First post, but I’ve been lurking for a long time now. I wasn’t sure if this was the right forum for this post, but it seemed right.
I’m a computer programmer by trade, but I’ve played guitar for 30 years and in thinking about my retirement, I would love to do something with my time that I would consider rewarding. I decided it would be fun to make my own guitars in my old age, and so I began researching various schools which taught the trade, and one school offered a course that taught the students how to use a CNC router to carve out necks, bodies and fret boards, etc. Intrigued, I began to look into this “CNC” stuff - and in short time, I decided that this was something I really wanted to play around with.
So I began looking at various DIY CNC kits on ebay, which made me wonder about quality, which caused me to start researching which would be the best bang-for-the-buck, which let me to several forums, of which this is my favorite.
I’ve been reading here (daily) for weeks now, but today I had a question that I couldn’t find an answer for in the forums (at least not anywhere I was looking): Has anyone used their CNC to dress frets?
I understand that typical fret wire is harder than Aluminium or Brass, but not by much, and I’ve watched many videos already where people have stiffened their X-Carve, and used them to cut steel plate, etc. I’m thinking that a sufficiently “stiff” X-Carve, set up properly, would have no real issues (once it’s set up) doing fret work.
I mean, isn’t a Plek machine just a proprietary CNC router?
So I started looking to see who, if anyone has tried this yet. But I couldn’t find anything like that. Hence the post.
Plek machines are crazy expensive, but I’m guessing that has more to do with how they combine and automate a whole bunch of steps in the process, than how powerful or precise their router is. It seems to me (a know-nothin’-newbie without any CNC or Luthier chops) that a skilled Luthier with a sufficiently stiffened X-Carve, who is proficient with his mill, could do something like this in his shop.
So I thought I would put the question to people who can actually answer it. Is that even doable, or is it too daunting, or unfathomable? I don’t know enough about the ground floor stuff to even guess, but I do think that anyone capable of carving a compound radius neck from scratch could probably least dress frets and what not in the same way a Plek machine does given the right set up.
What do you people think? I’m guessing the cost of trial and error would be detrimental at first, but that once the kinks are worked out, it could have some pretty great dividends down the road.
Thanks for your consideration.