Fretboard radius

Does anyone know how to go about getting a radius on a board, perhaps a compound radius?

I didn’t realize that was. Thanks for the info. Now to learn yet another program. :slight_smile:


It shouldn’t be too hard to create the radius in Fusion. If you have any troubles, I’m sure you can find some quality help here on the forum!

When you say compound radius are you wanting a tighter radius a the nut and a more relaxed at the bottom of the fret board? or just a constant radius through the entire board?

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I have no clue how to accomplish this in Fusion. It would be great to have it explained.

A compound radius is more round at the nut and more flat at the heel. So, 12" radius at the nut and 16" at the heel, for example. I’ve seen it done using other programs, but there was 3 different ones involved to make just one fretboard… 4 including Easel. I’d like to use just one, export and carve.

Here is a quick example on how to model the fret bard with a compound curve. Note that I was just picking random dimensions to get the point across.

I’m not the most versed in Fusion, but I’ve been using Inventor for about 10 years, so this might not be the easiest/correct way to do it in Fusion, but it gets the job done.

Once you get it all modeled in Fusion, you can generate the toolpaths and export them and then use Easel or UGS to carve it. I don’t think there is going to be an all in one solution out there, you are going to have to use at least 2 pieces of software.

Hope that helps!

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Now that is very cool. Thanks, Rusty!!

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No problem, also, I showed the fret board at a taper, you could just model it as a rectangle and then cut it to size once it’s been shaped. I would probably go that route (ha, puns), might be a better process.

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It’s usually best to leave it square when doing this kind of radius I think. The fret slots will already be cut so there will likely be chips on the sides of the board. Then cut it to fit the neck, glue it on and flush trim it… This should definitely help a lot. Thanks again.

And now I’m lost. :sunglasses: I have it modeled and I’m not sure how to set toolpaths. Will Easel do this or does have to be done in 360 first?

Ya, you’ll have to set up the tool paths in Fusion and then you can export it and import it into Easel or UGS. I think Easel g-code import is still early access, but you can ask for access on the forum on the thread about the importer.

It’s a bit intimidating at first, but like @PhilJohnson said check out some tutorials (the derby card is actally on the forum here with a discussion about it), make sure you use the X-Carve post processor and just take you time!


Thanks, that’s helped a lot. I wasn’t too far off the mark, so maybe there’s hope for actully learning it. :grin:

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Hey David, were you able to get your radius figured out?

I haven’t been able to do it with the x-carve. It may be easier just building a jig to do it with.

I haven’t actually run the fretboards just yet, but the entire reason why I bought my X-Carve was for custom guitar construction. As for the fretboard radius, I modeled up 25.5" scale 10"-16" compound radii fretboards in Solidworks using the loft command by modeling up the nut profile at a 10" then offsetting the final profile at the 22nd fret to a 16" radius. The loft will automatically compound the radii and interpolate from the 10" to 16" just make sure you go in knowing what scale fretboard you want (obviously) so you know the precise distance from nut to heel as well as fret position per scale.

If you need any help, let me know. A large majority of my initial startup for the guitars has been accurately 3D modeling components so I can cost save and make everything from raw blocks rather than purchase anything precut.

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And actually… if you don’t have a 3D CNC software to generate the G-code for Easel, one thing I was going to play around with that you also might be able to do is to run the trapezoid shape and fret slots on the X-Carve (use like a .024" bit on those), then use the X-Carve to cut a bunch of increasing radii blocks that you can use as sanding blocks to achieve the radii along the fretboard (if you can picture what I’m saying). As in, cut a 10", 11", 12" etc. block then spray glue / line the concave cut block with sandpaper.

Just little tips from a fellow guitar builder…:grimacing:

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I’d certainly appreciate all the tips I can get. :grinning: The only software I have is Easel and Fusion 360. I was able to design a 12-16 compound radius board in 360 from Rusty’s link, but kind of got stuck at the point. I’m not sure if I’m as worried about the fretboard now as I am just neck and body shapes with the machine. Then I’m not sure which bits to use for them. It doesn’t look like the 2 that came with the x-carve will do the job. Then the problem I have is finding the proper files to use and which software other than Easel. You mentioned Solidworks, but that looks like it is a bit beyond my budget at this point.

I do have radius blocks, but those don’t seem very useful for compound boards.