Milling topographic models

I wanted to mill something with a 1/16" ball end mill, and I thought a topographic model would have some good detail.

I found this model of a Napa Valley farm on Thingiverse generated from LIDAR data.

Here’s how it turned out:


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That’s really nice with the buildings on it. There are a lot of users that have shown me topographic models machined with MeshCAM over the years but I’ve never seen one that had enough resolution (or data) to show buildings.

I’ll have to poke around for more of that LIDAR data.


@robgrz @mitchell

I second the nice-work there!

If you’re looking for more topology/scan data project ideas, something you may want to check out is photogrammetry reconstruction using Surface From Motion (SFM) techniques, since you can use VisualSFM for free to do your rebuild work. There are a lot of great videos on Youtube about the process, such as this one from Phil Nolan. It’s used a good bit for both objects and environments, and folks have been using it with drones as well to do aerial reconstruction work.

I’ve got a model of a sculpture I’d done back in high-school that I recently “scanned” using the method, and I’m doing the retopology work on it now to make a new version, which I’ll break into components I can cast and then reassemble new ones.

Looking forward to seeing what you cut next :slight_smile:

I recognize that place! It’s actually south of Sonoma (which is in the next valley west of Napa Valley). The main road is Highway 12, and the road branching off to the right is Napa Road, which heads up to Sonoma. The group of buildings to the right (north) of Highway 12 is Stornetta Dairy. When we lived in California we went past there many times on the way to Sonoma. Great model and great machining!