Step aside Google maps, finding your way in the world just got a whole lot better thanks to one particular blogger’s amazingly awesome laser cut map.

With Christmas on the horizon and his parents being the avid cartophiles they are, Scott Shambaugh thought it best to get them a gift that was truly from the heart. Having grown up in a household that collected maps, including “nautical charts up on the walls in several rooms,” it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something nice for them.

Rather than just buying any old map and framing it like the rest of us however, he decided to go one further and MAKE it from scratch, with the end result looking remarkably similar to the opening credits of Game of Thrones – minus the dragons, death and despair that is.

Scott Shambaugh’s finished laser cut map which he made for his parents

Taking advantage of custom laser cutting

Having documented the whole process on his blog, he gave us a brief insight into the skill and artistry that goes into custom laser cutting. Taking inspiration from Below The Boat – a website which specialises in wooden topographical maps – he set in motion the plans to create something truly unique.

He started out by exporting the elevation data of his hometown of Portland, Maine (USA) using a software called QGIS. Using this information he then set into motion his ideas, which resulted in a truly astounding piece of art, the end result of which has been documented on his Imgur gallery.


In addition to this, he also created a guide that illustrates the build phase which you can see below:

– Gather supplies – essential items include wood sheets, glue, clamps, sandpaper, blue wood stain (for the water layers) plus more.

-Get your wood cut – if you’re fortunate enough to have your own tools then great, but other than that you should get a professional to do this. We have our very own laser cutting equipment here at Subcon and we can do this in next to no time!

– Apply blue stain for the water layers – this is entirely dependent on your own preferences, but given the geography of the area this colour was necessary. Once you have settled on a colour you want, sketch out on the wood where you want to apply the stain and brush it on accordingly.

– Glue everything together – everyone knows how to glue, so we’ll spare you the lesson. You should however make use of clamps, as they will spread the glue out evenly and ensure the wood stays firm in place.

– Apply wood sealer – fairly straight forward, just brush on your sealer, let it dry and the job’s done!

– Frame it up – because of the 3D effects of the map, you should ensure you leave extra space around the edges to house the frame. Be sure to find a durable material which can withstand the weight of the wood – we’ll leave the style and colour to you!

The process of a laser cutting machine cutting through materials

Personalised wood engraving helped add the finishing touches

To finish, he added his own personalised message on the underside of the map, wishing his parents a Merry Christmas and outlining the details of the map.

A personalised wood engraving is a nice touch. Not only does it make it more aesthetically pleasing, but it also shows that you put time and effort into your craft.

We’re used to dealing with a lot of materials here at Subcon Laser and wood is no exception.

But wait, isn’t laser wood cutting for the professionals?

For the best results it is advised you consult a professional, but thanks to the advances in modern technology you can now create your own custom designs without a moment’s hesitation.

It’s important to remember that laser wood cutting can be an extremely delicate process, so if you are unsure then you may want to seek advice. Either way it can be a fun and creative experience, as you create new and exciting designs for your loved ones.

Professional laser wood cutting machine cutting shapes with wood

If this post has given you some ideas, then why not let the team here at Subcon Laser make them become a reality? As one of the UK’s leading laser cut experts, we can help develop your plans with our technology, while we ensure that every job is completed in a timely and professional manner.

We have some of the latest equipment in the industry on hand, so no matter what job you’re looking for we can be sure to do it. Our core business is to provide our ever increasing customer base with unrivalled reliability and quality orientated laser cutting services, because we aim to be the best.

For more information about our services and how we can help you, get in touch with us today on 024 7664 2221. Alternatively you can fill out our contact form and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible.