Small but Mighty… Talented, That Is

Every once in a while, the editors at MMT are approached by a public relations company with an idea for a mold-manufacturing-related story. Sometimes there’s something unique or intriguing about the mold building company involved, or the people who work there, that catches the eye and we just have to blog about it. Meet Emory Custom Tooling in Gilmer, Texas.

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Emory Custom Tooling rocks the CNC.

 

Every once in a while, the editors at MMT are approached by a public relations company with an idea for a mold-manufacturing-related story. Sometimes there’s something unique or intriguing about the mold building company involved, or the people who work there, that catches the eye and we just have to blog about it. Meet Emory Custom Tooling in Gilmer, Texas.

Emory is a small company of four employees that was founded by Mark Emory in 1989. According to the information provided about this company, it builds molds and tooling for such products as computer mouse wheels, plastic ammunition shells, foam fast food packaging, women's cosmetic cases, and aerospace connectors for the space shuttle and the Mars Rover. Emory Custom Tooling uses Mastercam CAD/CAM software from CNC Software Inc. to both design custom molds and program toolpaths for its CNC milling machines in its 1,860-square-foot shop.

Looking at the company’s website, you can see it’s an impressive operation, but that’s not the only reason I’m blogging about them. There’s something else going on under Emory Custom Tooling’s roof, and it’s pretty great. Mark’s son Drew brings the second generation factor into the company, working side-by-side with his dad for more than eight years programming and running the EDM machines, but he also loves to make their machines rock—and by “rock”, I mean cutting metal to build amazing custom guitars.

Like so many moldmakers, Drew has an outside passion that he has been able to bring into his work life. By night, he occasionally plays in a rock band and, with his business partner Myke Wilkerson, he moonlights and designs an impressive array of electric guitars with bodies carved from solid aluminum billets. Using Solidworks to design guitar bodies and Mastercam Dynamic Motion technology to program toolpaths for CNC, Drew and Myke transform a 40 lb. aluminum billet down to a unique and well-balanced body shape weighing approximately 7.5 lbs. and it takes only about 20 minutes per side. After many painstaking manufacturing steps, the finished product is a impressive in looks and sound that is comparable to their wood tone counterparts, according to Drew. “We wanted the 660 bodies to be reliable. Our wood ones kept breaking. We didn’t realize the 660s would sound as great as they do when we built our first one, but that’s become one of the best qualities about them, the warm tone,” he says, adding, "We are guitar players. This has been a labor of love for us and we are so excited to have people play them!”

Emory’s 660 Guitar Models sell for about $3,400, which he says is a great value for musicians who often have to pay twice that for a wood guitar of similar quality. “The 660 Guitars line was formally introduced at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show in Anaheim in January,” says Drew. “Many musicians have been impressed by the sound, aesthetics, and quality of the instruments.”

How cool is it that this small mold manufacturing company is also the workshop of a talented designer and maker of acclaimed metal guitars? Small but mighty talented! Check out this video which describes how the guitars are made.

What’s your passion? How does it relate to moldmaking or what skills do you use that you also need in moldmaking? Share via email to me or in this blog!

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