CNC Routing Topographical Maps Saves Time & Money over 3D Printing

Are you currently spending the time and money to 3D print topographical maps and wondering if there is a better solution? That’s just what a customer asked Techno CNC Systems to look into.  Bob Valentine, an applications engineer at Techno, did a time study using one of their Titan CNC machines on Precision Board HDU from Coastal Enterprises with excellent results. In this week’s guest blog, Bob walks us through their process and results, including speeds & feeds information for producing this really unique looking topographical map.


In Bob’s own words…

Techno CNC Systems latest 3 dimensional project endeavor was the complex routing of a topographical map of Mexico City. This proof of concept challenge was from a customer looking for a CNC router that could handle the production volume and reduce the material costs of their topographical maps. Their goal was to conduct a time study of routing these maps versus their current method of 3D printing them, which is timely and costly.


Having a good understanding of the project and the demands of the customer, Techno application engineers looked to use Precision Board high density urethane provided by Coastal Enterprises. The foam-like material is perfect for high speed machining, allowing the user to clearly delineate the complex contours and shapes that a 3D application requires. No sanding is required, like most wood and plastic materials, and the variety of different densities and thicknesses offered gives a shop the versatility to take on both 2D and 3D applications. Techno’s Titan CNC Router cut out the topographical map using Coastal’s 20 lb. density (PBLT-20). Though this type of density is one of the lighter ones offered by Coastal Enterprises, it effectively captured the varying complex levels and contours that were included on the map and Techno’s video.

Techno’s Titan Series CNC Router includes a 12HP HSD high frequency automatic tool changing, vacuum t-slot table, and is controlled by an easy to use handheld controller. The controller is an open architectural controller which therefore runs from any CAD/CAM programming software that outputs G&M codes. In this first prototype, only two tools were required. A ¼” two flute endmill was used to rough out the part and was run at 18,000 RPM and 300 IPM. This roughing strategy helps in clearing the majority of excess material, reducing the cutting forces produced as the machine transitions to smaller cutting tools. The finishing tool path was achieved by using a 1/8” 3 flute tapered ball endmill running at 15,000 RPM and 265 IPM.

Being able to rout a complicated and flattering piece such as this a topographical map using Precision Board High Density Urethane is the norm for Techno CNC Systems as Coastal Enterprises offers us a number of solutions and guides for finishing any and all of their products. As a CNC manufacturer, Techno chooses to let the cut quality and run time speak for itself. If you would like a time study conducted by Techno, we welcome the challenge!


Techno has sold and serviced thousands of CNC machines worldwide. Here at Techno CNC Systems, quality is defined as the precision components and workmanship built into each and every machine. High quality ensures reliable cutting and machine longevity. We know what our customers need and keep up with their demands, while remaining price conscious and delivering CNC solutions with creative design. We are continuously studying technology and designing our own equipment to better serve our customers. Whether your business is sign making, woodworking / cabinetry, plastic fabrication, musical instruments, education, foam, or general fabrication, we are ready to serve you. We produce a vast number of machine models to meet any and all production needs and budgets. Our full line CNC routers and CNC plasma cutters consist of large format and small table top sizes with a vast assortment of accessories to meet any production need. Our current family of CNC routers represent over 32+ years of CNC research and development. Contact them today at 631-648-7481 and talk with one of their sales engineers about your production needs.

Coastal Enterprises manufactures Precision Board, a versatile, cost-effective and eco-friendly urethane material used extensively in the tooling industry.  It is a closed-cell, rigid, dimensionally-stable substrate that is ideal for use in a number of different tooling applications.

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