What are the tolerances to expect? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Default What are the tolerances to expect?

Hello,

Iím a bagpipe maker researching CNC routers. Using both for the typical CNC set up and also using a 4 axis set up. Iíve got a fair bit of 3D modeling experience under my belt, so Iím not afraid of that part at all, but Iím wondering what sort of tolerances I can expect?

For a machine, I only need something smaller. For example, something like the smallest Avid Pro, or the Shopsabre 23. (Though I havenít ruled out building my own machine). When something is produced using a machine, how close to the 3D model do you get (Iíll be using very hard woods, mostly exotics like Ebony). .005Ē? .05Ē.? I realize there are a lot of factors that are involved, but Iím willing to do what I have to to get things as tight as possible.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 10:34 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Nate! Add your first name to your profile to clear the N/a in the side panel. Add your location, as well.

A good rigid machine can hold to 0.005" without much difficulty. You'll see manufacturers state better than that but 0.005" shouldn't be hard to hit. I built our machine and cut the EIR bridge on the guitar I built last year and the tolerances held were better than 0.005", so it's doable. Many boutique Luthiers cut fret slots in Ebony fingerboards and those really need to be 0.005" max in tolerance.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 12:29 PM
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Hi Nate and welcome.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 03:14 PM
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Welcome to the Router Forums Nate.

An Avid Pro with an added rotary axis should be able to do it without any trouble. Avids rotary axis is a little pricy but any rotary unit can be used. That being said I do like how their rotary mounts to their system.

Just make sure if you buy an Avid Pro that you make sure you get the added driver in the electronics you choose so you don't have to do it later.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the warm welcome guys. I'll look into the first name and location thing when I'm on a laptop.

That's reassuring. .005" is a good goal. I'd be using the machine to do certain important tasks like drilling the tone holes (the holes the fingers cover) and .005" tolerance would work decently for that.

Good to hear about the Avid machine. That said, I've been worrying about the backlash that these machines have with their 4th axis rotary set ups. I suspect I'll end up buying the bulk of the machine from someone like Avid or shopsabre, but build the 4th axis part myself to try to get that backlash close to 0. Avid quotes 3 arcmin and shopsabre quotes 5 arcmin. I've never worked with a machine like this, but doing some math on what that might mean and I don't like it.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Also, cool to hear from someone else working with musical instruments. I also play banjo, so in the back of my head I'm seeing building a banjo as a nice thing to do with my hobby time on the machine.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Banton View Post
Also, cool to hear from someone else working with musical instruments. I also play banjo, so in the back of my head I'm seeing building a banjo as a nice thing to do with my hobby time on the machine.
I haven't watched it in a while but here's the video I did of cutting the bridge -


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-26-2019, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome, David. That's very reassuring to see some of the procedures I'd also be be using done in rosewood.

What machine is that you're using?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-26-2019, 02:47 PM
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Here's the full build thread - http://www.routerforums.com/cnc-rout...nc-router.html

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-26-2019, 11:05 PM
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I have a Shapeoko XXL. It does not have the 4th axis but it is a reasonably priced machine. You can use Fusion 360 to turn two sided projects. Usually you have some sort of reference holes with pins to turn the project over and cut the second side. If you need the 4th axis you will be looking at $10k or higher to start with. It depends what you want to spend.

If you are a bag pipe maker and have a little Scottish in you check out the Shakeoko. If you want to spend more the pro models can be quite expensive.

If you want to know if someone has built bag pipes join the forums and ask and you will get suggestions about your specific topic.

There are forums on Carbide3d, Inventables and Openbuilds for the hobby class of equipment. There are many others and be sure to check out youtube.com to see if there are any bag pipe makers.
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