Weekend projects?

That was my best Canadian impression.


Don’t forget to wear your bunnyhug (Saskatchewan specific).

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Just finished a quick project. I must say it is getting easier the more that I do.


Finally done with the Topographical map.


That is awesome, I’d love to do that for the area our cabin is in.


@FERomero what software did you use to make that?

Thanks for the comments.

I plan to put on a step by step under my Inventables Project page.

In a nutshell:

  1. This map is for some land in Texas so I found out the University of Texas has PDF files with very detailed topographical maps for all of its regions.
  2. I googled “convert PDF into DWG or DXF” and found out several sites would do a free conversion as a trial. So I converted the PDF into a DXF. The layer control was lost, but every PDF layer converted over with a different color, so it made it easy to select objects by color attribute in Autocad.
  3. I used Autocad LT to manipulate and transfer the relevant features into different layers. All the topographical elevations came in as splines. It took quite a a bit of sorting and prep work but I isolated all the splines I needed for the g code.
  4. I made an easel project for each individual topographical level. I cut each level from the thinnest plywood I could find.
  5. The assembly was fairly easy, I incorporated guide holes when I cut the profiles and used dowels when during assembly to align all the pieces.
  6. After the man assembly was complete I used a 3.8W Jtech laser to burn all the lines and letters. I generated gcode in easel from pfolies I had from CAD or by using the easel drawing tools. I exported the gcode and using notepad++ changed all the G1 Z+ into M5 (laser off) and all the G1 Z- into M3 S12000 (laser on). I reloaded the g code and used easel to run the laser. (it would be nice to incorporate a laser control option in easel btw).



DXF cleanup


SVG into Easel

Easel profile cuts


That is so impressive.

Wow, very complicated but very well done, great work

wow. font? two pieces stone + letters?

This reminds me of my first job as a professional model maker. The company I worked for specialized in arch/eng models. We had a contraption for cutting topos. The base of the model would be fixed upside down above the table with the plot of the contour map on the table. You would follow the contour lines with an adjustable height rotary cutter and carve away each level in urethane foam.

Some of these topos were quite large so you would be underneath with all the dust falling in your ears, eyes, hair, etc.

If you’ve ever worked with urethane foam, you understand how un-fun those days at work were. :smiley: There was no CNC equipment in a price range for small companies in those days.

Sorry, I need to be more clear than

what was the font you used?

What’s the total depth?

Rusty - what material are you using … I am about to attempt a puzzle for my son, and was thinking of 1/2 plywood to cut out the pieces and then glue the outline shape to another 1/2 plywood piece so the pieces have a base layer. But I would take your ideas.

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What bit are you using to get that depth?

long reach = 3" or 4" overall?
how long is your tapered bit?
amazon, ebay, aliexpress?

thx for link

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careful with the likes big guy, the night is young…


I’m currently using 1/2" MDF. Seems to work pretty well, all the puzzles get primed and painted and cleared. The pockets are machined using a 1/4" bit and then a detail pass with an 1/8" so it doesn’t take forever.

I’ve started look into the method you described using a 1/4" piece of plywood and gluing it to a 1/2" piece of MDF, but it seems to take the same amount of time have just the MDF. Where I need to figure out how to save time is finishing the letters.

I think I posted a while ago about my puzzle process, I’ll try to hunt it down and update this post. I hope this helps! I’d love to here if you come up with something that works well, I’m always looking for tips and improvements!

The only thing I’ve changed from the process stated below is I don’t use steel wool much before the very end. The steel wool sheds fibres when you use it and I was getting pieces in my finish.

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Rowmark metalgraph

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Heres is my project for the weekend!