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Making a Radius Dish

I recently purchased a CNC machine from Laguna Tools to introduce a certain level of precision and repeatability to my building. Going down this path presents some conflicts and challenges. One of the attractions to lutherie for me is being able to work with my hands; that tactile feeling of being in touch with the materials with which I work, albeit through various hand tools is very appealing. However, the need to be able to work precisely and repeatably with my hands is often diametrically opposed to the concept of working quickly, hence the decision to incorporate CNC technology into the mix where appropriate.

As I had absolutely no experience with CAD/CAM or CNC technology, I started from square one, learning the basic principles of all three disciplines. Luckily, I had a lot of hands-on experience with PC’s  and a number of graphics applications so I was able to jump right in without feeling totally lost.

Some of the first projects I worked on were jigs and fixtures, as it made sense to get some of those out of the way. One of the projects was making my own sanding disks. It was fairly easy to model the dish in Rhino 3D, create the G-Code in Rhino-CAM, and run the job in my Laguna IQ HHC. The job ran the first time around without any hiccups. There was one minor issue at the very end with the tool exit. The loud screech you hear is the tool cutting the entire thickness of the MDF. It should have made a gradual exit to put less stress on the tool. I programmed it to do so but apparently forgot to post the change so it was not included in the code I ran.

This particular video was created with my iPhone. Please excuse all of the ambient shop noise and marginal quality. You’ll notice me working on one of my Lacotes while the job is running. Need I say any more as far as time savings?

I’ve got a fair amount of Video in the can that I need to edit and compile. Hopefully, I’ll get to some if it in March if all goes well and publish it shortly thereafter.