Sketchup guitar fretboard (fingerboard) plugin

Program type: 

Sketchup plugin

Operating system: 

Windows and Macintosh

License: 

Freeware

This is a script to automatically generate a conical tapered guitar fingerboard using Google's free 3D design program Sketchup , as well as fret lines and inlay positions. If you want to save the fingerboard as a DXF or STL triangular mesh you can use the DXF & STL exporter plugin . The fret slots are not flat bottomed, but follow the radius of curvature of the fingerboard. In theory this should stop the frets from compressing the fingerboard by being hammered in too far.

Installation instructions using the RBZ format - Sketchup 2015, 2013 (Pro & Make)  & any version 8.2 upwards:

Sketchup introduced an easier way to install plugins. Download the RBZ version of the plugin (fretboard.rbz) to your harddrive - it is a zipped file but don't extract it. Then in Sketchup click on the install extensions button. It's found under Preferences > Extensions > Install Extension. Clicking this button will bring up a file browser window where you can can select
fretboard.rbz from your hard drive, and SketchUp will then install it for you.

Alternative installation instructions for Sketchup 2015 (Pro & Make) - using the plain ruby file

If using the above method does not work, this is an alternative method which will work on Sketchup 2015. To install the plugin you need to download the plain ruby file above (fretboard.rb)  to your Sketchup ShippedExtensions folder.

  • On a Windows PC. If you have installed Sketchup on the C: drive then this folder will be at C:\program files\Sketchup\Sketchup 2015\ShippedExtensions. 
  • On Mac OSX. The sketchup plugins folder is something like /Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 2015/SketchUp/Plugins

Alternative installation instructions for Sketchup 6, 7, 8 and Sketchup 2013 - using the plain ruby file

This is an alternative method which will work on versions including Sketchup 6, 7, 8 and Sketchup Make (Sketchup 2013).. To install the plugin you need to download the plain ruby file above (fretboard.rb)  to your Sketchup plugins folder.

Location of the Sketchup plugins folder, [VERSION] stands for the version number of Sketchup (6, 7,  8 or 2013).

  • On a Windows PC. If you have installed Sketchup on the C: drive then this folder will be at C:\program files\google\google sketchup [VERSION]\plugins. 
  • On Mac OSX. The sketchup plugins folder is /Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp [VERSION]/SketchUp/Plugins

Using the fretboard plugin

After copying this file you should now a menu option in the Sketchup's Draw menu to draw a fingerboard.

The script uses a number of parameters which you can change to your needs:

  • Scale length: the distance from the nut to the bridge.
  • Width at nut: the width of the fretboard at the nut end.
  • Radius at nut: the radius of curvature of the fretboard at the nut end.
  • Width at body: the width of the fretboard at the body end (usually wider than at the nut end in a tapered fingerboard).
  • Radius at body: the radius of curvature of the fretboard at the body end (usually larger than the radius at nut in a conical fingerboard).
  • Board thickness: the thickness of the fretboard at its thickest point.
  • Number of frets: the number of frets required, this will affect the length of the fretboard.
  • Depth of fret-cut: how deep the fret slots cut into the fretboard
  • Width of fret-cut: width of the fret slots.
  • Width of the nut-slot
  • Depth of the nut-slot

The default values are for a Fender strat style fingerboard. This plugin has not been tested extensively, use it at your own risk. Please post in the forum about any problems or suggestions (you don't need to register to post in the forum).

The script creates a flat bottomed nut slot (like in Fender style fingerboards). To omit the nut slot set the width of nut slot parameter to zero.

Fret lines and inlay positions

You can also have the fret positions marked by single lines (perhaps more useful for a CAM program). Set the width of the fret-cut to zero. To see only the fret-cut locations go to the "Window" menu of Sketchup select Layers an make sure only the "Fret_slot" layer is visible.

To do: add inlay generator

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17 Comments

Scalloped fretboard

Your script is great. Have you actually used it on a cnc router?

If possible could you add a "scalloping" option?
User entries could be:
-scallop depth
-unscalloped width beside fret slot (I like 1/32")
-which frets are to be scalloped

Thanks,

I haven't used it on a CNC router yet (my router is out of action at the moment due to moving house). I am going to try it though, I will need some small router bits for the fret slots (like these ones at PreciseBits.com )

It would be possible to add scallops, I'll have a go at it (but it might take me a while!)

 

 

Great Plugin

This is a great plugin! This is exactly what I was looking for. I just need some clarification. It asks for the width and radius at the body, but where exactly is that? Is that the very end of the fingerboard? If so, how much past the last fret is that? I'm trying to use the numbers I know for string spacing a radius at the bridge to calculate what the plugin needs

String spacing

At the very end of the fingerboard. The distance past the last fret depends on how many frets you have.

I think that using the string spacing / radius at the bridge would be more useful, I'll have a go at changing the plugin to incorporate these parameters.

I have started a forum for this plugin and this is the best place to post suggestions or bug reports.

Thanks for the useful feedback

Nathan

Compatability with Solidworks

Opened up the stock fretboard settings in Sketchup, exported as STL, and opened in Solidworks Premium 2009. Perfect. Looking forward to working with it.

Latest Sketchup ?

 

I can't get it to work in the latest Google Sketchup 8, the plug complains: Invalid value for Float(): "25,0". 25,0 is the value for scale length.

 

Please help, I could find this really useful..

compound radius desing for sketchup

Hello,

 

I installed your fretboard at sketchup but the length of 25" measured with the tape shows only 19".

Please inform me what is happening.

My email is

Thank you,

Scale length

Jose,

The scale-length is 25 inches - that is the whole distance from the nut to the bridge. Its the length of vibrating string.

The fretboard itself will be shorter - depending on how many frets you have. For a scale length of 25.5 inches a 22 fret fingerboard is around 18.5 inches long.

Nathan

Update

Is there an update for this script so it will run in the 2013 version?

Thanks

Fretboard plugin for Sketchup Make / 2013

Ernie,

Thanks for trying it out. I'll have a look at updating it for the latest Sketchup but I can't predict how long it will take me

Nathan

PLEASE UPDATE

Please update this plugin I can't get it to work

what am I doing wrong?

would love to use this plugin but Sketchup Make 2015 wont open the file.. Is it me? I downloaded Yeti player and it reconfigured Firefox with a different search engine.....suspicious....grrr

Fretboard plugin

Right click on the download fretboard.rbz link and save it to your hard drive - if you left click the link your browser may try to open the rbz file, but you don't want it to. Then in Sketchup click on the install extensions button. It's found under Preferences > Extensions > Install Extension. Clicking this button will bring up a file browser window where you can can select fretboard.rbz from your hard drive, and SketchUp will then install it for you. There should be a menu option for fretboard in the tools menu.

got it

thank you, awsome plug in, can't wait till cnc arrives and i can experiment....

Yeti was freaking me out

importing fretboard to Fusion size problem

when I import my rendered fretboard into fusion 360 it's very small, not to scale in inches, I chose inches as my format in all places I could find, but it comes into fusion very small. Im unsure what is going on. seems to be in mm? Thanks

I found a workaround fix

I imported a mm version (exported sketchup fretboard in mm)  and it worked! My Fusion 360 pref on the file (and program) is in inches....so I don't get this, but it works.