Scott's Guitar Blog: May 8, 2009

Electric Guitar Jig for Milling Machine

Hi folks, I’m finding more and more uses for this cool Clausing 8520 vertical mill. The newest is a simple fixture made of lexan and HDF board that allows to to firmly and safely clamp and electric guitar body to the mill’s table for precision drilling, slotting, cavity cutting and boring. It is SO much more precise than a hand drill or drill press, and the work is super clean. Even simply holes for pots look like they were cut with lasers.

The lexan mounts to the table with t-bolts in the table’s slots, just like a machine vise would. This is as rigid as it gets. I then cover the HDF risers with a thin sheet of latex which not only pads the body, but adds a grip factor to the clamping. Step & block clamps are then slipped into the t-slots, and adjusted to be level with the top of the body. A protective shim is used under the clamp to avoid marring the wood. One or two twists of the bolt, and you can’t budge the body to save your life. With the super fine control of a milling machine’s cranks (each graduation is 1/1000th of an inch) the work is precise and clean. I still use a router table for some of the routing, but this rig is a huge asset in the shop.

In the last 2 photos, I’m milling an electronics cavity in the back, template-free! You can also see the neck bushing holes perfectly milled into the body.

Please visit my website for more on guitar building and repair!