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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2021 7:51 am 
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First name: Tom
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There are several techniques for cutting shell, from choice of bits to holdfast and zeroing. For those of us
using CNC I would like to hear your thought on your various techniques.
My biggest issue is how and where to set the zero when using irregular shape shell blanks.
Thanks,
Tom Armstrong


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2021 1:18 pm 
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Koa
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I'm sure there are better ways, but I glue my shell blanks to a scrap of MDF with Titebond, that I then hold it to the machine with vacuum. I take a sharpie and mark a dot in the approximate middle of each blank, and move the blank around until it is situated at my X0 Y0 location on the machine. Finally, I set my Z0 with a touch plate sitting on top of the shell. When I'm done, the MDF goes into a bucket of water and the shell comes loose.

I match up the reflective angle on all of the pieces of shell I'm going to use so that they all reflect the same direction, and I don't end up getting one position marker, for instance, that goes dark when all the others go bright. I mark the top of each piece of shell before cutting. Before I soak the MDF, I mark the top of each individual inlay.

I've attached a picture of how I normally do fingerboard markers. I nested them in VCarve Pro, and then try to situate the pearl to get as many inlays as I can out of the piece. As you can see, there are plenty of partial inlays , but I get enough complete ones that it's not a big deal. Odd shaped blanks present some issues.

Dave


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These users thanked the author ballbanjos for the post (total 2): Skarsaune (Tue Jul 06, 2021 11:01 am) • Gasawdust (Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:26 am)
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2021 9:46 pm 
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Dave, thanks for sharing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:30 am 
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Thanks Dave. Similar to what I do when multiple pieces of the same shape and size is requires. My biggest issue is “one off” shapes and sizes that are “tight” fits for the shell available.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 10:26 am 
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Gasawdust wrote:
Thanks Dave. Similar to what I do when multiple pieces of the same shape and size is requires. My biggest issue is “one off” shapes and sizes that are “tight” fits for the shell available.


I still like cutting pearl by hand, so I don't use the CNC for one offs typically. But one thing that I have done in the past for bigger inlays is to cut the shape of the inlay into the spoil board I'll be using without having the pearl in place yet. Then I can glue the piece of pearl to the spoil board (without moving the spoil board on the CNC table) to a position where the outline is no longer visible. That has worked fine for me on more complex shapes, but shapes that I will use more than once.

Dave


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:40 pm 
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That’s a good tip Dave. I’ll bookmark it for future reference.
Tom


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2021 8:43 am 
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I measure and mark one edge, hold the shell blank up to my monitor and simply trace around the piece. I typically use the upper left corner as my zero. I prefer medium CA to glue the shell to a piece of 1x. It needs to be long enough to clamp to my t-slot table, typically 18” or so. Once I’ve cut the part, I will use a sharpie to mark which way is up. I then take the piece of 1x to the bandsaw and cut the shell free, leaving a 1/16” or so of wood. I head upstairs, drop the piece in a pan and boil for a couple minutes. The CA will remain on the wood and leaves zero residue on the shell.

I take the time to do it this way because I want my fret-markers to come from the same piece and to have the same chatoyance.

Cheers, M


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:21 am 
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Took me a while to wrap my head around this but I like it. Didn’t know CA would release in boiling water.
Thanks,
Tom


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:57 am 
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Gasawdust wrote:
Didn’t know CA would release in boiling water.
Thanks,
Tom


Me either until I tried it.

I use Satellite City CA. Not sure if other products will behave similarly.

Best, M


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2021 6:53 pm 
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Michaeldc wrote:
I take the time to do it this way because I want my fret-markers to come from the same piece and to have the same chatoyance.

Cheers, M


Clearly worth the time to get the chatoyance the same on all of the inlays. A banjo building friend of mine, Kevin Enoch, did a fantastic Alice in Wonderland themed banjo a few years back. Different characters at each fret marker and in the peghead. Kevin is a great builder, inlay artist and engraver. He did the Cheshire Cat at the fifth fret out of black MOP with a white MOP face. By taking advantage of the chatoyance angles, he was able to make the cat disappear except for his grin into the ebony fingerboard when turning the fingerboard just so to the light. Told me that he had to go through a lot of pieces of black MOP to get just the right one. One of the best inlays I ever saw. Kevin first taught me how to engrave pearl, and I later followed up learning from Grit Laskin. I hope to some day get up to their level, but I'm getting old...

Kevin used/uses a lot of sea snail for inlays, as have several other great banjo makers. The chatoyance of that stuff is simply incredible.

Dave



These users thanked the author ballbanjos for the post: Michaeldc (Tue Jul 06, 2021 8:43 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2021 8:27 am 
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ballbanjos wrote:
Michaeldc wrote:
I take the time to do it this way because I want my fret-markers to come from the same piece and to have the same chatoyance.

Cheers, M


Clearly worth the time to get the chatoyance the same on all of the inlays. A banjo building friend of mine, Kevin Enoch, did a fantastic Alice in Wonderland themed banjo a few years back. Different characters at each fret marker and in the peghead. Kevin is a great builder, inlay artist and engraver. He did the Cheshire Cat at the fifth fret out of black MOP with a white MOP face. By taking advantage of the chatoyance angles, he was able to make the cat disappear except for his grin into the ebony fingerboard when turning the fingerboard just so to the light. Told me that he had to go through a lot of pieces of black MOP to get just the right one. One of the best inlays I ever saw. Kevin first taught me how to engrave pearl, and I later followed up learning from Grit Laskin. I hope to some day get up to their level, but I'm getting old...

Kevin used/uses a lot of sea snail for inlays, as have several other great banjo makers. The chatoyance of that stuff is simply incredible.

Dave


The inlay sounds amazing! Would love to see it -


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:50 pm 
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I have a picture of it somewhere--I just can't find it. The only picture of that banjo I can find on the Internet is the peghead, with the White Rabbit inlayed in it. Another very nice inlay...

If I can ever lay my hand on the picture, I'll post it.


Dave


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2021 7:10 am 
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ballbanjos wrote:
I have a picture of it somewhere--I just can't find it. The only picture of that banjo I can find on the Internet is the peghead, with the White Rabbit inlayed in it. Another very nice inlay...

If I can ever lay my hand on the picture, I'll post it.


Dave


Went out on Pinterest and found the headstock, incredible work!

M


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2021 10:15 am 
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For holding down....two sided tape.

For cutting?

Start by creating three successively deeper chamfer cuts WITH A SMALL BALL nosed mill. These aren't actually making chamfers....you'll be setting it ONLY to define the edge/corner. This will remove material that would otherwise chip out of you started by attacking the edges with a square mill.

Get this....normally a machinist will try to cut a chamfer only after the profile edges are cut. If you do the chamfer (again not a real chamfer - but rather - a chamfer type cut with zero chamfer occurring - but rather - only edge defining) kiss cut that defines the edge FIRST....there's no material to grab and chip in the during profile/contour cut.... it's already gone.

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