Make a guitar neck with CNC

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This project by John Williams shows how you can make a guitar neck using a home-built CNC machine. John built the CNC machine with plans and a kit from (Check out for free plans). The software used was: Rhino 3D to design the neck, MeshCAM to generate the tool paths for the maching process and TurboCNC to operate the machine.

Its interesting to see how John solved the problems of alignment and holding down the parts while machining.
It would not be sensible to do it this way if you are only planning to make one or two necks, you would be better off doing it by hand. As John says: "In short, this is a $200 guitar neck with about $100,000 in labor costs thrown in for free!".

Link: Make a guitar neck using home-built CNC machine




CNC 'n' Guitar Necks

I have just completed a large CNC machine (Mach3 and Allen Bradley Servos), and my first project
will be a stratocaster type neck. I do my 3D modeling in Rhino3D, and have the neck
geometry almost complete. (very tough to do well...)
I appreciated your photos, especially as they showed how you fixtured the neck in
the machine.
If you are still actively working on these things, I would enjoy a chance to discuss your projects, since you have probably solved most of the problems I'm about to encounter!
Please send me a note if you are willing to talk.
Thanks very Much,
Paul Vogt
Charlotte, NC

CNC neck

Hi Paul

This neck project is from John Williams of You can contact him there , there is also a forum on
A great place for information about this type of thing is Scroll down the cnczone forum page and you will find a forum for musical instrument design and construction, there is loads of information there and the people are really helpful.

I have also just finished a CNC machine, but I haven't made any necks yet (in the process of moving house). I have some neck 3D models which I will post here when they are ready.

This is how I am planning on doing 2-side machining of necks and bodies:

  • Fix a level spoil board onto the bed of the machine (some MDF or plywood).
  • Drill some indexing holes at a known location in the spoil board.
  • Clamp the plank of wood for the neck (or body), on top of the spoil board.
  • Machine one side of the neck, and also machine some holes into the neck corresponding to the mirror image of indexing holes.
  • Take your neck off the spoil board, and put some steel dowel pins in the indexing holes.
  • Flip the neck over and clamp it again, the holes in the neck should match up neatly with the dowels.
  • Machine the other side of the neck.

What CAM program are you using? I am looking at Vectric cut3D, it allows you to machine 3D objects.