I've been very busy lately.
see, Angeltone has been an one man operation since 2004, and
I've been trying to bring it
into the 21st century. Not only do I have new models to release, but I also am writing new ads,
researching marketing ideas, and going to school studying modern manufacturing methods
all at the same time too... such as additive machining.
What is additive machining?
Additive machining means instead of starting out with a
piece of material and cutting parts out of it,
you actually add material to the piece to make a finished part. A great example of this is the machine
I just bought - a Creality Ender 3 3D printer.
printers use molten plastic and computer controls to make
plastic parts, instead of 'old school'
casting or injection molding them. Basically, it works like a hot glue gun on steroids. The spool on top
is full of plastic filament, sort of like the kind you find in a weedwacker. The extruder head melts the
plastic like the hot glue gun melts glue, and the rest of it computer controls when and where the
plastic goes onto the part. The Ender 3 is a high resolution printer that can use many different
types of plastic depending on how it's configured, from softer flexible plastics to carbon fiber
or even wood or metal composite types!
Why is this cool?
be the machinist in me, but I take real pride in being able
to make as many of my own parts
as possible. You see, many other manufacturers order their own parts from various web vendors -
the exact same web vendors 'everybody else' orders theirs from. I learned early on that if you can't
control the quality or quantity of the parts you use, you can't control the quality of your finished pickups
either. The real problem is this - if I want to make my own plastic parts like humbucking pickup
coil bobbins or Strat type pickup covers and knobs, I can either order them 'like everybody else does'
(and hope they will work) or spend thousands of dollars on making molds for the parts - and then
finding somebody with an injection molding machine willing to mold them for me. Even worse, every
different plastic part I need would need its own multithousand dollar mold for each one - and if
the mold doesn't work for some reason you have to make a new one!
printer is cool because (for example) if I need 96 black
'six string' pickup coil bobbins
for humbucking pickups, I can program the printer to make my part, load the right color material
into it, and the printer does the rest. If I want to make cream bobbins instead, I just remove the black
plastic and load it with that color. Since I am running the machine, I can control the quality of the parts
I use. Even cooler, I can change the size and shape of a part by just changing my programming
instead of making new molds. If I want to make some eight string humbucker bobbins instead of
regular six string ones, I can reprogram the computer and be running them in less than an hour!
better, I can use the Ender 3 to make parts I can't find for
some of my other machines...
like my 1940's Geo. Stevens pickup coil winder!