years. I would commute 40 min each way from Due West which is between Greenwood and Anderson. I'm on temporary disability now until the docs can find out what's wrong with me. I've had some major health setbacks lately and cancer isn't out of the equation. Waiting on more test results but the blood results aren't the greatest. I'm on steroids right now to keep me going.
Maybe you could drop by sometime on another visit with your friends. You help me out trmendously with my 2 DC Jr builds and you're a great contributor here. It would be an honor if you ever could swing by and yak about building etc.
I hope the results have you in the clear man! And maybe I’ll take you up on the offer to visit sometime :thumb:
 

nuance97

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@SlingBlader and anybody else who wants the info here goes:

The parts you’ll need are
Linear Bearings- 750mm (eBay)
A17BAC3D-02C7-42A4-8DD8-11CB98FA085F.jpeg

1” x 36” stainless steel bar (Amazon)
1DE0227D-715D-479F-9558-720293F504FC.jpeg

1” pillow block- set of 2 (Amazon)
B0C1A945-2307-4E2F-A30F-E0F8BCD1B646.jpeg

1” barbell clamps- set of 2 (Amazon)
458D0A59-4AD1-4421-933E-AC0DCE482808.jpeg

3/4” diameter length of brass rod (eBay)
702624EE-E9AD-4868-887A-8E76A0733A6A.jpeg



The base of my carver is 3/4” MDF & measures in at 31” x 37”
As mentioned the linear bearing set is 750mm or 29.5” the extra 1.5 inch gives you a spot for a stop front/back.

I also had to rip 4 strips that were 1/4” wider than my linear bearing bases to act as a riser (to give me more height) and as runners to attach the stabilizer strap across the front. This keeps everything from racking (or wracking)...or twisting or whatever you wanna call it

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A2FABDD8-35F4-4D31-9EE6-B447C34D7CCA.jpeg

Here you can see most of the details of how it all goes together. You have the MDF base with the plywood (MDF would also work) riser strip, the linear bearing atop that, the plywood runner attached to the bearings, and the pillow block attached to the runner. Plus the stabilizer strap at the far right of the image. Spanning the two identical runner assemblies is the steel bar with the barbell clamps on either side of the router/stylus tray.

The distance between the leading and trailing edge of your bearing blocks should be 11”. This will give you enough travel


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The size of the tray will depend somewhat on the size of your router. I used a small laminate trimmer. It was actually the same one that was on my old carver from my 1st post in this thread. I am slowly cannibalizing it for parts and plywood.

My tray measures in at 12” x 18.5” x 2.25” (or 3” measuring outside the sides).

The center of the stylus to the center of the bit is 14 13/16” and they inset 1.5” from the leading edge of the tray, but this again will depend on your router base. I also routed down half the thickness of my plywood to set the router deeper to give more bit reach.

The holes for the 1” bar are approximately 7.5” from the front edge of the tray


The stylus I made from a piece of brass bar stock about 4” long. I shaped it on my Ridgid oscillating belt sander to match my 3/4” corebox (bull nose) bit
BC218B54-9281-4C47-858F-7920E95955F8.jpeg

I’m using a cotter pin to hold it in place
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For stops I used some small pieces of steel angle
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That’s about it other than the various small nuts, bolts, and screws you’ll need

* oh the stabilizer strap across the front is just 1/4” MDF and the width is not critical..something close to 8-10” will be fine

It weighs in at 59 lbs
total cost (less the router) is under or right at $200
 
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Stephmon

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I eased into the CnC of carving tops by going with the simplest workflow that I could find. Essentially, I drew up my version of the templates in Adobe Illustrator (because it can output vector drawings, and it was familiar).


Next, I entered the relative heights, type of cut, etc. in MakerCam.



Then, I loaded the job into my Shapeoko, ran it and smoothed the result, just as you would with the templates (which I made, but never ended up using).



If I want to shorten the smoothing process, I can add additional steps, simply by adding them to the 2D drawing and entering their depths again in the MakerCam.

I am in the process of learning FreeCad, which I am using to get the custom multi-scale bridge for my latest build modeled. At some point, I may tackle a 3D model that I can output as G-Code. But, I suspect I might go the lazy route and just use it to combine the Illustrator and MakerCam steps into one.

This is discussed in much more detail in my build thread (this topic begins at post #26, at the link below)...

 

pshupe

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I eased into the CnC of carving tops by going with the simplest workflow that I could find. Essentially, I drew up my version of the templates in Adobe Illustrator (because it can output vector drawings, and it was familiar).


Next, I entered the relative heights, type of cut, etc. in MakerCam.



Then, I loaded the job into my Shapeoko, ran it and smoothed the result, just as you would with the templates (which I made, but never ended up using).



If I want to shorten the smoothing process, I can add additional steps, simply by adding them to the 2D drawing and entering their depths again in the MakerCam.

I am in the process of learning FreeCad, which I am using to get the custom multi-scale bridge for my latest build modeled. At some point, I may tackle a 3D model that I can output as G-Code. But, I suspect I might go the lazy route and just use it to combine the Illustrator and MakerCam steps into one.

This is discussed in much more detail in my build thread (this topic begins at post #26, at the link below)...

You should look at Fusion 360. It’s design, rendering, drawings, animation, and CAM all in one. It’s free for hobby use.
Cheers Peter.
 


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