3D Topographic Maps

Published January 22, 2018

After building my CNC Router, I wanted to see if I could make three dimensional relief maps. I set about downloading elevation data from the USGS National Elevation Dataset and writing a small script to convert the raw data into a format and scale which worked reasonably well with my 3D modeling software. After converting this data into 3D models, I used CAM software to create g-code tool paths for my CNC Router. I began carving these relief maps into insulation foam.

At this point, I began to realize some of the limitations of my CNC Router, namely:

  1. slow and unreliable stepper motor control circuitry.
  2. backlash in threaded rod/ nut combo used as lead screws.
  3. ‘runout’ in wood router.

This project is on hold until I’m able to make certain upgrades to my CNC Router.