I am a full-time builder of custom guitars (electric and acoustic).
I’ve been doing this for 16.5 years full-time, and have lots of time under my belt
with manually-run machines etc.
I’d really like to get in to CNC and have been looking around at all the alternatives, and keep coming back to the SO3 XL as the right combination of price/size/capability.
However, I just want to get a little more confidence that the machine will be capable of the kind of work I need it to do.
I’m not looking to do heavy routing of guitar body perimeters etc. as my 5HP pin router can still outrun CNC by several times over for that kind of work. However, I’d like to make small parts (inlays and inlay pockets, pickup rings, bridges and bridge parts etc.), mill fretboard slots (.023" wide by about .075" deep). and do some 3D surface carving (i.e. arched tops/backs like a violin/mandolin/Gibson guitar).
I’d also like to make routing templates from 1/4" acrylic with high accuracy as I will be using them to make parts on the pin router. I’m assuming this is well within SO3 capacity.
Finally, I want to do some fairly lightweight engraving / milling on 6061 aluminum for decorative parts. I have a manual G0704 mill for structural-type aluminum work, though I might want to make some enclosure plates etc. on the CNC.
(Of course, I’ll also engrave signs and designs for my wife and daughter, to keep them excited about the new purchase! )
Money is tight and every tool has to pull its weight. I’ve had mixed opinions from my CNC pals about whether or not the SO platform is robust and accurate enough to hold its own in a professional shop. I’m working to close tolerances (+/- .002" on most critical parts) so this is a big consideration.
Please help me figure this out! I am itching to step into CNC and start exploring the possibilities, but wondering if I should just save up longer and get a bigger/screw-driven machine.
Thanks in advance,