Preparing the instrument
The operator places the instrument – strung to pitch – in the cradle door and aligns it with a simple positioning device. String gauge, fret width measurements and some basic info are entered in searchable fields. The cradle door is closed and the operator starts the program sequence.
The instrument scan measures string spacing, distances to neck edge, action at the first and twelfth frets, board radius and relief and fret height throughout. This can be graphically displayed to compare the existing fret plane, board adjustment, fret height and action to any desired target info. This not only illustrates problem areas, but also aids with adjustment and serves as a source for all the procedures that follow. All data is filtered through the tried and tested plek algorithms of fret plane relief for a given action and gauge.
The Virtual Fret Dress
The heart of the plek process is the “Virtual Fret Dress”. In this interactive window, the frets can be “dressed” using an idealized surface, a software “dressing file” that can be manipulated until all low spots are touched either with the minimum amount of fret material removed or until the “finished” frets are at target height. This is an extremely user-oriented program that allows any preferred dress to be done for any action and with any compound radius and/or upper end “fall-off” implemented etc. The operator can work in his/her usual style except that many different fret “solutions” can be studied in a virtual mode. Then, when ready, the strings are loosened, held to the side and the frets are cut exactly as designed.
With the strings out of the way, the fret dressing is performed, the nut slots and nut surface can be cut if selected, and a saddle, mounted in the saddle vise, can be trimmed, all in one process. If the HFS cutter bits need to be changed, the plek program will produce an audio signal and screen command when necessary. A final scan after re-stringing is suggested for the history files. Again, this will result in an extremely precise fret plane, nut slots and a saddle height that yields the exact target action when re-strung.
The frets, nut and saddle will only require a minimum of surface polishing, a matter of a few minutes, to complete the job. There is a simple suggested procedure for this.
Plek station requirements (ca. 580 KB)