We got a note recently from Abe Wechter at Wechter Guitars about their new Plek fret dressing machine which they use to set up new guitars prior to shipping. The device is a German-made, computer-assisted apparatus that does a detailed virtual imaging of the neck while the instrument is strung up to pitch.
Plek describes their process as follows:
The scan generates many graphic images, complete with extensive dimensional data regarding the neck, fingerboard, frets, strings, nut and bridge. In other words, it allows you to choose and view any aspect of the neck, frets and strings in detail while providing measurements of everything. The technician can then do a virtual fret dress on the computer monitor, applying any of the usual preferences and styles that go into an ideal fret dress for that instrument.
Then, when this virtual fret dress is ready, the loosened strings are moved to the side of the neck so that the Plek can dress and shape the frets. The Plek then does that exact fret dress extremely accurately and referenced to its original scan so that, when restrung, the fret plane is level, the relief is ideal and the finished fret shape is very consistent. All of this is done to tolerances as tight as .0004in., far more accurate than manual work and consistent every time.
Wechter says that they use their Plek Pro to file frets, cut nuts and trim saddles on all new guitars. The Plek can also be used to set personalized, custom string height and playability preferences for existing Wechter guitar owners.
More details are available on the Plek web site.