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Thread: 3D Plasticaster Build

  1. #1
    Member lunaticds's Avatar
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    3D Plasticaster Build

    OK, so this might be number 4 on the simultaneous build list, but with a difference - one that most of the wood working purists may be disgusted by ..

    It's 3D printed.
    For the record, it's not my design, it's using a design at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1068688
    What the final product could look like:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Why?
    I like 3D printing though I'm not a 3D nut nor am I good at it. I just like producing functional things. Also.. because I can?
    I'm using this design because I'm not entirely convinced about the result and making my own design is a lot of work. I don't mind work if I know I can achieve a result.

    But it's a Les Paul?
    The shape of the body is yes, but be damned if I'm going to put that name on something with single coils.

    Mods?
    I'm going to fill the cutout for the trem and use a hardtail instead. I tend to think that PLA isn't that strong of a material to cope with the neck tension + additional tension from a tremelo.

    Budget?
    $50 - basically two rolls of PLA + the cheapest half decent neck I can find. Maybe $80 - I might hit up Pit Bull and see if they have any less than perfect seconds/returns floating around when I'm about ready. . Everything else is coming from what I have laying around. I don't expect this to be anything more than a conversational piece that works rather than something I'm going to want to actively play. I can't imagine that it's going to have any particularly fantastic tonal or sustain qualities.

    Challenges?
    Heaps. Firstly the design has a number of pieces that quite simply don't fit on my print bed, so I've had to carve them up. Getting them to match up might be.. interesting.. It also adds more points of failure. I've already had to learn some new things to get the parts cut down to printable size.
    The pattern adds a pretty complex surface area to sand and paint. I've also dumped a logo on the body that has fine enough detail to make life quite simply miserable trying to tidy up.

    I mentioned that I don't think that the PLA material is necessarily strong enough to handle this much tension. My backup plan should the centre look to be too weak will be to replace that section with some timber - whatever I can find that's reasonably strong and replicate the plastic design straight on wood. I'd prefer to avoid this, but it's a backup plan.

    Current status:
    Lower tail printed successfully (about 30 hours print time) and semi sanded. Back plate currently printing as the roll is low and each of the major pieces requires about half a kg (1kg rolls) of filament. Once the back is done I'll swap rolls and get on the upper tail. I don't like having the printer sitting there doing nothing, so I'm likely to push on with getting all the parts printed fairly quickly. Getting them sanded and assembled is a long way down on my priority list. That's something I'll potter away at as time permits.

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  3. #2
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Interesting.

    I'm not sure the finished body is anything like a Les Paul, it's more a Strat with cut-back horns to me.

    The centre section between the neck pocket and the bridge is the section that needs to be strongest, and if your PLA is quite brittle, then I'd make that section far more solid. At least they've gone for a fixed bridge.

    With so little body mass, it may be quite neck-heavy.

    Sound-wise, it could be fine. Plenty of decent sounding plastic guitars in the past. But only time will tell. You've certainly made things harder for yourself by not being able to print it all in one go, but I suppose it does allow you to incorporate some strengthening elements within the body as it's sectionalised.

    I wish you well and will watch with interest.

  4. #3
    Member lunaticds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    Interesting.

    I'm not sure the finished body is anything like a Les Paul, it's more a Strat with cut-back horns to me.

    The centre section between the neck pocket and the bridge is the section that needs to be strongest, and if your PLA is quite brittle, then I'd make that section far more solid. At least they've gone for a fixed bridge.

    With so little body mass, it may be quite neck-heavy.

    Sound-wise, it could be fine. Plenty of decent sounding plastic guitars in the past. But only time will tell. You've certainly made things harder for yourself by not being able to print it all in one go, but I suppose it does allow you to incorporate some strengthening elements within the body as it's sectionalised.

    I wish you well and will watch with interest.
    Thank you.
    The mid section is actually cut for a tremelo though I'm not sure the designer ever installed it. I'd rather just infill it.
    Most people that have built it have suggested it's using around 2 rolls of filament, which is 2kg + electronics. Hopefully that's enough to counter the neck if I go with something that's fairly trim.

    The original design is actually still 6 sections that need to be glued + a back plate. There is a complete version, but if I could afford a printer big enough for that, I'd have a wall full of Gibsons I've just increased it to 8 sections. The upside is at least that the small sections are easier to manage with sanding.
    I did make the mistake earlier of sanding with 400 grit without a dust mask on. I don't think I'll make that mistake again. Assuming I ever stop sneezing

    Pretty sure the guy that built this wound up at NAMM with it a few years ago, so I hold out some hope that this can be achieved!

  5. #4
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    “so this might be number 4 on the simultaneous build list”

    Only 4? 🤣😉

    Have you considered having a bash at your own guitar neck? A bolt on strat style is not that difficult. Scarf joints are a wee bit more challenging but can be done with as little as a sharp saw, clamps, a few clamping cauls and a router.

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  6. #5
    Member andybanks's Avatar
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    This should be an interesting build to follow, please keep us updated on progress as it happens ever so slowly...

    I have heard PLA can be strengthened through "annealing" in the oven, but I also hear tolerances get thrown about when you to this.

    If in the end it doesn't work out as hoped, you can always use it as an excuse to try your hand at lost PLA casting and turn it into an aluminium body... But that might throw the budget out the door.

    Your backup plan for core strength should at least make a playable guitar, strengthening the strap points the the centre might even be possible with a long custom made steel rod or two.


    Looking forward to see how it progresses in any case

  7. #6
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankenWashie View Post
    Have you considered having a bash at your own guitar neck? A bolt on strat style is not that difficult. Scarf joints are a wee bit more challenging but can be done with as little as a sharp saw, clamps, a few clamping cauls and a router.
    For a Strat or Tele style neck, with a big enough bit of wood, you don’t even need to make a scarf joint. A bit wasteful, but easier. It’s far less wasteful if you get a wide plank and make several neck blanks at a time, arranged top to tail. Which mean you need several bodies at a time, and you end up like FrankenWashie.

  8. #7
    Member lunaticds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andybanks View Post
    This should be an interesting build to follow, please keep us updated on progress as it happens ever so slowly...

    I have heard PLA can be strengthened through "annealing" in the oven, but I also hear tolerances get thrown about when you to this.

    If in the end it doesn't work out as hoped, you can always use it as an excuse to try your hand at lost PLA casting and turn it into an aluminium body... But that might throw the budget out the door.

    Your backup plan for core strength should at least make a playable guitar, strengthening the strap points the the centre might even be possible with a long custom made steel rod or two.


    Looking forward to see how it progresses in any case
    Will do. It's a long slow process and I disconnected the light in the print enclosure to run the buffer over the Samick earlier, so it's dark in there now.

    Never heard about the annealing process. Worst case I could always use PLA+ which I've heard is better.

    I'm hoping the strap points are adequate given the fairly low weight of the build, but that's a good idea if it looks to be problematic. The outer stuff is surprisingly solid even with a 60% infill. I suspect it's thick enough and solid enough that it should be OK as long as it doesn't get too hot. The pattern on the outer body is printing at 8.5mm thick, so it's pretty decent. My DAW PC is under my desk with a set of 3mm thick brackets. A little flimsy, but still holding, so PLA isn't completely useless :P

  9. #8
    Member lunaticds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    For a Strat or Tele style neck, with a big enough bit of wood, you don’t even need to make a scarf joint. A bit wasteful, but easier. It’s far less wasteful if you get a wide plank and make several neck blanks at a time, arranged top to tail. Which mean you need several bodies at a time, and you end up like FrankenWashie.
    Not sure I even have enough tools to have a crack at my own necks. Interesting idea though. I did see a video of a guy with a fretless electric recently and it sounded awesome. My own necks would be one way of doing something like that. This could be dangerous. I need to stop thinking about this now.

  10. #9
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunaticds View Post
    My own necks would be one way of doing something like that. This could be dangerous. I need to stop thinking about this now.
    That’s right, stop thinking, start doing. Let loose your inner Ig0r!
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  12. #10
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    For a Strat or Tele style neck, with a big enough bit of wood, you don’t even need to make a scarf joint. A bit wasteful, but easier. It’s far less wasteful if you get a wide plank and make several neck blanks at a time, arranged top to tail. Which mean you need several bodies at a time, and you end up like FrankenWashie.
    I did phrase those separate concepts rather poorly didn’t I? Thanks Simon.👍🏾
    FrankenLab
    Where “What if?” meets “Why the hell not?!”.


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