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View Full Version : Mathias – inlay technique using 3-1 duplicator



droze
06-02-2013, 08:06 AM
While some of you had some concerns regarding Mathias Wandel’s methods on his recent ukulele build, he just posted some experiments on using a 3 to 1 routing duplicator (using a Dremel) for inlay work. I have never undertaken inlay work, but it looks like a much easier method than other inlay tutorials I have seen on YouTube.

Here is the links: http://woodgears.ca/pantograph/inlay2.html

Rick Turner
06-02-2013, 08:18 AM
I'm sorry, but that's pretty unacceptable inlay work for having a supposed 3:1 advantage. I'm used to Larry Robinson-level quality.

Michael Smith
06-02-2013, 08:50 AM
That's sort of the way I do inlay but I would not find those kind of results acceptable. I very rarely free hand it like that. I make a jigsaw puzzle like pattern and run the 3 to 1 stylus around that. It's a very sound technique, he just isn't doing it right. I use 1/32 end mills. My fits are far better and 3 times as fast as I could do traditional technique and best of all repeatable. I call it the "Poormans CNC" It's not the traditional inlay every piece in this example is the same thickness so it goes together like a jigsaw puzzle. 53921

Rick Turner
06-02-2013, 09:28 AM
We used to use one like this at Alembic: http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Hermes-Engravograph-GTX-U-Pantograph-Engraver-/281114764253?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4173bee3dd

Worked great for simple stuff like the oval fingerboard inlays.

Pete Howlett
06-02-2013, 10:35 AM
You really don't like this guy do you Rick? Given that it is an 'experiment', that it is clearly in the early stages of technique acquisition I would say this is fine for what they are doing. He is not a luthier and neither is he a trained woodworker. He doesn't purport to be either. This may be the wrong way to do it but he doesn't say it is the only way. Other videos he has posted using this machine show him working with solid templates instead of following a line. I don't care how often this guy is ridiculed he still gets my vote for at least thinking there is another way even if the execution isn't aways CNC standard or the safety issues give us the hebbie jeebies. For goodness sake, give the guy a break won't ya? :) ;)

Rick Turner
06-02-2013, 10:57 AM
Pete, the results just suck.

He's reinventing the left rear wheel, the right front one, then the right rear, and the left front, and his spare is flat. I'm about quality results, not clever sloppiness. Almost any of us could get better results with a twenty year old Dremel and a dull bit in half the time.

You can buy used pantograph engraving machines for a few hundred bucks and get really good results, but that's if your aim is making good stuff. The concept of using a 3D or 2 1/2 D pantograph is hardly a breakthrough. I was doing that nearly 40 years ago, and it wasn't a new concept then.

If you want to be a show-off making clever and inaccurate tools, then the Internet will yield you many fans who don't care about craftsmanship.

If you want to see some much higher class DIY inventiveness, go look at some of the sites that cater to the home-built CNC machine crowd. You'll find machinists and hobbyists of Ken's ability making machines that can hold professional-level tolerances.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-02-2013, 12:15 PM
Nice inlay Mike. Strange things are happening between us. Just as we were both doing a Much inlay at the same time, I've started a Matson liner inlay as well. (Insert Twilight Zone music here....)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-02-2013, 12:26 PM
I find a curious trend these days. Everyone is trying to find ways to do things faster. Shouldn't we be trying to do things better? Where is everyone going that they are in such a hurry? I feel like I'm missing out on something.
I wait all month long building ukes just to set aside a few days when I can get into the slow, steady pace of cutting pearl.
Still, it would be fun to play with an Engravograph.

droze
06-02-2013, 12:28 PM
That's sort of the way I do inlay but I would not find those kind of results acceptable. I very rarely free hand it like that. I make a jigsaw puzzle like pattern and run the 3 to 1 stylus around that. It's a very sound technique, he just isn't doing it right. I use 1/32 end mills. My fits are far better and 3 times as fast as I could do traditional technique and best of all repeatable. I call it the "Poormans CNC" It's not the traditional inlay every piece in this example is the same thickness so it goes together like a jigsaw puzzle. 53921

Interesting. I have just watched a few people do inlay on YouTube by tracing the outline of the inlay and routing it out freehand. I thought this might have been something that wasn't being used.

Rick Turner
06-02-2013, 01:17 PM
It's too bad that not many here ever got the chance to visit production guitar factories in the pre-CNC era. If you had, you'd know that there is a long history...even tradition...of using fairly sophisticated conventional tools, jigs, and fixtures for everything from side bending to fret slotting to neck carving to some complex inlay work. Pin routers, multi head shapers, gang fret saws, and yes, engraving machines are what you'd have found at Martin, Gibson, Fender, and even Harmony.

Check out this beauty...I saw ones like this being used to carve the hand stop area of necks at Gibson in 1976...

http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/detail.aspx?id=4004

Yes, it's like having a router bit or more like a burr out there in space on the end of a high speed shaft, and the carving was done freehand. These were also used in the furniture industry for some pretty tricked out carvings on legs, backs, and arms of chairs, table legs, etc.

mm stan
06-02-2013, 01:59 PM
I think the dremel blade or the router is way too thick for fine detail work....

Michael N.
06-03-2013, 12:08 AM
The dremel or the device isn't the problem. All he really needed to do was to tack glue the Pearl and scribe around it with a knife point. That would give a very sharp and clean line to work to and it also avoids chip outs.

Pukulele Pete
06-03-2013, 02:09 AM
I'm no Luthier ( sorry Pete ) and I've only done one inlay , a mop star . I tack glued the star to the wood and spray painted to get my outline. I then cut out the out line with an exacto knife and then used my dremel and cut under my scribed line and it came out very good for the first one I've ever done.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-03-2013, 06:49 AM
The dremel or the device isn't the problem. All he really needed to do was to tack glue the Pearl and scribe around it with a knife point. That would give a very sharp and clean line to work to and it also avoids chip outs.

You are correct. The cleanest routed cavity will be achieved by cutting the outline with a knife as you suggest. I use #11 Exacto, new blade every time. One trick when routing anything softer than ebony is to flood the surface first with thin ca glue before scribing. Sharp spiral downcut carbide bits work nicely. I hog out the interiors quickly and ease up to the line, finishing up at a much slower speed.

Rick Turner
06-03-2013, 09:32 AM
Yep. Also sand the surface to 220 or even 320 before scribing. The line will be cleaner. Also, you can resharpen the #11s pretty nicely and quickly. I use a diamond grit plate for that.

808boy
06-03-2013, 10:10 AM
Nice inlay Mike. Strange things are happening between us. Just as we were both doing a Much inlay at the same time, I've started a Matson liner inlay as well. (Insert Twilight Zone music here....)

Aloha Chuck,
My Father was a Merchant Seaman for Matson Navigation Co. for many years. I fondly remember the merchant Freighters as well as the Passenger Liners. So which Famous Matson ship are you doing. I suspect the Lurline, Matsonia, Mariposa, or Monterey.
Can't wait to see the finished art work. I vote for the Pride of the fleet, the Lurline....................

Michael Smith
06-03-2013, 11:08 AM
Nice inlay Mike. Strange things are happening between us. Just as we were both doing a Much inlay at the same time, I've started a Matson liner inlay as well. (Insert Twilight Zone music here....)

Can't wait to see it Chuck, though my attempt will surly look meager by comparison.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-03-2013, 11:19 AM
Aloha Chuck,
My Father was a Merchant Seaman for Matson Navigation Co. for many years. I fondly remember the merchant Freighters as well as the Passenger Liners. So which Famous Matson ship are you doing. I suspect the Lurline, Matsonia, Mariposa, or Monterey.
Can't wait to see the finished art work. I vote for the Pride of the fleet, the Lurline....................

Yep, the Lurline. My father worked on the docks too (a steel man) and it was hard to avoid Matson as they seem to occupy half of the piers on the waterfront. Sometimes my father used to take us on board these Hawaii bound Matson cruise ships when they were docked in San Francisco. An hour before they would depart we'd walk right on board as if we had tickets. That was back in the innocent days when they'd let you do such things. We'd walk all around deck and take advantage of the free refreshments and hob-nob with the rich folks, pretending we were going to Hawaii. Sadly we'd always manage to get off before the crews cast the hawsers and the passengers threw confetti from the rails. That was as close as I got to a vacation for many years so those fond memories have stuck with me. The demise of those ships, along with the Pan Am Clippers, marked the end of the romantic era of luxury adventure travel, when traveling was at least as much fun as getting there.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-03-2013, 12:03 PM
Also, you can resharpen the #11s pretty nicely and quickly. I use a diamond grit plate for that.

Well you're right of course. In fact I always hone the back of all new blades to decrease the angle of the point, followed by a couple of swipes on the bevels to knock down the burs. That sharp angled point alway seems to break immediately when cutting through hard material.

808boy
06-03-2013, 10:01 PM
Yep, the Lurline. My father worked on the docks too (a steel man) and it was hard to avoid Matson as they seem to occupy half of the piers on the waterfront. Sometimes my father used to take us on board these Hawaii bound Matson cruise ships when they were docked in San Francisco. An hour before they would depart we'd walk right on board as if we had tickets. That was back in the innocent days when they'd let you do such things. We'd walk all around deck and take advantage of the free refreshments and hob-nob with the rich folks, pretending we were going to Hawaii. Sadly we'd always manage to get off before the crews cast the hawsers and the passengers threw confetti from the rails. That was as close as I got to a vacation for many years so those fond memories have stuck with me. The demise of those ships, along with the Pan Am Clippers, marked the end of the romantic era of luxury adventure travel, when traveling was at least as much fun as getting there.

Yeah, great memories with my Dad touring the ships, Passenger Liners, Freighters, Tankers et all. Also went on the Presidential Lines Passenger ships as well as the Leilani though I don't know what company owned it. I remember the confetti too at Aloha Tower along with the Royal Hawaiian Band playing Aloha Oe. My Dad worked on most of the Matson ships. When I moved to Cali in 67, I use to pick him up at Army St. pier in SF or in Crockett at the sugar mill.
Matson Navigation Co. helped in making Hawaii what it is today and I'm proud that you're comemerating them.
Mahalo Chuck.......

Rick Turner
06-04-2013, 02:22 AM
And how's that Hawaii of today working out for native Hawaiians?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-04-2013, 05:46 AM
And how's that Hawaii of today working out for native Hawaiians?

I think you're pointing fingers at the wrong folks Rick. The real negative impact on Hawaii was first generated by the missionaries and later by despots like Spreckles and Dole.

Rick Turner
06-04-2013, 06:33 AM
Fully understood, Chuck, but the rape of the islands just seems to have no end. You could say it began with the arrival of the Polynesians, too... Or the Brits... Certainly sugar and pineapples, neither of which are native to the islands, have been a factor, but so, too, is relentless tourism.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-04-2013, 07:02 AM
Fully understood, Chuck, but the rape of the islands just seems to have no end. You could say it began with the arrival of the Polynesians, too... Or the Brits... Certainly sugar and pineapples, neither of which are native to the islands, have been a factor, but so, too, is relentless tourism.

It's a fact of life in modern times Rick. Transportation happens. And transportation changed the world. Transportation of and by itself is not bad. Greed, unsatiable quest for power and rampant evangelism are the culprits here. I don't think Matson is the big boogeyman you think they are. Even most "locals" appreciate the regular deliveries of plywood, tin roofing, automobile parts, beer, etc. But I get your point obviously, the rape is undeniable. Unfortunately we are all responsible to some degree. Everyone should just stay the hell home! (I guess I need to add this: :) )

Pete Howlett
06-04-2013, 08:03 AM
And is 'home' the town you were born in? 'cos if that's the case i can't see my wife wanting to move to London :( Sadly, colonization is what has made the world today. If it wasn't for the curious America and Australia would still be populated wholly by inidgenous peoples, Britain would still be covered with trees and we'd all be speaking Dutch as a universal language instead of English :0 :). The whole tourism vs starvation thing applies here in Wales where it is the principle industry. With coal, steel and slate manufacturing gone there is nothing else. So despite the erosion of pathways etc caused by climbers and walkers, without them, the economy here in North Wales would be in a greater state of collapse than it already is...

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
06-04-2013, 11:59 PM
... Everyone should just stay the hell home! (I guess I need to add this: :) )

ummmm....see you in August Chuck.....:p