Case Study - Precision Turntable

George Widman manufactures high precision turntables on his ShopBot CNC machine and he was kind enough to share his experience in using VCarve Pro to build his business and help bring his customers’ old vinyl collections back to life.
George has over 25 years experience with CAD and computer graphics programs and has always been interested in creatively thinking how to use the latest programs and technology to achieve design excellence:

"Back in the early 80's when computer graphics for printing and communications, such as slide presentations, was just getting started I was fascinated by the possibilities of computers for graphics and design. Over the years I’ve taken a number of CAD courses and became involved in CAD/CAM for my business."

About 11 years ago George started a business that manufactures products from recycled plastic. Originally he designed products targeted to gun clubs: gun rack, scorer’s chairs and park benches. All his early products were designed on his CAD system before cutting the parts his ShopBot, however George found moving the designs from a general CAD program to the CNC machine a real pain as his describes;

“I really disliked the conversion software that took my CAD files and converted them to machine code so I was looking for something better. Then I came across VCarve Pro. It was an absolute 100% improvement over what I had been using. When I do use my CAD software for the initial design the importing of the 2D design is a breeze and all the set-up for the CNC machine is easily done with VCarve.”

About six years ago George became interested in reviving his old vinyl LP collection. Having all the equipment at his disposal due to his business he decided to design and make his first turntable

“One thing led to another and I couldn’t stop making improvements and redesigning things, so six years later here I am introducing the George-Warren turntable.”

George uses VCarve Pro to design and manufacture the turntable plinths (the base or foundation of a turntable). He offers two types of turntables; painted models (using painted MDF) and hardwood models, here he describes the differences in making them..

“The process for making the two types of plinth is a little different, but once they come off the ShopBot they are identical in shape and dimensions.

The painted MDF plinths start off as 1.375" thick MDF sheets. Once the part comes off the ShopBot it will be sanded, primed and painted either gloss black or gloss black cherry. Those are the two colors I offer at this time. The hardwood models are worked a bit differently. I hand pick the hardwood I will be using. The hardwood is cut, glued together to form the basic shape, faced down on the ShopBot to the specified thickness and then cut to shape on the ShopBot. When that comes off the machine it is then sanded and hand finished with tung oil.”

George’s turntables feature a true split plinth with a two-stage design. Instead of placing the upper plinth supports directly over the lower plinth supports, they are rotated 60 degrees off line. This off-set configuration adds an extra dimension of vibration dampening.

Supporting the lower plinth, an air-dampened spring mechanism absorbs vibrations from footsteps or other long wavelength energy. Visco-elastic polymer pucks support the top plinth to absorb higher frequency energy such as sound waves from the speakers. Together, the top and bottom plinths provide a solid platform which eliminates vibration from the outside world.

“V-Carve makes it easy for me to make small changes to a design. It also makes it easy to try different cutting tools and different tool diameters. It’s very easy to learn and to use, very intuitive.”

George Widman
George-Warren Precision Sound

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