Page 5 of 8

   Much of the CNC work is done on wooden parts held by vacuum. Each of these vacuum chucks is custom made for just one purpose.
   Another index hole.
   Routing the channel for the truss rod.
   A neck blank showing the truss rod channels.
   The peghead veneer gluing station.
   All clamped up.
   The adjustable truss rod has a heavy slug at the end opposite the adjusting nut
   It's a fixed anchor mounted at the peghead end of the neck, near the nut.
   On top of the truss rod, a filler strip is glued to keep it in place near the back of the neck.
  Those other two channels get filled with epoxy.
   And into each channel are inserted strips of spring steel. Mounted on edge, these steel strips add a good deal of rigidity to the neck.
   The long brass adjusting nut sticks into the body for easy access through the soundhole.
    More CNC.
   A rounded end mill carves the neck and heel profile.
   Leveling the back of the peghead and forming the "diamond."
  Automatically, changing heads, the machine trims the end of the peghead.
   Another tool change and tuner holes are drilled.
   Some finish cuts on a slotted peghead for a 12-fret model.
   The nut slot is cut with the same precision as the nut itself for a perfect fit.
   Look at the final product from the CNC.
  All this CNC machining does not save much time. In fact, I suspect it would be somewhat faster to make guitars without as much CNC tooling. Collings uses the tooling, not to increase speed, but to increase precision.
   The CNC is the perfect tool for making fingerboards. Fret slots are cut to precise tolerances
   The machine automatically changes tools and trims the ends of the boards.
  Changing to a straight cutter, the side profile is trimmed
    And again, routing the cavities for inlay position markers.
  A final leveling cut.
   Held up against this fence, the fingerboard holder indexes on the little rod at the bottom
   The fingerboard edge is drilled for the side position markers.
   Tape protects the fingerboard from excessive glue squeeze out.
   Fingerboards are glued on with epoxy to avoid having any distortion by water absorbed from glue.
   Fingerboards are clamped against a rigid and flat caul.
   Here's some real precision applied to the problem of complex plastic binding. Laminated ivoroid binding strips are bent and held in these phenolic holders, which are swished through a bath of hot sand, making the strips conform to the curved shapes.
  Once cool, the strips are taken from those heated holders and placed into CNC forms, where the ends are trimmed precisely.
   Then, both the peghead overlay (previously itself cut on CNC) and the binding are glued up in yet another CNC milled form
   Here, everything snaps precisely into place and is held as the glue dries, forming the neatest possible joints.
   The flat fingerboard gets its radius established on this special belt sander.
   There's a vacuum chuck to hold the overhanging end of the fingerboard.
   The nut slot fits precisely onto this end of the holder.
   At the back edge, there are a couple of adjustable supports to keep the shaft of the neck from deflecting during the sanding operation.
  Now, the entire business is pressed against the running sanding belt.


Back to Index Page