Apr 29 2016

Wooden world map NASA sculpture creation with CNC

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Wooden world map NASA sculpture creation

45 years ago, on the very first Earth Day millions of humans decided to stand up for their planet. They joined force against pollution, deforestation, pesticides and oil spills … issues that continue to resonate with us today. Since we all have to care about this planet that we are living in, I wanted to make a wooden world map and do something to raise awareness and to show that we are all responsible whether is in your city, in your neighborhood or in your own life to protect our beloved earth from any kind of harm.

So for this occasion I wanted contribute with something I’m good at, and what I’m good at is creating something from pieces of materials with CNC machining.
My ide a was to engraving a 2.5D world map on a piece of wood, but this is not that impressive right? You are probably saying this has been done a million times and is not that original of an idea. But to that i say to you: What if the world map is a high resolution detailed height map from the Blue marble NASA project map? That would be awesome. In order to make my projet more realistic i thought that i would go to the NASA website and check out what height maps they had for the earth. In eessence, use NASA records to sculpt the earth correctly and with realistic details. For who doesn’t know what it is, this is a small definition:
NASA’s “Blue Marble” pictures of Earth show each month of the year 2004 to illustrate changes in snow cover and vegetation. This is a link to it

earth3
So after stitching the huge heightmaps files together and raising the waterline so that the continents were more visible, I got everything mechanical ready and I started working on it. I was using my Badog CNC so normally there is no hard setup or work to do for the piece because the table work area is small but this time it was different with a huge work surface and no real way to tie down the piece. The first attempt was great until about 16 hours of hard work machining when I ripped through the center of my piece. Iguess the depth was a little too deep and the wood strterted to bend upwards until my tool ripped through. this is happened:


I was alomost in tears, i thought, “I’m not going to make it to 22 April, the wood warped and I ripped through, I went too deep and ruined it!”. The good news was that my machine didn’t touch the table, smoke the motors and burn down the whole garage. I gathered myself and redid it. Broken wooden world map.
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Today, after 22 hours’ of machine work with a rental Badog Artisan CNC, (thanks to my friend André who let me use everything from his awesome kit to his garage to his cold beers) . In the end it had taken me 3 weeks to finish completely the NASA wooden world map. firstly i had to  transform the image into a complete heightmap, then translate the image into machine code with BMP2CNC software, choose and start to mill the wood. I had used 2 tools: one for rough and one for fininishing. The rough tool that i had chosen was a 10mm flat whereas the fine tool that i had chosen was a 3mm tapered ball mill. The rough passes only took about 6 hours and the fine work took a whopping 16 hours. but i was pushing into the wood with a 4.5kw Badog head so i saves some time. This is the best work I’ve ever done. I thought I share it with you although I didn’t make it to the deadline.

world map nasa sculpture 3

world map nasa sculpture 5


world map nasa sculpture 2


This project should have been posted on Friday, 22 April but I couldn’t post it then, I didn’t want to cancel the project to the next year, because earth day should be everyday.

If you want high resolution images email me directly