I started out by drawing a violin on paper , working out the curve heights , plotting the lot on paper ,
Once i had my plans drawn it was time to start making moulds , the violin plate moulds started as block of plaster , that i routed out and fine carved to produce a "plug" , the 1st mould was taken off that , then fine finishing the top and bottom plate mould took about 1 month , and i still had a lot of fibreglass moulds to make , rib mould , neck mould , finger board mould, they all take time. ,
To have a Shop Bot would be a huge help with the mould making , change the shape slightly on the CAD drawings ,rerun CAM , and watch the Shop Bot produce its magic on HDPE ( only a dream )., using a Shop Bot to draw perf lines , and trim the carbon fibre , i wish i could afford one .
The first plates i made from carbon fibre were way to stiff , "tap tone's " told me it was better used as a brass bell than a violin , after producing about 10 violin plates i was getting into the ball park of tone , a combination of different materials , laid down in different thicknesses in different areas produced a violin front and back plate i was happy with .
I used the infusion method of carbon fibre making , were you lay all your layers up dry and vacuum bag it , once the vacuum is over 25hg (-12psi) you open the tap to the resin , and the vacuum pulls the resin into the carbon fibre fabric , the laying up of the rib mould took me 5 hours each side to get the fabric to sit in the right position , very fiddly ( pardon the pun) .
The gluing jig was made from MDF with 10mm cup heads sticking through , designed to allow side ways positioning of the rib and neck parts , and the holding down clamps for the top and bottom , the centre part of the jig was removed to glue the top on, with the 4 hour set time of the resin ,its important to keep it all firmly heard in position.
The cutting and shaping of the f holes is another reason they call them fiddles , carbon fibre is a bugger to cut , found that if you submerge the carbon fibre in water and use a Flexi Drive bit holder on a Dremmel, it keeps every thing cold , and produces no dust , just ware a rain coat
After a final coat of clear and a polish it was ready to string up and hand over too some who who could play it , ive had grate feed back and a few offers for this violin and at the moment are remoulding for violin 2 ,working on the 2nd set of plans now ,drawing them up on a low budget Cad , AutoCAD would be a big leap for me and used with a Shop Bot would speed up design changes 100 fold , and allow me to produce Cello's and Violas .
All up it took me 10 months of Sundays , from the time i decided to start to finished product , i had never made a violin before , and my carbon fibre skills were below basic , it was a huge learning curve but between the info on the net and getting your hands dirty and " givin it a go" , anything is possible
Dont forget to vote for this ,
by Ken Van Laatum