The last couple of months have seen my 2D drawings go back and forward a few times between me and Martin. We’ve been discussing some of the finer points and making a few tweaks, ironing out some details of the neck joint and trem cavity.
With that done, Martin and his colleague Rob turned my 2D drawings into a 3D model on their system. I drove over to their workshop a few weeks ago to take a look and make some final decisions around a few questions that cropped up from the modelling process. It was interesting to see the drawings translated into 3D – not the full 3D model I had assumed, but rather a series of surfaces, basically just the bits the CNC router would need to do its job.
A couple of weeks later and an initial wooden prototype was ready for me to see, so off I went over to the workshop again (it’s a lovely drive by the way, from Brighton towards Ashford in Kent – lots of curvy country roads interspersed with long straights, presumably old Roman roads; a great run so long as you don’t get stuck behind a ‘Sunday driver’…).
This prototype isn’t intended to be a ‘playing’ guitar – it’s just made from cheap wood, and won’t be finished or fully built. It’s just for checking that the CNC process has put everything in the right place and that it all fits together correctly. It did and it does! It was great to be able to hold in my hands the final guitar shape. The front and rear radius contouring works really well and the neck-heel join is seamless and well-shaped for easy and comfortable access to the top frets.
One decision we have made as a result of building this model though is that the strip of wood at the base of the body, behind the trem cavity, probably will be too thin and prone to breaking. The solution we’ve come up with is to use an L-shaped metal plate to serve as both the trem cavity cover on the rear of the guitar and provide a solid end-plate behind the trem on the base of the body. Should look pretty good, too, I think.
Next step is to build an actual production prototype – a fully finished, playable, guitar that will to all intents and purposes be the finished thing. Something that will look, sound and play just like the ‘real’ ones will when we go into production.
All getting quite exciting now!