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.

Request free samplesget a quote or sign up for weekly e-blasts packed with helpful information.

Gibbs Graphics: The Weatherproof Sign Experts

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It’s no big secret that some sign makers have it harder than others. It’s one thing to construct a sign for sunny, mild southern California, and quite another to make a sign that can stand up to harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures. So many more factors come into play: Will it resist moisture? Will the added weight from a more durable material make the mounting process harder? Will it need upkeep in the event of weather damage? Luckily, true signage experts know the right techniques and the right material for any job, no matter the weather. Gibbs Graphics is one such team, a full-service marketing source that began as a dimensional sign maker. Founders Rusty and Amanda Gibbs have a stellar track record of crafting signs that are equal parts form and function: Not only are their signs artistically inspired, but they have the structural backbone to weather the snow, sleet, and bitter cold of Northern Washington. Using Precision Board Plus gives them the freedom to design anything they want and still have the assurance that it will last for years. Click here to learn more about Gibbs Graphics and commission your own dimensional masterpiece.


The last few months have been busy for Gibbs Graphics. The word is out that they’re making the best weatherproof signs in town, so they’ve had ample opportunity to use Precision Board in their dimensional sign projects. One is this sign for Tamarack Public House, a new restaurant in Spokane. The owner knew the Gibbs’ reputation for high-quality signs and murals, and turned to them to make an eye-catching display for his new eatery.


The Gibbs Graphics team used two 1” sheets of PBLT-18 for the double-sided sign, glued to either side of a 3’ diameter glue laminate. Using their CNC router in conjunction with meticulous hand carving, they shaped a highly detailed silhouetted tree design, along with raised lettering at the top and a sweeping crescent moon motif. They wet out the surfaces with our FSC-88 WB primer, painted it with both latex and Ronan metallic gold paints, then mounted with a custom metal bracket.

pre finished fresh coffee

Another one of the Gibbs’ recent projects is “Fresh Coffee”, a single sided sign for a local coffee lounge. They chose 2” thick PBLT-15 for the 14” diameter sign, and routed out bold raised lettering along with a jagged starburst background.

fresh coffee

They used Ronan sign paint for the cool shades of green and black, along with Modern Masters metallic for the bright silver border.

let is snow sign

A sign that really meshes with Gibbs Graphics’ expertise in weatherproof signage is their “Let it Snow” display. For this project they used 2 layers of 1” PBLT-15 in conjunction with Plexiglas, vinyl lettering, and expanded PVC. The red ornament was made from the leftover PBLT from the hole in the snowflake, a creative repurposing of extra material.


Winter is far from over, but don’t let the cold get you down. Gibbs Graphics is standing by to make you a sign that can shrug off the bad weather year after year. They’re more than just a sign maker, however: Gibbs Graphics is a full-service marketing conglomerate that designs logos, websites, email marketing, banners, and more. Anyone in the Pacific Northwest looking for a one-stop shop for all their marketing needs should contact Gibbs Graphics at, or click here to see their extensive signage portfolio. Want to make your own weatherproof dimensional signs? Click here for a free sample of Precision Board and get ready to carve those winter blues away.

Waterjet Benefits For Your Sign Shop

Waterjets have been becoming increasingly more popular in sign shops due to their ability to cut any type of material that comes in the door. 

As any sign shop owner will tell you, you can never predict the next job that is going to come in the door. Having the capability to cut anything is a great addition to any “shop arsenal.”

A previous blog featured an OMAX Waterjet cutting out the Coastal Enterprises logo from a piece of PBLT-30. Today we are going to show another example of how a waterjet can be used for a signage application.

This giant letter “A” was cut out using an OMAX 60120 Waterjet with a 40hp pump. This waterjet has a 0.0016 orifice nozzle, 0.0042 diameter mixing tube, and Barton Garnet as cutting media.

Not only is cutting time reduced with a waterjet, they also work well in a sign shop environment because the taper-control features and accuracy allow them to cut laminated materials with ease. CNC routers, lasers and plasma cutters are also limited in their ability to cut certain thicknesses and types of material (unlike a waterjet).

OMAX Corporation was founded in 1993 by Dr. John Cheung, and Dr. John Olsen and have been manufacturing waterjets ever since. Within the industry, OMAX is the only waterjet provider that designs and produces its own pump, nozzle, cutting table, machine controller and control software. All OMAX and MAXIEM waterjets are made in the USA, and they will be celebrating their 20th anniversary in August of this year, see their website for more details on this event.

If you would like more info, please contact Mr. Kimball Smith at OMAX Corporation: (253) 872-2300.

Combining a Late Model Corvette with a 1967 Stingray: How It's Done

Classic Reflections Coachworks is proud to announce the newest addition to their lineup: the legendary 1967 Corvette Stingray. Redesigned to provide the comfort and technology of today’s Corvette while maintaining the classic look from 1967, CRC has succeeded in making an authentic-looking masterpiece.

The first step in combining a C6 Corvette and a 1967 Corvette Stingray is the concept rendering. The original Stingray Corvette and a new C6 chassis’ are individually scanned into a 3D CAD program and morphed together.

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After the datasets are combined and morphed, a design is created. It’s then time to create a physical prototype to see the new “retro” Stingray in a physical 3-D form.

Starting with a 17″ x 4′ x 10′ block of Precision Board Plus PBLT-4, CRCoachworks machines the block with their 5-axis CNC router into a 1/2 scale prototype:


Precision Board Plus PBLT-4 is then coated with Duratec for a hard surface:


A coat of U-Pol Automotive Primer is sprayed over the Duratec:


Next comes a Spies Hecker Marina Blue base coat:


The finished prototype sports a Spies Hecker clearcoat. (It’s hard to believe this entire car, including the sidepipes and windshield, is made out of Precision Board Plus HDU!)


After completion, the final design is fine-tuned based on a visual inspection of the prototype.

According to Ron Marsden, General Manger at CRC, they chose Precision Board Plus HDU because our large block sizes and superior machining qualities offered a high-quality, cost-effective tooling solution.

Trinity Animation of Lee’s Summit, MO put together this C-6 to Corvette Stingray animation using and V-Ray software.

The first full-size CRC Corvette Stingray is currently 90% finished. Once complete, we will be posting pictures of what we are sure will turn out to be a beautiful car!

For the complete turnkey package, a 2013 CRC Corvette Stingray can be your very own for the grand price of $205,000. Have questions? Visit

Previously, CRC specialized in turning late-model Corvettes into primarily 1958-1962 new “retro” Corvettes. Be sure to take a look at our previous blog if you would like to see the step-by-step transformation.

CRC currently produces 2 CRC Corvettes a month and is in process of moving to a larger location to increase production capability.

Coastal Enterprises would like to thank Ron Marsden for providing information, photos and insight into this innovative process.

PBLT-15 HDU Is Going To The X Games!

Check out the sneak preview of an upcoming project currently underway by Art Sign Works! Owner Enrique Valenzuela sent us in process pictures of a Red Bull sign he’s constructing for the X Games.

This project is rather large, and the sign will measure 12′ x 20′ x 18″ thick once complete! Enrique is using PBLT-15 HDU cut on his ShopBot CNC for this massive sign and as you can see from the pics, this will be an awesome project to watch unfold! Be sure to check in for updates! (You’ll also be seeing it soon at one of the upcoming X-Games!)

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Enrique Valenzuela crouching by the sign’s massive support structure.



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