DIY Guitar With My Diy Cnc Router




Introduction: DIY Guitar With My Diy Cnc Router

Hi, this is my second "big" instructable. It's a project that ... for the moment has taken me over 40 hours.

I'm building a guitar body from cherrywood and Ipé wood using my cnc router to route the contour and the pockets.

I will update the instructable in a few days, when i'll be done with the finishing.

Step 1: Having the Idea, Drawing the 3d Model.

I took the measurement from a gibson on the internet. I had to find how big is a "standard" guitar, so I draw a rectangle frame : 13.250" X 17.375" 

Then, I made a drawing that looks like a gibson, but all by my own so it's not exactly the same size. And I made the carved top.

Step 2: Programming the Routing

It took me like a day to program the routing with the software. After I exported it to Mach3 on my cnc machine. for the video.

Step 3: Preparing the Rough Stock for the Guitar !

1 step : Determining the size of the stock
2. Choosing the wood - I chose cherrywood because I had that wood at home, and I have found Ipé at the store which has a nice dark color.

3. Planing the wood and glue with carpenter glue.
4. Letting it dry for a day.

Step 4: Routing the Guitar !

This is the part where ... I can't tell anything else than : look at the video :P

Step 5: Drilling the Holes for the Neck

I have found a epiphone lespaul special II for sale, not too expensive. So i'm gonna take the hardware from it, and the neck.

On the picture you can see that it's important that the neck is perfectly aligned.

Step 6: The Fun Part ... Sanding !!

I had to carve the guitar with wood carving tools.

I now .. i'm sanding with 80 grit paper, 120, 180, 220 and I will put some color on it.

Step 7: Adding Some Color =)

This is the big day :P Applying the 50% Chocolate, 50% Strawberry recepie.

I used the sponge technique, as it goes pretty well. It's a water based dye called Saman, i think it's a Canadian product. You can mix any color you want to get the desired tone.

After 2 days, spraying KTM-9 from
I made some mistakes, at first I had orange peel on the guitar ( not enoug gun pressure ). And at the end, I had some spot with too much stuff.
So, I'll let it cure for about a  week and I will start the sanding process :)

Step 8: Make It Gloss

I'm using saman hybrid varhish. I hope that it will do the job.

I am currently doing some tests with different kind of varnish/lacquer.

Those pictures were taken at the 6th layer of varnish. Still 10 to go ... minimum :P

After the 6th layer, I decides to level everything, using 320 grit paper. I sanded it down until it looked like a single surface.

BE CAREFUL not to sand too much , and use a sanding block !!!
( I had to make some touch up ).

To avoid this, you could wait for the 10th layer before leveling. That's the disadvantage to put varnish with a brush, since I don't have an hvlp gun.

OK, I changed my mind. Putting the varnish with a brush is a pain in the a**. This never level as you wish, so I decided after ... 10 - 12 layers to sand it down to a perfect evel and wait for my order from I ordered the KTM-9 water-based varnish.
It is compatible with standart 45psi paint gun, and you can apply 1 layer per hour without sanding between them.

I'll give you the feedback when I'll get the product !!


I bought 500, 600, 800, 1200 sanding papers.

So i have sanded the guitar until I got to 1200 grit and don't see any more scratches.

After, I used a buffing wheel and the turtle wax rubbing compound ( othe orange one )

The next stepo was the Polising compound from Turtle wax ( the white one )

And the for the final, I used turtle wax, car wax ( the green stuff ). DONT TRY ANY LIQUID WAX, I have tried Mothers and Meguiare nano wax, and it kinda melt with the varnish and screw evething up, so BE CAREFUL.

Step 9: Fhe Final Touch

After ... lots of sanding, I decided  to put all the part together and start the assembly.
The body is not as shiny as I expected :( but considering it's my first guitar, it's okay.
Maybe later when I will be in a good mood, I'm gonna disassemble it and try something else.

So, I have polished all the shiny parts ( the pickups )

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    6 years ago

    For those who want to build a lguitar like this, don't forget to carve the back of the guitar. When I play on a chair, the edge of the guitar is hurting my ribcage and this is very annoying. So ... just a tip for those who want to build something similar.

    The Asian in yourC
    The Asian in yourC

    6 years ago on Step 4

    I'm planning on making a guitar on the CNC in my woodshop class with a friend, but I don't have any dimensions or plans to use despite scouring the internet. Do you have any advice for me to make it?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi!Can you tell me what program do you use to make the routing and the 3d model.and more info how did you draw

    those things.

    P.S :your work is great



    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, I made the guitar using Catia V5, its quite a complex software but everyone at school were using it so it was easy to get some help.

    Making solid body is easy, but I used the surface editor to make curves on the body ( the carved part ). And I used the same software to program the routing. Its one of my longest cnc program for now.