Chicago Outline Wall-Hanger

Introduction: Chicago Outline Wall-Hanger

This project came about from a STEM class at my school. We had to use a CNC machine in this project. I started off not quite knowing what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do something involving Chicago because I have lived near the city my whole life. At first I was going to do a map, but that ended up changing after I realized the complexity of that idea. I then decided to make a decorative wall-hanger. I messed around in V-carve with fonts and bitmaps( pictures that are imported in V-carve software), and decided on this as my final design.



20 by 16 oak board

Polyurethane spray



Laser cutter

CNC Router

1/8 in Face Mill Bit

90 degree 1.125 inch diameter V-bit

Keyhole bit

Table Saw



V-carve software

Laser Cad software

Step 1: Making the Vectors

The first step to this project was importing a bitmap of the outline of Chicago. I used the Bitmap tracing tool in V-Carve to create a vector of the outline of Chicago. In order to create the tool-path for the outline I used to Profile application to carve around the city outline. I used a ⅛ bit to get the most possible. I then used the text tool in V-carve to write the name Chicago. I used a 90 degree V-bit to create the tool path for the name.

I then imported bitmaps of several well-known spots in Chicago including Wrigley Field, OHARE, Navy Pier, downtown, Soldier Field, and Midway. I then moved them so they would be in their approximate location. I once again used the Bitmap feature to create vectors of these images.

Step 2: Prepping the Board.

I used an oak bored that was originally 38 by 16 and used the table saw to Cut it down to 20 by 16 inches. I then sanded it using the hand held Electric sander, making it as smooth as possible.

Step 3: Laser Cutting

I then used the laser cad software and the laser cutter to engrave the landmarks on the board. I exported the file as an adobe illustrator file, and imported it in laser cad. I selected the landmarks and used them to make an engraving tool path.

Step 4: CNC

I predrilled the board, and then I screwed the board to the worked to secure it the CNC router.

I then saved the post process on a flash drive. Using a Laguna CNC router and 90 degree 1.125 inch diameter V-bit, I carved out the letters of Chicago. Using the same machine I used a ⅛ inch bit to cut through the board in the outline of the city of Chicago.

In order to film the time-lapse video, I had to tape my phone to a camera tripod because I didn’t have a phone tripod.

Once the wall-hanger was cut out I had to cut the tabs and sand off the nubs left by said tabs.

Then I used a keyhole bit to create a slot on the back of the wall-hanger for a screw.

Step 5: Finishing

Once the wall-hanger was cut out I sprayed it with polyurethane to both protect it and bring out the color of the wood.

Then I stained the letters to darken them, and cause them to stand out.

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    7 weeks ago

    Very unique.


    7 weeks ago

    I like the different locations on the sign


    7 weeks ago

    I really like how you put all the attraction in there too.


    7 weeks ago

    Dude i'm from Chicagoland!