Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Twomblecaster - Test Drive

Chris Detrick, a teacher from the Music Department here at MA, stopped by to check out the Twomblecaster and put it through is paces. He showed me how to correct some issues with the intonation and the setup, and then he let go with an awesome little demo.

Now you can listen to Twomblecaster, too. Chris is an amazing musician, and a much loved teacher; getting his "okay" is a real personal triumph (thanks Chris!).

Friday, April 13, 2018

Twomblecaster - Finishing Touches

Almost done. Time to put on some strings. First, need to add the ferrules; small bushings on the back of the guitar body that hold the end-balls of the strings. They are a friction fit. Then string the two E-strings to check the alignment of the bridge and fretboard.


Once all the strings are on, install the string trees; small guides near the tuning machines that keep the  strings down in the grooves of the nut (at the top of the fretboard).


Once all the assembly is done, we have to tune to pitch and then adjust the intonation and the string action (the height above the fretboard). There are a bunch of handy apps to help with this.


As I cleaned out my office to make room for the guitar and amp, I saw that out photographer had left a backdrop in one of our storage spaces, so took the opportunity to take some beauty shots.





Really happy with the results, though I'm still sorry I caught the thing on fire. The drippy, melty look I was trying to capture was kind of cancelled out by the amazing grain of the wood moving in the opposite direction; also surprised by the two halves of the body taking the artwork in very different ways. Will have to have it checked by someone who knows how to play, but the action seems good, and there's no fret buzz.

Big thanks to Sachi for all her help with the Design Lab tools, and to Jon for the big push and all the tung oil.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Twomblecaster - Assemble!

All done oiling and setting things up; time to put things together. The finish did turn out quite nicely; a fairly consistent sheen, but not a shine. And the wood grain really pops. The grain is so strong, it almost outshines the artwork, but a different angles, the artwork really looks great.


A bit tricky to fit the pick guard, as I had to compensate for the level-change from the cut-in image; I used some small washer to keep the plastic from warping too much. I had to run the ground wire underneath the bridge plate, and then solder the output jack before adding those parts.


Finally, bolted on the neck, which seemed to fit rather perfectly. The two tones from the wood, and the skunk stripe on the back add some additional drama.


Here are some detail shots showing the shine from the chrome pickups, bridge, and strap buttons against the grainy body. Should look even better with the strings. That's next.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Twomblecaster - My Friend the Drill Press

Today I got to know the drill press in the Design Lab, setting up the pilot holes for the neck and the tuners.


Also applied another coat of tung oil, which is really starting to give the body some sheen.


I also found I had to make a kind of notch in the pick guard to accommodate the bridge; after pegging the string holes and aligning the bridge, the edge of the piece ended up on the bevel of the guard. So I used the drill press almost like a routing table (we don't yet have a routing or milling station), some sanding, and hopefully the edge will look clean.


Friday, April 6, 2018

Twomblecaster - Fendart Thinline

Back to the laser-cutter, and the head-stock is done. The real trick was aligning the text at an angle on a curvy shape, while the rest of the neck just barely fit on the cutting bed - but it's darn near perfect in terms of the planned placement, and also for the quality and the look of the cut. Super happy.

One of the tricks was using the painters tape to back off the area and reduce the scorching. But it was a bit nerve-wracking watching the cutter head zipping around thinking that it was just burning off the tape; the maple just didn't get that carbon look like the basswood.



Speaking of the basswood, the oiling continues and the warm tone of the wood is really starting to come through. I'm really sorry now I know, that I did not take more and better precautions with the masking; it stings a bit each time I pick up the body as I apply the oil, as my fingers get stained from the charcoal.

No ronsonol and match, but I torched my axe just like Jimi; just I used a laser-cutter.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Twomblecaster - Time to Start Oiling!


Oh yeah. The tung oil really honeys-up the look of the wood; really makes the grain pop. Strange that the two halves are showing very different color. Love the way the small letters on the back look real sharp.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Twomblecaster - Laser-cutter 1, Guitar 0

So the process is not complicated, but it is a bit fussy. Place your graphic file into Illustrator and trace the image at high resolution. It is necessary to size the image in Illustrator before sending it to the laser-cutter interface.

Once properly sized, just match the registration of the image in the software to the piece to be cut in the cutter bed. I just used a centerline, using the part-seam of the guitar body, to align the image. Interesting that one side of the body cut very differnet from the other, but the image was clean.


I tried to use corrugated to protect the pocket surfaces -- but it caught fire! So, I seriously scorched the inside of the guitar. Luckily, that will be covered by the pickguard and the electronics.