2.5D, CAD/CAM question


I am seriously considering buying the X-Carve 1000x1000. I use a Hackintosh (a Mac I built myself). I would use the X-Carve to CNC solid body electric guitars. Yes, I have seen a few similar projects showcases, but they seem to only be doing flat top guitars (see image below)

I am interested in building either cylindrical or arched top guitars. For what I understand, Easel is out of question for this task. So I was thinking using Fusion 360 for both CAD & CAM and maybe Universal-G-Code-Sender. I am new to all this CNC stuff. Would it work?

Thanks - JF

Yup, I’m pretty sure that would work. I haven’t dove into Fusion yet but that are many other X-Carvers that use it with great success!

Check out this post for some more info on both Solidworks and Fusion 360. Both are suitable for your needs. And yes, UGS or Chilipeppr can send the resulting gcode

It can be done but your issue will come to be how to mill the other side of the body once you have one side already profiled. When you profile the first side, the other side will still be flat and will rest on your mill just fine for the front side profiling. Once you have the frint side done and you wish to flip the body over to profile the back side, then your issue will come up about how to keep the flat back side flat to the mill while it is being profiled since the already profiled side is now resting on the mill waste board and is no longer flat to serve as a reference for the back side like the back side was for the front side. This type of thing is often where a large 4th axis would come into play and work great. But the X Carve of course does not have anywhere near the work space needed for that type of setup. At best you might be able to carve a negative of the front profile into a block that you can mount on the mill so that when they body if placed it it, it is held in such a way that the back in now flat for profiling and the whole body is held securely to the mill for processing .

It can be done but will take some planning to do correctly. The plus side is once you have this system down, it will be pretty easy to repeat as needed. I would highly suggest getting the Dewalt 611 or a VFD spindle for this type of work as you will be doing a good deal of profiling on a lrage work piece so you will want to save time with a good spindle every chance you get.

Assuming the body will be cut out of a rectangular piece of wood, leaving the waste around the guitar with tabs will allow you to flip the entire piece over. The waste will keep the guitar body nice and flat to allow the carving of the back side.


Thanks for your detailed replies and for pointing out the back side of the guitar challenge. Milling a negative piece of wood of the front side and then using it stacked with the original seems a good idea.

I will definitely start to learn F360 while saving money to buy the X-Carve.

Thanks everyone.


Agreed, 100%, this is absolutely the way to do it. You would also be able to cut out a nice full-thickness body that way without using a really long router bit. My Next Big Project™ is to start test carving some scaled down guitar bodies out of styrofoam. The smaller size will just be to save on material during testing, and I eventually want to have a template that I can drop a 3D body model into and be able to easily start / flip over / finish. I don’t plan on doing production runs or anything, but a few friends and I really want to have our own custom and unique guitars, and I am in a custom and unique position to be able to make that happen. :smiley:


Also look up MeshCAM! For the profiling, that seems absolutely ideal for what you’re doing. I’ve had good luck in the 3d work I’ve tried with it. Super easy to use, and supports two-sided work with a single button-press.

I’m currently using Fusion360 myself for everything that’s not 3d work, and I’ve been having pretty good luck. I think I flushed out what was causing the crashes, too! Have yet to work up the guts to try it, but I’m fairly sure my G28 was set when I ran the Easel set-up program for the X-carve, and as such is set in the wrong spot because I didn’t know any better. Very easy to fix, now that I know! :smile:

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Ok, I just understood what ErikJenkins and TimothyHanson meant by leaving the waste around the guitar with tabs. It seems like a very good idea indeed.


You can also use that waste for dowel pin hole to locate when you flip the part.

Back first, then the front. Watch this: https://youtu.be/JgY4zP2LS5M

I watched it all. Wow! Very very interesting. I just learned a few strategies for my future CNC guitar making. Thanks for suggesting that video.


Be aware that “really long bit” is pretty much the same thing as “vast quantities of experimenting to get it right.” And the machine in that video can handle much larger tooling than an XCarve.

hi guys! i was a newly using vectric aspire… i dont know how to run to start cutting on my x-carve after i made my design and save my toolpaths. is there another software i have to use… cheers!


Wow! That was a cool video. Thanx for posting! :+1: