CNC inlaid map of Manhattan

Prompt: Creative application of milling machines & woodworking
Class: Subtraction, ITP, New York University
Duration: 3 Weeks
Role: Ideation, Prototyping (Milling)
Tools: Othermill, CNC

I crafted a 12 X 15 inches map of Manhattan using Othermill, which is a powerful mini-CNC tool. Othermachine published this project on their blog to promote use of othermills in educational institutes.

New York City is the place I have spent most of my time in the US, and I’m in love with the city’s vibrant mix of cultures and views. The map is made of flat-sawn white oak with inlaid aluminum. Wood represents land (Manhattan, Brooklyn & Jersey) and aluminum represents water bodies (East & Hudson river).


Oak wood is polished with walnut finish to add some contrast against aluminum, and frame is built of oak with a coat of polyurethane. I crafted a static compass for right-bottom corner of the map by pressing and turning a composite of brass and aluminum on lathe. Compass is engraved with direction marks using the othermill. These blogposts summarize the details of process of making, and further tools and tricks I employed in the design.