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Thread: MPL Megacaster - semi scratch build

  1. #1
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    MPL Megacaster - semi scratch build

    I had this idea to make some guitars for the guys at work who play, and to kind of theme the aesthetics around the print studio we work in. This is my first attempt - inspired by our Technical Officer - his whole art practice involves form ply, and he also designs and builds really great Bauhaus-inspired furniture which is also pretty well always built from form ply.

    Working with ply is a bit mad, and to be honest I only really thought it would be worthwhile because he doesn't really play much guitar but will love the idea (I hope)

    The idea is a strat-shaped guitar, made from 36mm ply with the following:

    Two humbuckers
    Single Tone
    Single Volume
    Toggle switch
    Matte (or satin) black front
    Tru-oil sides and back
    Maple fretboard (neck from PBG)
    All black hardware

    Here's where I'm up to so far...

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    (pickups and knobs just sitting on surface)

    Turns out ply is a b***h to work with (surprise), and while I'd made a form to route the body shape I decided in the end to use a jigsaw, rasp and drum sand combo because I was getting mad tear out from the outer layer of ply. Also, I'm not super used to using the router anyway, and it scared the daylights out of me. I use hand tools all day at work, so I felt a bit more comfortable, though it was slow. There are a few things I'd do differently if I were to make another, but that's ok.

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    Because the back will be unstained I tried to pick a piece with a reasonably interesting grain (tape is holding down a little chip I had to glue back in place)

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    Made a jig so I could use my drill press as a spindle sander. Worked a treat. You can see the terrible tear out at the top of the horn. Because I'm an idiot, it never occurred to me to think about the direction of the outer facing grain, so the front is horizontal and tore to buggery, while the back was vertical grain and mostly fine. A bit of extra sanding, some timbermate, a black stain and a bevelled edge and I think no one will notice
    Last edited by JohnH; 15-01-2018 at 11:11 AM.
    #001 (LP-1S) [finished - co-runner up Nov 2018 GOTM]
    #002 (WL-1)
    #003 (MPL Megacaster - semi scratch build) [finished]
    #004 (ST-1 JR - Arachnoid Superhero build) [finished]
    #005 (LP jr)

    Junk shop acoustic refurbs (various)
    'The TGS Special'

  2. Liked by: darthdamo

  3. #2
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    Neat idea and great MacGyver work

  4. Liked by: OliSam

  5. #3
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Yes, if you round off the edges, then that should remove most of the tears - though you probably weren't planning on doing that. Given the roughness of those edges, do you still plan to just TO them, or has that changed as you may need to use some filler and then a solid colour would make more sense - at least round the edges. Maybe a burst?

  6. #4
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    Thanks SM!

    Simon, the tear out is only as deep as the first layer of ply, so it's only really about 2mm deep at the sides. A small bevel will take that away nicely on the sides, and the front will be under a stain so I think I can still get away with my original plan of a black front and oiled back and sides, though it'll require some pretty pro masking on the sides.
    #001 (LP-1S) [finished - co-runner up Nov 2018 GOTM]
    #002 (WL-1)
    #003 (MPL Megacaster - semi scratch build) [finished]
    #004 (ST-1 JR - Arachnoid Superhero build) [finished]
    #005 (LP jr)

    Junk shop acoustic refurbs (various)
    'The TGS Special'

  7. #5
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    All the best with your attempt and I hope it is all plain sailing from now on.

  8. #6
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    Thanks Simon!
    #001 (LP-1S) [finished - co-runner up Nov 2018 GOTM]
    #002 (WL-1)
    #003 (MPL Megacaster - semi scratch build) [finished]
    #004 (ST-1 JR - Arachnoid Superhero build) [finished]
    #005 (LP jr)

    Junk shop acoustic refurbs (various)
    'The TGS Special'

  9. #7
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    Managed to get a little more done yesterday.

    Initial shaping f the headstock...

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    Am being a bit boring and using a template I found online, so nothing very original.

    Started work on the cavities too. Had hoped to get this routed out and have the pickup cavities done too, but ran out of time.

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    #001 (LP-1S) [finished - co-runner up Nov 2018 GOTM]
    #002 (WL-1)
    #003 (MPL Megacaster - semi scratch build) [finished]
    #004 (ST-1 JR - Arachnoid Superhero build) [finished]
    #005 (LP jr)

    Junk shop acoustic refurbs (various)
    'The TGS Special'

  10. #8
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Canberra, Australia
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    My Christmas-break-enthusiasm for finishing all my various half-done 2017 projects has extended to this guitar as well, and I've finally made some routing jigs for myself, and even routed out the neck cavity! Perfect fit, thank god. Fingers crossed all my measurements are ok, and that I actually did manage to centre it.

    I had bought myself a humbucker routing template from Stewmac, and was trying to use it as a master to make a second copy from a thicker material. Foolishly, I tried this while I was home with the flu, and of course managed to mangle the acrylic template. So, I ordered another that should be here next week (they now have thicker stock for their humbucker template, which is great).

    Finished the routing jig for the control cavity just about an hour ago, so first chance I get I'll route that and the pickups cavities out.

    I'm still off work for a few more weeks - one of them with the kids at daycare. I have to spend a lot of that time finishing and framing work for an exhibition i have on in March, but am still hopeful I can use some of the time to get this done so I can finally give it to my mate
    #001 (LP-1S) [finished - co-runner up Nov 2018 GOTM]
    #002 (WL-1)
    #003 (MPL Megacaster - semi scratch build) [finished]
    #004 (ST-1 JR - Arachnoid Superhero build) [finished]
    #005 (LP jr)

    Junk shop acoustic refurbs (various)
    'The TGS Special'

  11. #9
    Overlord of Music WeirdBits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
    ...one of them with the kids at daycare...
    Sounds perfect for group sanding activity... for the kids, of course.
    Scott.

  12. #10
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeirdBits View Post
    Sounds perfect for group sanding activity... for the kids, of course.
    Well it would be educational, right?
    #001 (LP-1S) [finished - co-runner up Nov 2018 GOTM]
    #002 (WL-1)
    #003 (MPL Megacaster - semi scratch build) [finished]
    #004 (ST-1 JR - Arachnoid Superhero build) [finished]
    #005 (LP jr)

    Junk shop acoustic refurbs (various)
    'The TGS Special'

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