New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Please put your pickup/wiring discussions in the Electronics section; and put discussions about repair issues, including "disappearing" errors in new instruments, in the Repairs section.

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:45 am

061_Drilling_trem_cavity.jpg
Back to the body again. I drilled the trem block cavity with a 20 mm forstner drill bit first...


062_Routing_trem_cavity.jpg
... and finished the job with a router and a template.


063_Drilling_trem_spring_cavity.jpg
The same procedure for the trem spring cavity: first the forstner...


064_Routing_trem_spring_cavity.jpg
...then the router.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:05 am

At this stage the neck was pretty much finished, just the frets needed to be levelled, crowned and dressed. So I installed the neck with tuners to the body, installed the trem and strung the guitar to check what I'd have to to do before the paint job. The first job was to check the fretboard for fret buzz. So picked each string at every fret to find the frets that needed to be filed down.

068_Checking_neck_for_fret_buzz.jpg


069_Using_scraper as_fret_rocker.jpg
I use a common rectangular scraper as a fret rocker. Works fine.


071_Levelling_frets.jpg
I marked the problem frets with a felt tip pen, levelled the frets with a triangular file first and rounded them off with a crowning file.


073_Polishing_frets.jpg
After sanding the filed-down and crowned frets with 800, 1200 and 2000 grit papers I polished them with polishing wax and a felt buffer.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:41 am

074_Soldering_the_electronics.jpg
The electronics getting assembled here. I shielded the pickguard with self-adhesive "2 wide aluminium tape, installed the pickups, the pickup selector switch and the pots.


075_Checking_out_sound_and_playability.jpg
Once the pickguard assembly was complete I was dying to hear and feel the guitar in action. So I plugged it to my practice amp and tried it out. The amp is a rather terrible 15W cheapo solid state bundle amp from Thomann's, but it gives a hint of things to come. The guitar had a good playability, the pickups were powerful and everything worked fine. I also tried it out with a 50W hybrid head & cab and was delighted with the sound. This babe was going to be a good one.


077_Sanding_body_contour.jpg
I disassembled the guitar and returned to woodwork. I cut a body back contour with a belt sander before fine sanding everything with plane and detail sanders and by hand prior to the paint job.


The paint job is always the most tedious part of every build, but it pays off in the end. Sometimes I end up sanding off the paint and starting all over again, as I did this time too. I had sprayed two layers of white primer and topped it with silver paint, 1 tbsp of silver powder in 250 millilitres of clearcoat diluted with thinner 1:1. My intention was to achieve an bright yellow candy finish. The result was not what I was looking for. Bright yellow transparent tint looked green on top of the blueish silver and adding red tint to the mixture turned it brownish orange. The silver undercoat worked fine with red, blue and green tints, but yellow was going to need a neutral white background and a different powder to add the sparkle I wanted.

078_Sanding_off_paint.jpg
Sanding off a bad paint job.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:30 am

:) I laid the project aside for a while to find a solution to the paint problem - and eventually I found one. I repainted the body and the face of the headstock with white primer and topped it with my new mixture: 1 tbsp of pearlescent powder, 1 tbsp of reflective glass powder (commonly used in traffic signs) and 300 ml of clear lacquer diluted with thinner in a 1:1 ratio. I sprayed the mixture with a lower tank spray gun set at a 6 bar pressure. I kept the spray gun in a constant whirling motion to prevent the heavy glass powder from setting at the bottom of the tank.

I found the right stuff on AliExpress, the powders cost about 8€ for 250 grams each and they arrived in a few weeks with free delivery. The result was just what I had chased all along. When sprayed with a transparent yellow tint the powder combination gave a radiant glow that got enhanced by every coat of clear lacquer I added.

079_Spraying_body_with_yellow_tint.jpg
Spraying yellow tint.


After the yellow tint I sprayed a coat of 2-component acrylic lacquer and let it cure before gluing a black 6 mm binding to the body front edge. I was a bit nervous about the lacquer, as it was a new acquaintance to me. My favourite lacquer, Troton Scratch Resistant in no longer available and the importer recommended another Polish product Profix CP 2016 VHS 2K to replace it with. The new stuff is not quite as hard as the old one, but it's easier to sand and with a good buffing it gives a really nice mirror-like high gloss surface. Once I got the air pressure and the spray gun settings right, Profix was easy to spray and didn't run easily. It cures in 10 hrs, but before final sanding I let it cure for 24 hrs. So far I haven't found it prone to scratches, so I think we're going to get along just fine. :)

I glued the black ABS plastic binding to the body with CA glue and secured it with masking tape. Around the body horns I heated the binding with a hot air pistol to soften the plastic and not break it when bending it.

084_Heating_binding_with_hot_air_pistol.jpg
Heating binding with hot air.


085_Applying_CA_glue_to_binding_channel.jpg
Adding glue.


087_Scraping_binding_flush_with_body.jpg
After gluing the binding I levelled it flush with the body with a scraper.


089_Decals_in_place.jpg
Before another coat of lacquer I put transfer decal logos on the headstock. I've designed the logos with Adobe Illustrator and printed them on a transfer decal sheet with a laser printer. The decals are cut out, soaked in lukewarm water for a minute and gently glued where I want them. I used to assemble miniature models of fighter planes and tanks as a kid, so these decals are an old friend to me.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:48 am

The next steps were spraying layer after layer of clearcoat and wet sanding with soap water and 400, 800 & 1200 grit papers between coats. I sprayed no less than 7 coats of clear lacquer and sanded in between.

102_Masking_fretboard.jpg
Masking the fretboard before spraying lacquer.


091_Spraying_clearcoat.jpg
Here comes the second coat of lacquer. Five more to go.


095_Intermediate_wet_sanding.jpg
Sanding...


098_Intermediate_wet_sanding.jpg
... sanding...


100_Intermediate_wet_sanding.jpg
...and sanding some more.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:00 am

After the final coat of clear lacquer I sanded the project one last time - with 800, 1200, 1500, 2000 & 2500 grit papers.

109_Final_sanding.jpg
110_Final_sanding.jpg


Time to shine! I polished the smooth sanded lacquer with Farécla G3 and G10 compounds, a buffing sponge and an air-driven random orbital sander. I polished twice with G3 medium coarse paste and twice with G10 fine liquid, wiping off paste residue with a micro fibre cloth as I went on.

111_Polishing_headstock.jpg
113_Polishing_headstock.jpg
116_Polishing_body.jpg
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:09 am

118_Polishing_body.jpg
Polishing the body.


119_Polishing_body.jpg
The tricky parts had to be polished with a buffing wheel attached to a power drill extension.


With all the parts polished I could begin reassembling the guitar, starting with installing the tuners.

120_Installing_tuners.jpg
121_Installing_tuners.jpg
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:19 am

I shielded the pickup cavity and the control cavity carefully with conductive copper tape. With the shielding connected to the grounds there is, to my delight, very little hum.

122_Shielding_pickup_cavity.jpg

123_Soldering_pickguard_to_jack_&_ground.jpg
Soldering the pickguard to the output jack and the grounds.


125_Installing_pickguard.jpg
Installing the pickguard...


126_Installing_trem_bridge.jpg
...and the tremolo bridge.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: New build: The Alligatrix Stinger solid body electric

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:29 am

127_Installing_neck.jpg
Installing the bolt-on neck. I prefer using ferrules to attachment plates, both for aesthetic reasons and because they don't get in the way when playing on the uppermost frets.


128_Stringing_the_guitar.jpg
I strung the guitar with Dean Markley Blue Steel 10 series strings. They have nice smooth feel and a bright sound.


129_Alive_She_Cried.jpg
I tuned the guitar and tried it out with my 50W hybrid head & cab. Yes! Alive she cried!


Th-that's all, folks! I hope you'll enjoy this thread. :D
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

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