This is the fretboard I made for my carbon fiber acoustic guitar project, part of a special event at Techshop. The fretboard is ebony inlaid with maple, and it was cut on the ShopBot CNC machine at Techshop. The swirls are placed where fret markers would normally be placed. The first picture is the finished inlay, and the second picture is the cut pieces, ready to be glued together. I kept the design simple this time, as it was my first time trying to do inlay - but I plan to play with it more in the future.

The method used to create the inlay comes as a standard feature with Vectric V-Carve Pro CAM software. I'll show here how I applied the method to make my inlay, but for an even more detailed step by step description, see this article on the Vectric site.

In the last picture, you can also see another inlay over the first - the name of the guitar "WindSong" - which is inlaid using another method DESCRIBED HERE.


Before I get started, I want to say that I am NOT an expert luthier (stringed instrument maker). I tried my best to do my own research and follow the plans for my guitar design, but only time will tell if I was successful. If you choose to make your own guitar, please do your own research using professional guides. There are several amateur luthier communities online, as well as good books. I personally used Build Your Own Acoustic Guitar - by Jonathan Kinkead, found at my local library.

Step 1: Tools and materials

Tools & Software used

  • ShopBot Buddy CNC machine
    • 3/8", 90* V-bit
    • 1/4" end mill
  • Drill, with #8 countersink bit
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Vectric V-Carve Pro

Materials used

  • Ebony (Massacre) fretboard blank - ordered from Luthiers Mercantile International
  • Maple wood, the same size as the fretboard
  • #8 Brass screws - used to hold the inlay blank in place during cutting
  • Double stick tape - used to hold the fretboard during cutting
<p>ShopBot CNC is a great tool. Have you tried using laser? I do wish I own a </p><p>ShopBot CNC. I wonder if you can cut thin veneer (1/40 inch) using this CNC?</p>
Well done! Do you have more photos of the finished guitar? Maybe a video so that we can see and hear you play it?? Thanks for sharing this great Instructable!
Thank you!<br><br>I've meant to upload a video for a while, I will sometime soon. It does have one shortcoming though - I made the neck way too thick,as i didn't account for the total thickness of the CF neck and fret board. This makes it hard on the hands when playing for extended periods. At some point I will either do surgery to the neck or try my hand at a second version.
That's amazing. I have always wanted to build my own custom guitar, and its awesome that you did. Especially the fact that its acoustic. Great job man!

About This Instructable


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Bio: I'm a long time tinkerer and lover of Instructables, but recently I joined Techshop in San Francisco, and decided to really get creative. Right ... More »
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