Part 3: Manufacturing The Middle Section
Previously, I wrote about the design of the Thor’s middle section. This time, we’ll look at how the middle section is manufactured. As mentioned in the previous post, I decided not to use a CNC machine. At least not this time. We don’t use much wood anyway, and the wooden parts are quite simple (well, except for the neck, which we’ll discuss later…); carbon fiber is used to mold the parts with more intricate contours.
For the time being, we’ll stick with the router, some simple jigs and laser-cut acrylic templates:
As I mentioned in my previous post, it is critical to have an accurate template for the body shape that precisely matches the molded carbon fiber back. I took my time, reverse engineering our original carbon fiber mold. That took two tries to nail that down. Following that, everything is pretty straightforward.
It all begins with, 25mm (1 inch), thick 3-piece, Ash blanks, precut to minimize routing:
I don’t know, routing and drilling gives me a lot of satisfaction. Something about seeing wood cut cleanly by sharp router bits that I find really enjoyable.
After routing the shape and before routing the neck pocket:
The outer body frame is laminated with two layers of carbon fiber after the neck pocket is routed. Magnets are firmly embedded in the wood. These are used to fasten the bottom carbon-fiber cover.
Close inspection reveals the routed groove for the bottom cover (picture below). A 6mm x 40mm slot is also routed for the aluminum jack plate, where the multi-pin cable will be mounted.
The top body curvature is then shaped. The top has a constant curvature of 717mm, inherited from the Alpha guitar’s design. To shape the top, we use a curvature shaping jig (see video below).
The end result is this slick middle section:
Next time, we’ll wrap up with the body, but first we’ll look at some of the finer details, such as the aluminum jack plate. Maybe I’ll tell you about a major blunder we made along the way and how we dealt with it, quite elegantly, I might say. Then, we’ll move on to manufacturing the neck.