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Chipcaster build

A friend of mine works at a custom molding shop, and they had an order for some 97" mahogany pieces. They had to order 10’ boards so they were left with a bunch of 23" cutoffs, all 5" wide and 5/4. The pallet the wood came on was also secured using even more mahogany ~40x8" and 5/4. Lots of perfectly good mahogany that was bound for the WOOD CHIPPER! He snagged them from the pile and gave them to me so I thought it would be perfect to start a thinline build I’m calling the Chipcaster due to the woods near dismemberment. This is my first electric build, and so far it has been a breeze compared to the acoustics I’ve built.

At any rate… I’ll be sharing the Easel project and SVG source files once I get a little further down the road.

Here’s the original idea:

The boards I used for the body: 5x23" 5/4, ripped to 1.5 inches and edge glued.

The glue up was 13.25" wide, which is too big for my planer! I used some side clamps to plane both sides on the xcarve just like leveling the wasteboard.

Pockets cut!

Next I ripped two of the boards into 0.3" pieces and planed them down to 1/4". Lots of waste here as I don’t have a bandsaw, so I had a 1/8" kerf :frowning: I also don’t have a jointer so I used my Dewalt 611 and a flush cut bit to joint the boards. This actually worked really well. The glue joint is great. I edge glued these pieces using tape just like I would for an acoustic top.

After gluing the top, I cut the pickup pockets, “f hole”, and drilled my bridge pilot holes. I ran into an issue where my drawing was off 1/16" from my bridge (Fender MIM standard). Gah… so I had to fill the holes with end grain saw dust and some titebond. At least it’s under the bridge! The top has not been sanded yet so that’s why you can see glue.

I’m going to try cutting the binding channel with the x-carve using an outside path. My binding will arrive tomorrow, so I’ll run a test piece and see how it fits before cutting the body profile. To be continued…


Your body looks nice. I just made a 1pc tele neck yesterday and today. I drew the parts in Rhino and used the UGS for controlling the X controller. I spent lots of time watching it work. It came out OK but I have to make some changes to a couple things. I made it do a pencil cleanup which was a mistake as I didn’t change the bit size. That kind of messed it up early on. The 7.25 radius fretboard surface is really flat though. I’ll do another when I feel like sitting for a couple hours…:-).

What CAM program do you use with Rhino?

I used Meshcam for the back carve, peghead thicknessing, and fretboard surface. I used Cambam for the perimeter cut, dot holes, peghead holes, fret locations, fretboard taper, and truss rod rout. I made a ramp for drilling the 3 degree plug hole just by writing the code. There were a lot of bit changes so I used x0y0 as home and put the centerline on X10,Y0 and rehomed after each tool change. Just changing bits, the Z axis sometimes moves, so that takes care of it.

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Do you have the X-controller? If so, do you have torque reduction turned off?

I do have the x controller. I never heard of the torque reduction item. I’ve only had this thing running for a month or so. I just set it up per the instructions.

On the control board there are some DIP switches that set the micro-stepping rate and torque reduction feature.

DIP switch 4 is the torque reduction selector - turn it off. It is on by default. That will cause your stepper motors to hold with max torque which helps keep the axis solidly in place.

You also need to check the grbl parameters to make sure that they are set right for maximum holding power. ($1=255).

Thanks I’ll check it out. That would be a positive improvement.

Your neck looks great! I’m just about to make my first 3d carve on the x-carve, which is a 9.5" radius block. I’d love to get to the point you’re at. There’s not enough time in the day to really dive deep in F360 right now!

Thanks. I have a LOT of time into this stuff at this point. Being self taught, there’s a lot of trial and error. I bet half the stuff could be done more easily if I actually had been through a Rhino class.

Progress! String ferrule pockets have been routed, the binding channel and profile are all done, and I put a 1/8” round over on the back.

I did have something wrong with my toolpath. My neck pocket had 1/16th material remaining on the top and right sides. It’s not a big deal though. Chiseled it away and only the whole Internet and me will know :smiley:


Impressive! Keep going…

It turns out the material that was left around the neck pocket was not a measurement issue. It was simply the order in which I cut the neck pocket. Had I cut the pocket after the binding channel it would have been fine.

I’ve got the binding almost on. It’s fighting me around the horn. 10mm x 1.5mm cellulose is pretty hard even with heat.

Aaand as promised here are the source files for the body:
Easel Project:

SVG Files:
body_cut_1_chambers body_cut_2_pockets body_cut_3_f_hole body_cut_5_string_ferrules body_cut_4_bridge_pilot_holes body_cut_6_outline pickguard fretboard_cut_2_profile neck_cut_1_truss_pocket_neck_pilot_holes fretboard_cut_1_fret_slots_and_dots neck_cut_2_profile_tuner_holes


Progress! Binding, stain, finish, and some hardware is done.

Pickguard is next and then on to the neck!


With all that mahogany going in there you should have considered some p90’s or humbuckers ;-).

I love single coils. I don’t use a lot of overdrive and play rhythm rather percussive, so single coils are a good fit.

In regards to your binding, I know a guy who cut a slot in a plywood board, the width and thickness of the binding, of the instrument profile. He puts the binding in it then heats and cools it to set the memory of the binding before installation. I believe he uses an oven to heat it. Great looking project.

I do binding blocks for all of my bound builds using cheap bamboo cutting boards from my local dollar store. I cut the channels of the binding, press in the binding material while heating the curves with a heat gun (carefully!), then let it cool into the desired shape. If a model of guitar has different widths of binding as an option, I make a new board for each binding width.


Hello, great build! I was looking at your files, and was wondering why some of the carves were oriented sideways or upside down, while the rest were all in an ‘upright’ position?

great information, and an awesome build!