The art and science of mapmaking with wood

Last June, technical manufacturing graduate pupil Phillip Daniel wished to get his hands dirty with a brand new material: wood. At that time, he was contemplating discovering how to build a sea vessel from scrape. But he veered into an unexpected way that led to a creative enthusiasm: mapmaking with wood.

Today, Daniel has actually translated his woodworking interest as a part endeavor that is providing him valuable entrepreneurial knowledge at MIT.

“Art is paramount”

In scoping completely a few ideas last springtime, Daniel found a write-up about making use of maps for laser cutting and thought it had been worth trying. “It seemed also quick,” Daniel remarks, “also it don’t appear to completely use the accuracy associated with laser cutter.” He researched much more, discovering a company that made wood maps, although company used an activity that appeared to waste time and products. “I changed the style making sure that complexity did not increase the effort needed,” Daniel claims. “After generating around 15 maps, At long last found a pair of products with complementary colors and designs, optimized the process of creating maps from GIS data, and refined my assembly strategies.”

As an engineer, Daniel is obviously seeking to find out additional skills. “By continuously making things, be it for my thesis or for enjoyable, personally i think regularly prepared tackle design problems with large performance,” he describes. Everything he does takes evaluation, and elegance and attention — especially his thesis project, involving creating a robotic bluefin tuna. “i believe art is vital because same imagination that’s needed is to create an artistic work is expected to develop the weather for robotic fish.”

Daniel’s maps have-been featured at MIT’s Graduate Students Arts Gala at the romantic days celebration sellers sale. He could be often approached by people who wish to know just how he tends to make his maps, in which he gets the data, and if he would be willing to teach them steps to make all of them. He plans to broaden their knowledge base: “i do believe the second chart that might be cool to create would have been a dodecagonal chart of the globe.”

And a buddy, Daniel also built an online site to market their new items, beneath the title EcoMaps. The website features wood maps of MIT, Harvard University, and greater Cambridge, Massachusetts. “We are actually expanding our get to by providing custom maps, and aspire to quickly offer various other additions such customized structures and all sorts of hardwood maps,” Daniel states.

Just how he does it

The entire process of making the maps starts with downloading vector data and deleting elements particularly town names and gridlines. He laser slices the design on veneer and trims it to match a frame. Then, he glues the veneer up to a framework he’s stained. Daniel works on the vacuum cleaner pump to keep the veneer set up with even atmospheric stress that compresses resistant to the map before the glue sets. He sands and coats it with polyurethane. Your whole procedure takes 27 hours spread-over several days. “the most challenging step is eliminating the maps,” Daniel explains. “The pieces tend to be intricate. Often i am going to spend 20 moments eliminating a map for this to-be destroyed within the last few 30 seconds.”

The relevant skills which go into making art can be applied to making engineering components. “exactly the same laser I use for maps is employed which will make microfluidic products,” he notes. Phillip credits the technologies that help him produce their maps: “its only possible because someone found how-to produce lasers, slashed timber since thin as report, and formulate the perfect glue.”

When inquired about the part of artistic creation in the life, Daniel remarks, “Art is important because it is an easy method that thoughts can communicate without buffer of language, and memories is involving it since it is familiar with all of your sensory faculties.”

Daniel in addition recently refurbished a kayak by seeing how-to movies on YouTube. The act of creating gives him much needed stability and perspective. “It is quiet work that lets me personally express one thing without judgment and be introspective about what is going on within my life,” he says. “My preferred part of refurbishing the kayak had been once I ended up being stitching on its skin alone in a workshop. It was silent, too soon for anyone becoming around, and I could reflect on some busy items that were going on at that time. The tiresome work of sewing allow me to ignore deadlines, grades, alongside things that rattle around within my mind and distract me.”