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Thread: dupli-carvers

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    Hey guy's:I was wondering if anyone out there might be able to give me a little info on duplicater machines.I've been shopping around a little and have found a machine called the Marlin CM-624.If anybody has one of these carvers or knows of a better one for the money please do tell.The company who makes the Marlin is(terrco).They said a lot of guy's who build both guitars and mando's use this machine.I beleive i saw one at Dudenbostels site,but i was'nt sure if it was a marlin or not. thanx in advance! Jim

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    Dude uses a Shopbot cnc now, but used to use a Marlin.I got the 24" model, but wish I had only gotten the 12".That's all you need for mandolins, but if you think you'll ever do archtop guitars, you would need the bigger one. I think the 12' would be more rigid than the 24" because one rail rider can get ahead of the other and the longer length between the feeler and router can get a little deflection if you make a quick move ...,but even then,this thing does a great job when it's set up right.

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    I use the cm-614 it does a pretty good job the only complaint I have with it is you have to keep an eye on the pivot screws sometimes they come loose which will throw off the height of the router or stylus. had to scrap a top due to this but for the most part it works fine. I used to use a craftsman router recreator. it is a little cheaper if you can find one but it rides on rails and a cable not the steel bars like the marlin. they dont make the craftsman any more but you still can order all the parts to build one yourself I think it is around $400. the marlin cost me right at $1000.00
    Rose mandos and the tone they produce

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    Thanks guy's:I don't mean to be nosey;but i was wondering if you got your machines from terrco or is there another dealer out there some where?I have been surfing the web and have found lot's of discriptions of these machine's,but i havent found any retailers other than terrco.I was also wondering about how long it takes to do a mando top.I've been making some arch top guitar top's for(begged me not to tell)somebody else and it is extremely time consuming.It's got to the point now the guitar tops are cutting in to my quality mandolin sawdust producing time;and that hurts my feelings.thanx guy's Jim

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    I got mine from Terrco. About $700 as I recall.I already had the router that works with it.

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    Jim:How long have you had yours?Terrco quoted me $1050.00

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    About 3 years.

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    Registered User P Josey's Avatar
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    Here's a site you may find interesting. I've built one of these and it works excellent. #For those of us on a budget, this cost me about $225-$250 USD. It took only a morning to build. The designer says his the biggest users of this are instrument builders. Just another option # Here



    Paul Josey

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    I had a Marlin (now Terrco) and used it for several years. I hated running that thing! It was the part of building that I would always dread. Nothing wrong with the duplicator, but it would throw dust/chips everywhere, and hanging onto the stylus with my right hand, and the router with my left was very tiring. Also, after running the thing for a couple of hours, I'd find my left hand shaking from the high freq. vibration in the router, much like running a leaf blower for a while. Long term, this isn't good for you.... not if you want to still have good use of your hands in your old age! I did use a good Porter Cable router, so the vibration was minimized as much as possible. I'm now using a ShopBot PRT48 and loving it! Don't get me wrong, the Marlin is better than carving by hand. If you are just building the occasional mandolin, the Marlin is fine, but for someone building quite a few instruments, there's nothing like CNC.

    Look for a used Marlin. I've seen older ones go for $300 and newer ones around $500. They are faily plentiful, and with more people switching to CNC, more used ones are out there. A couple of years ago, Steve Smith and I went to the IWF show in Atlanta. The CNC company booths were really busy. The Terrco folks were as lonely as the Maytag repairman. The Marlins still have their place, especially for the hobbiest and lower production shops. Heck, I think even Steve G. still uses a duplicator, and he's not exactly low production compared to some of us!

    Best regards,
    Lynn

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    Thank's everyone!P.Josey that copier sure would save a few dollars for diapers and baby food!My wife just found out she's expecting;due in september.We already have two boy's and her docter say's she may be carrying twins.Maybe i could give them a mandolin neck without finish on it for teething! Thank's again all. Jim

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    Lynn, what would an entry level ShopBot with programming to do mandolin top and back plates cost. Do you need special training to program them and how user friendly are they? It does seem like the way to go but do you think it justified for low production builders.
    Paul Josey

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    Look at www.shopbottools.com They have prices there. Last I looked, the smaller table top model (plenty big for mandos and guitars) was $4995. You'll have to supply a PC, but it doesn't take much of a computer to run it. I use an old 100 mg Pentium dinosaur. It will run it at full speed. You'll probably want a digitizing probe to probe your patterns. That's another $250, and add another $300 or so for a router. You can spend a ton on software, but I use the probe with the software that comes with the "bot and also Vector CAD/CAM that use to come with the ShopBot. They now have better software packaged with it. Only thing I use Vector for is creating offsets for making larger binding channels in my peghead veneers. To "draw" F holes and peghead veneers, I use CorelDraw. If you don't mind an older version, you can buy 8.0 on eBay for $25. IT's all you need. But, you can spend several times the cost of the machine on software, if you are so inclined. I've spent $25, and that's all on software. Another possibility is to find someone who is a whiz at CAD/CAM and pay them to create your programs. That might be the most cost effective route. Any .dxf file can be converted using the ShopBot software to the proprietary .sbp ShopBot code. It's quite user friendly and the support from the people at ShopBot is nothing less than amazing. If it's a problem with something besides the ShopBot, like trying to figure out how to trace a bitmap drawing with the bezier tool in CorelDraw, ShopBot hosts a great forum where you can get a lot of help with other issues. There is a learning curve and some inital set-up time.

    Is it cost effective for the small shop? Depends on how many instruments you build a year. If I were only doing 2 or 3 a year, I might not be tempted. I turn out about 12 instruments a year and I wouldn't think of trying to build without it.

    Lynn

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    I ran across an interesting duplicator at the NAMM show, do a google search for multicarver. It's not real cheap but it is well made and of a good design for this sort of machine.

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    Thanks every one!Michael i went to your site and looked around.I had remembered someone saying you built archtop guitars,but i had no idea they looked that good.If i had lynn and Jim's money i would go ahead and get an excel,maybe a signiture,and a wing feather!Michael your wing feather made me drool on my keyboard.Being serious they look superb. Jim

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    Guy's thanks for all the good info.I went with the marlin cm-624.I will probably be needing all kinds of new questions answered now.
    Lynn i wish i had of known you was selling your old machine.I don't live to far away from you.
    Jim

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    I sold it a couple of years ago. It's long gone. Ron Cole is putting it to good use now!

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    ZZCHOP, thanks for the comments, just let me know when you want one and I'll get you in line, I know the boss.

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    Michael:I'm still waiting on Lynn to loan me #his spare pocket change.Legend has it both,Lynn and Jim Hilburn uses their uneeded fifty dollar bill's to back with 220 grit
    sandpaper,for sanding inside that dreaded scroll area.
    # #just kidding guy's don't drill me # # # #Jim




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    I've found that hundreds hold up much better than the fifties. I know, you'd think they would use the same paper on all the money, but they actually use the much heavier stuff on the higher denominations.

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    I'm surprised that there isn't much discussion re the Gemini carver. They had a booth at the ASIA convention last summer in Maryland. The Gemini is very sweet compared to the Terrco/Marlin. Last time I saw a price, it was around 3K. That puts it right between the Terrco and the Shopbot. Attainable for those who aren't planning to get bigger or build full-time, and a good intermediate alternative for someone working their way up. Also remember that the Shopbot is at the low end of CNC. One builder I know has gotten one and thinks that it is just fine. Another thought that the Shopbot just wasn't precise enough, and went for something costing twice as much.

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    Jim:I for one am certainly glad you actually keep those hundreds in possesion long enough to gauge the thickness.I find it hard to keep em long enough to get a caliper any where close to em!Dave:I searched pretty hard for carving machines,and i can't remember seeing any of the gemini's on line.I was just wondering if you saw the one at the show in action?Actually most of my searches came up with shopbot and terrco-marlin.
    I was also wondering just how precise you can get with these carvers;and Jim since you are already using a marlin maybe you could suggest some good bit's.
    Guy's i know this thread has went on a way's but i have many more question's.I feel like a kid in a candy store.
    Best,
    Jim

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    I've used mine just to get rid of the bulk of the excess wood, and rely on "other means" to bring it home. Jamie Wiens has a home made carver and he says he cuts his scroll binding rabbit's with it. I can't imagine trying that with my machine. I actually need to detail the scroll ridge on the templates and work with a smaller probe-bit to get the scroll a little closer, but this thing can quickly remove wood that you wish was still there is your not careful.
    I made a template for the neck and roughed out one,but that seemed kind of scary,and it's not that much more work to hand shape them. My problem is having the time to experiment with it more to see what I can do with it.
    As far as the $ is concerned, I think you have me confused with Michael Lewis.

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    Registered User P Josey's Avatar
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    I have the same shop built carver Jamie Wiens has. The stylus holder in this carver is an old 1/2" drill chuck and my router is a Porter Cable with a 1/4" chuck. I'm on my way to making a point here. The cutting path is slightly larger than the stylus. In other words, a 1/2 " router bit will cut slightly larger than 1/2"". I took each of my bits and plowed a path. I then went to the local machine shop where they measured the plowed path and turned the stylus' to match. (.147"stylus-.125" bit) This way I have much improved accuracy. Jamie suggested this to me when I asked him about bits. Something to consider which ever bits you decide on.
    Paul Josey

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    So far, after almost 3 years with the ShopBot, I've not found accuracy/precision to be an issue. I cut a channel in my peghead veneers to "inlay" my binding and this is pretty precise work. The ShopBot comes thru with flying colors. I will say, in light of the fact that you have to assemble the machine yourself, ultimately the accuracy/precision is dependent upon how well you align parts during assembly. I use a 1/16" solid carbide bit to cut my veneers, and I believe I could run the program 50 times on the same part and have no more than 0.001" to 0.002" error. Sure, a servo drive unit is accurate to 0.0001", but you are talking a lot more money too, and face it, we can't hold those kinds of tolerances with wood. In practical use, I find the 'Bot to hold much tighter tolerances than claimed by the manufacturer.

    I've seen photos and ads for the Gemini, and I think Steve Smith in Texas has one. Personally, I find $3000 for a manual duplicator to be way too high in light of good CNC being available at $4995! I would probably opt to attempt to build a manual duplicator before I spent $3000 on one.

    Lynn

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    Lynn, I was kinda wondering if you have your old graduation templates kicking around.I thought maybe.....Oh,never mind.
    Paul Josey

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