Roscoe/b3 Guitars is a high end guitar and bass manufacture located in Greensboro, NC that manufactures a variety of instruments that can range in price from $2,500 to well over $6,000. Guitar construction uses a wide variety of raw materials from various woods, shell materials, plastics to metal parts. The artistry that goes into making a guitar is amazing. CAD-CAM technology has been added into the process. And so, we wanted to interview Gene Baker as he uses BobCAD-CAM to help his company succeed.
Currently, in their shop they use a HAAS VF3SS-YT for all machining needs. Wood components are the majority of their machining in guitar construction. The process starts out as various sized wood billets that go onto the machine with one flat surface for vacuum clamping, then the machine surfaces the part for consistent thickness and ability to flip the part for face and rear machining purposes. Every wood guitar body requires machining the front and rear using two primary tooling pins that allow for accurate indexing. Sometimes bodies will get hollow chambers and other woods glued on top after chambering to create more acoustic resonant guitars or target lighter weight models. Guitar necks get far more complicated as there are often multiple gluing stages as a truss rod or graphite bars are inserted into the neck then a wood fretboard or headstock veneers glued in place to make a rather elaborate sandwich at times. Necks may go through 3 to 6 separate operations and often rotate into other surfacing planes for more intricate geometry and more complex tooling fixtures to put the part into the correct orientation.
“A few years ago I designed what’s known as a headless 8 string guitar I call the “Ring Master” series. It’s a more modern approach to guitar building and this model also incorporates what’s called “Fanned Frets” where there is actually two different scale lengths (string length) built into the model. Fanned Frets allow for the guitar to target a longer scale on the fat low note strings to replicate bigger bass note frequencies to a shorter scale length on the treble side for smaller string gauges in the average guitar realm of frequencies,” says Gene.
“So in my case I am using a 28 inch on the bass side and 26.5 on the treble side with the near right angle frets located in roughly the middle of the neck with the frets fanning on either side of the right angle region. This also creates a more ergonomic feel as your hand slides up and down the neck rather following a natural hand to finger positioning. The body shape and 3D features were 100% drawn within BobCAD-CAM where sometimes we use a 3D scanning company to capture more organic hand shaped features that can be very difficult and time consuming to draw. “So this model was my test to draw 100% of the model in BobCAD-CAM which if I can draw 100% of the part I find I have more control of the item verse utilizing a scanned file”, says Gene.
“I first started CAD training using AutoCAD 14 taking local college night classes and used it to start documenting my guitars for electrical schematics to creating all 2D guitar geometry so I could plot shapes and turn them into wood templates for more old school wood shop tools use with pin routers, shapers and router tables. Luckily all this prior AutoCAD work paid off as it gave me a good background in CAD software and I was able learn how to use BobCAD much faster and transfer all files to BobCAD to create machining files once I stepped up to CNC machining needs”, says Gene.
Gene has not needed any other CAD-CAM software since 1999 starting in BobCAD 15. “I think it was back then….. It came with the CNC machine I purchased at that point in time and I just stayed with it as I couldn’t afford MasterCAM or some of the other costly software packages out there that were marketed at much larger companies. I did get to mess with some other software when working with a different guitar manufacture which was Pro Engineer at the time and tested other software like Think 3”, says Gene.
By comparing various software’s, it gave them an appreciation for how much BobCAD could tackle, rather fast and simply at a fraction of these other software brands cost. Of course in guitars there is a lot of 3D details and that’s where BobCAD really helps them make and keep shapes accurate in repetition verse hand carving variables so the more they can detail 3D drawing the more they can accomplish saving a lot of hand labor and customers get what they are expecting. Also the CAM tree and fast ability to update geometry as details change keep their programming time as minimal as possible. Plus with the visual simulation aid, they can trouble shoot errors before they get to the machine, saving time in their prototyping prior to putting a model into production.
“I have used BobCAD-CAM almost every day since 1999 so I feel I know it extremely well. I look forward to every new level revision as there is always more options created to speed my programming to drawing needs, plus with so much tutorial videos online these days or in the software directly its really easy to better to see and understand a feature that you may have not used before. Surfaces and solids really sped up my abilities many years ago as well as drawing on different UCS planes to draw more complex parts then I was able in my earlier CAD days”, says Gene.
They do have AutoCAD and Rhino on another machine for use with a Microscribe but they have never touch them because they know BobCAD so well. “If I’m in a hurry EMS sends me a solid part file within a week that I can open a dxf file in BobCAD and get right to the nuts and bolts of cutting parts within the same day, extract or project 3D geometry to a surface plane which saves me a lot of time when dealing with sub contract work that we get into from time to time”, says Gene.
“Smaller startup companies will benefit from BobCAD-CAM immediately as that’s exactly where I was when I got into CAD-CAM, plus staying with BobCAD keeps its cost affordable, plus the mental thought of its user interface always stays rather similar as we move into the next level revision with added tricks to what’s new so I always keep BobCAD current and never skip a level which minimizes any learning curve. Service has always happened rather fast so you’re not down for any great period of time and all situations handled within the same day. Back in V20 I purchased the Instructional DVD’s which had a lot of instruction so I could home in on the exact info I needed to tackle plus BobART’s clip art files and the ability to insert photos into a drawing and create something very custom for a special project to a simple need like a hand signed signature for engraving. These days with all you have online or other users put on YouTube it makes things so easy for a newbie to get well acquainted with BobCAD’s abilities fast. Usually I find the software is only limited to ones imagination and figuring out how do I go about drawing what’s in my head and turn into a real part. It’s been my pleasure being a part of BobCAD’s evolution for so many years“, says Gene.
BobCAD-CAM has provided CAD-CAM CNC Software products to the global manufacturing industry for over 30 years. BobCAD-CAM software can be found to increase CNC productivity for many applications in aerospace, automotive, production manufacturing, mold making, general machining, woodworking as well as the medical manufacturing industry, consumer products, musical instruments, custom fabrication, defense industry and many others due to the products ability to automatically generate NC programming code for such a wide variety of CNC controllers. BobCAD-CAM software is also found in educational institutions throughout the world as well as independent hobby home use. Products include machining technology for 2, 3, 4 & 5 Axis CNC Milling, Routing, WaterJet, Plasma and Laser machines as well as 2 Axis CNC Lathe. BobCAD-CAM is modular allowing shops to start off at a reduced technology level and add technology as it is needed including add-ons for artistic machining and nesting sheet optimization. Unique technology includes adaptive high speed machining multiaxis milling and routing which is a first in the world of CAD-CAM software. BobCAD-CAM also provides a variety of quality training products that include regional and online training classes or private sessions tailored to specific applications. Professional certification and multi-tiered support solutions are available. Contact BobCAD-CAM directly for more information at 877-262-2231 or 727-442-3554.
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