Shapeoko Pro XL - Guitar bodies

Will a Shapeo Pro XL cut Guitar bodies 50mm thick?

And if so can you help with the following. I am based in the UK:

  • Suitable Router
  • Bit size

If you hare presently doing this or similar any tips would be helpful as well.


You would need a “Long reach” endmill w/ 50mm or greater cutting flute length, or to do the job by flipping things over.

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A number of folks here have milled guitar bodies.
See this thread for example.


Flipping over could cause a problem and a few hours into the job would be a bummer finding this out.

One (many passes) cut the better.

Yes. I have watched many videos on this. That is why I am getting into CNC.

All I want now is some suitable files for my software (Aspire of Candle, or Carbide Create) as I am useless at design in software. Just need a start point that I can hopefully edit - but perhaps this is not possible.

Flip jobs are totally possible, though I’d maybe recommend an easier project for getting started. You could also do some passes from the CNC and then use a band saw and then a flush trim router bit to do the rest of the contour on the body.
If you want shaped on both sides, you’d need to figure out machining on both sides.


50mm is about 1.5 inches deep. They make longer end mills in 1/4 inch and likely in 8mm if you have an 8mm collet. Any smaller diameter than 1/4 or 8mm would likely snap. Since you are in UK they most likely have 8mm collet for Makita/c3d router.

A spinsle has more power but brut force is not required to cut through guitar body but make cut out wider than 1/4 or 8 mm because the exact width of cutout is worst case for end mill slotting out cutout. Most guitar bodies are made of hardwood so get your speeds and speeds dialed in and depth of cut set up so you are not choking the chip extraction. You may need to pause occassionally and vacuum up excess chips in cutout.

It is closer to 2" than 1,5".


1.9685" to be (more) precise, which is important :slight_smile:

I have a converter on my phone. I did the conversion and for some reason read 1 31/32 as 1.5. Sorry dont know why I miss read the calculator wrong but this is why I dont do metric after a lifetime of using the King’s knuckle as an inch.

If only the guy at my local butchers would read it that way… :wink:

Perfectly understandable.

As a general rule-of-thumb-knuckle, just remember 4” is 100mm… or thereabout.



Well… true. I just felt “closer to 2 than 1.5” needed clarification that it was practically 2, not just closer.

And the “rule of thumb” and “thereabouts” sort of implies acknowledged inaccuracy.

But… I think we’ve beaten this to within 2.54mm of its life now :slight_smile:


Any chance we could stay on topic?


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Sure. Sorry about that.

This seems to be the remaining issue. Is this a request for the community to provide you with design files for your guitars or just a reflective comment about what you need to get going?

(edit: it’s not too difficult to convert hand-drawn designs for body shapes into CNC’able toolpaths, but for precision work like pickup routing, knob positioning, bridge location, fretboards, nuts and tuning-machine holes, you’ll almost certainly need to refine your computer design skills)

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I picked up a file or two from these guys:
Not really an endorsement, just there are various places online you can pull files from.


@bluecob —- referencing from the link @Julien posted previously in this thread:

I’m now moving on to utilizing tools provided by Brad Anderson (referenced in a post above) in his YT channel . He has shared an excellent addin for Fusion 360 that will generate a neck and fretboard design after you have plugged in your desired values. (68.7 KB)

For my work I simply searched for a photo of a design that struck me as cool. Opened the Guitar Engine plugin in Fusion 360. Used the Import Canvas feature in F360 to import the guitar image I had downloaded earlier. Scaled it then traced it with splines. The rest is history.

At that point I had never “imported a canvas” nor traced using splines nor used the Brad Andersen Guitar Engine. If I can do it anyone can.

Happy to answer any questions.

EDIT: Another hint, zero Z on your wasteboard, not top of stock.


To come back to the question, I use a Shapeoko 4 XL with the following bit to cut guitar bodies (no financial relationship):

In my case, I use the 65mm Shapeoko router (the standard one they sell here), but I usually find I need to move the router a little higher up in the spindle mount to make sure there is enough clearance.

Note, just because that bit is really long, doesn’t mean you can take a full depth of cut. Trust me when I say, don’t go more than 1/4" or so (i.e. the diameter of the bit). I wouldn’t say it’s easy to snap one of these bits, but it’s definitely not impossible as I’ve learned :smiley:


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Some great tips there. Thank you.