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Thread: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

  1. #1
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    Default CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Greetings: long time CNC user (5+ years) .... but I've always done my stringed instrument work in 2d using the Vectric Vcarve pro program that came with my shopbot desktop. I made a 2d program for hogging wood off of archtops and mandolins and it works kind of well, but I think I'm almost ready for the leap to a 3d program. Aspire seems to be the logical choice for me, since the program is essentially an extension of what I'm already familiar with. So I'm wondeering if any of the other CNC jockeys are using Aspire? It's actually a little more than Rhino or. Solid Works... but I'm suspecting that the learning curve would be less for me with Aspire.

    I'm not looking to get to finished dimensions on the top and back plates: just getting closer to scraping /voicing dimensions than I am already: That and making some radius dishes for my guitar building projects, etc.

    Thanks

    Karl

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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Hi Karl,

    I have Aspire. I've found it to be somewhat frustrating to learn. On the contrary, I found Vectric V-carve to be very intuitive and was able to learn it fast. I wish I could take a class specific to Aspire so I could ask luthier specific questions and get answers. However, all the learning is done via online video tutorials. The tutorials focus on making decorative knick knacks rather than a useable 3D object that would work for instrument building. My goal for next year is to learn to use Aspire so I can rough carve arched tops and backs. If I had it to do over again, I wish I would have bought something else like Rhino or Solid Works.

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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Thanks for that feedback: I downloaded the demo program of aspire and fooled with it a little while ago......I didn't get too far into it but it did seem more for the sign carvers and hobbyists. Maybe i'll get Rhino instead... seems like most of the CNC saavy luthiers I know are using rhino.... Take care and happy building in the new year!

  4. #4
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    I've used Rhino and it can handle all the flowing 3D curvatures but it is not very simple or intuitive software. Being Math and IT guy I iad no problems as 3D geometry and especially drawing of F-5 mandolins has been my passion for almost two decades now.
    All depends on your skill set and perhaps even more on your starting set of 2D drawings. How many crossections you have or how precise the shape you need will influence what methods would be best suited for you and how complicated it can get.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Autodesk's Fusion 360 is a cloud-based CAD/CAM package that offers a free "startup license" for any business making <$100K/yr. It is very powerful, and well supported by a user forum hosted by the Autodesk site. I think this is the one to beat, for now.

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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Thank you very much, all......still weighing my options as to whether I even want to invest into the 3d software. As I initially said, I have a decent set of 2d programs I've created for hogging wood of of archtop guitars and mandolins (still tweaking the Mandolin program) so that I can get it close enough to do the carving/graduating (which, frankly, is all I want.. At 65, I'm not looking to creat a production environment)... I just want to hog off wood and save my arm from mallet/chiseling superfluous wood and what I have does that pretty well. I really enjoy the hand carving/graduating part of archtop/mando building. So maybe I can take the 1000.00+ and invest it in a better thickness sander.

    thanks again, all.
    Last edited by Karl Hoyt; Jan-04-2018 at 8:00am. Reason: Old brain...

  7. #7

    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    I'd also recommend Fusion 360. The CAM package built in to Fusion is the same one we were buying for biomedical research machining 5-6 years ago at $10,000 a seat. ASPIRE & Vectric are like buckets, Rhino/RhinoCAM is a wheelbarrow, and Fusion 360 is like having a Cat excavator.
    The difference is that Fusion 360 is parametric. Need a longer scale length? Type in the longer scale length and the neck geometry automatically updates (if properly drawn). If you change the location of a pickup, the G-code automatically updates and the next program you run will reflect that change. It allows for a build process as close to that of a hands-on manual build as you can get with CNC. With Aspire or Rhino, you are going in and deconstructing your model, re-constructing it to the new design, and then re-applying the toolpaths to fit the new geometry.
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

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  9. #8
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    I'd also recommend Fusion 360. The CAM package built in to Fusion is the same one we were buying for biomedical research machining 5-6 years ago at $10,000 a seat. ASPIRE & Vectric are like buckets, Rhino/RhinoCAM is a wheelbarrow, and Fusion 360 is like having a Cat excavator.
    The difference is that Fusion 360 is parametric. Need a longer scale length? Type in the longer scale length and the neck geometry automatically updates (if properly drawn). If you change the location of a pickup, the G-code automatically updates and the next program you run will reflect that change. It allows for a build process as close to that of a hands-on manual build as you can get with CNC. With Aspire or Rhino, you are going in and deconstructing your model, re-constructing it to the new design, and then re-applying the toolpaths to fit the new geometry.
    For a small dig in your garden where excavator cannot reach and wheelbarrow will damage the green, sometimes the bucket is all you need...
    It is true that parametric models are the most advanced CAD tool out there, but probably too much work and learning curve for traditional mandolin builder, and doing that PROPERLY is yet another level - it is easy to find after many hours spent that you did not byuild teh model properly that it won't allow the changes you need. you would have to spend many hours thinking about the design before you sit at the computer. If you build whole range of instruments and can use it to your advantage by using interchangeable parts and designs. Also guitar makers who do whole range of custom models can use it, but typical mandolin builder builds just two basic body options - F or A and the rest is purely cosmetic. The graduations are typically finished by hand, outside arch almost invariably carved to the same pattern etc (and I cannot see use of parametric model if one is after Loar specs from drawings).
    So once you generate code for the few options you need you won't have to touch the CAD for a long while (unless you want to do change in design).
    Adrian

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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Thanks to all who responded. Fusion 360 sounds amazing, but I fear that the learning curve will be way too steep with a program like that . Since so many of my luthier friends are using Rhino, I do have many resources as questions arise. As i said before: at 65, I'm really not looking to set up a production situation for any of my instruments. My 2d program pretty much does what i want it to do: save me from the mallet and chisel when i build mandos and /or archtops. I appreciate the responses, folks.

    Thanks: Karl

  12. #10

    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    For a small dig in your garden where excavator cannot reach and wheelbarrow will damage the green, sometimes the bucket is all you need....
    It basically comes down to whether you want the CNC machine to be a pattern carver making the same thing over and over again, or if you want the flexibility for it to be a seamless extension of your thought process, allowing you to do something different every time. My instruments are always different, so a static program would be of little use to me. Coming up with something original is as interesting to me as playing the final product. So that's just where I'm coming from with my opinion.
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

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  14. #11
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    It basically comes down to whether you want the CNC machine to be a pattern carver making the same thing over and over again, or if you want the flexibility for it to be a seamless extension of your thought process, allowing you to do something different every time. My instruments are always different, so a static program would be of little use to me. Coming up with something original is as interesting to me as playing the final product. So that's just where I'm coming from with my opinion.
    Marty, you are one of very FEW standing out among us "Loar nerds", LOL.
    Adrian

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  16. #12

    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Marty, you are one of very FEW standing out among us "Loar nerds", LOL.
    There's no way I could compete with you guys...
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

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  18. #13
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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    I like the process of carving and voicing... what i don't like is hogging out the wood to get close enough to do the 'fancy stuff' I would never be interested in using the CNC as a duplicator. My 2 D program does this , so I've decided to stick with my 'get it close' program and save the couple grand to use for a new machine or other shop upgrade... thanks very much for your feedback, folks.

    Karl

  19. #14
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    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    I'm working on my first mandolin using a cnc and Aspire. I used a probe and digitized the top and back to create the program. I'm not good enough to design in 3d using any program. Using the probe works good for roughing, but still leaves a lot of finish work. I do a lot of inlay work on many different projects and I really like Aspire for that.

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  21. #15

    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    HI all
    I'm also on the way to build with CNC.
    I've start from ground 0 , because I've built myself my machine , 700mm for X , 600 mm for Y and 200mm for Z.
    I've bought motor and ball screws and drivers cards from China .
    The machine works pretty well since just one week . I just try to adjust everything for having a good machine .

    For software , I've decide to use freecad as CAD program , it's NOT easy to use , but it's free .
    you can draw your 3D model and generate paths with the same software .
    It take for me more than 4 months to manage freecad.
    After that Camotics to simulate paths , and see if all seem logic and good.

    and LinuxCNC for the realwork .
    My goal is not to make many instruments , just work in a different way .
    Here a photo of a 3D F5 top after a lot lot lot of time on the keyboard

    BTW , I use Adrian's paper plans I bought a long time ago , the plans are always on my desk.
    I must repeat , Freecad is NOT easy to use , but it's free .
    Jean
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  23. #16

    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Good to see you back, Jean. Your machine sounds good. Let us know how it works out.
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

  24. #17

    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Good to see you back, Jean. Your machine sounds good. Let us know how it works out.
    Thanks Marty , I will take some pics as soon as the machine will really work .

  25. #18

    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    On the image of the neck block, what size cutter are you using? 3mm? Typically it is hard to get good results with a deep profile like that. The rule of thumb for cuts in wood is that you can get good results up to 6x the cutter diameter. You may need to cut most of the block with a larger cutter and then use the smaller cutter just for the inside of the scroll slot. Or you could cut it halfway on each side, using index pins to locate the other side of the part.
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

  26. #19

    Default Re: CAD/CNC question: anyone using ASPIRE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    On the image of the neck block, what size cutter are you using? 3mm? Typically it is hard to get good results with a deep profile like that. The rule of thumb for cuts in wood is that you can get good results up to 6x the cutter diameter. You may need to cut most of the block with a larger cutter and then use the smaller cutter just for the inside of the scroll slot. Or you could cut it halfway on each side, using index pins to locate the other side of the part.
    Thanks Marty , but the images I"ve send are just examples of what is possible to do with Freecad
    I'm conscient that it's impossible to cut in perfect conditions with a small cutter , but thanks to
    notice that point .

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