I used a tele style neck for this project. This style neck is the easiest to make on a CNC machine: there is no headstock angle or scarf joint. You just need a 1" thick piece of wood at least as wide and a bit longer than finished neck.
This is a 3D project so to start with I needed a 3D mesh file of a guitar neck. I downloaded the 3D telecaster style neck CAD file from Chris Cockrum's website. Chris has also designed a matching body and scratchplate, both freely available for download (thanks Chris!). The file is available in STL, SLDPART and IGS formats. I used STL but you could also convert it to other formats if necessary using the free Meshlab program.
These parts should interchange with a Tele since the neck pocket, pickups, and control cutouts are the same but some of the cosmetic dimensions are slightly different from the original. The neck has a modified "V" profile.
Link: Download tele neck file from Cockrum.net (also body and scratchplate files)
I then used the following machining steps
- Drill two holes in the spoilboard (you only need to do this once per spoilboard)
- Clamp the neck blank to the table - aligning its centre with the centre of the spoilboard as best you can
- Drill two indexing holes in the neck blank (around 10mm deep) in exactly the same place as the spoil board holes
- Put wooden dowels in the indexing holes and flip the neck over, use the dowels to align the neck blank and spoilboard
- Drill two more indexing holes in the other side
- Roughing and finishing machining of the top of the neck
- Roughing and finishing machining of the bottom of the neck
- Cut out toolpath if required
The drilling toolpaths for the indexing holes were done using Vectric Cut2D and the roughing and finishing toolpaths for the neck itself were done with Cut3D. Cut3D allows you to add tabs to the model - this will hold the neck in place during the various machining steps.