Made at theCO with Kevin Adelsberger

For those of you who aren’t familiar with these Made at theCO features, listen up! Members of theCO are always creating and constructing a variety of things, most of which fall nothing short of impressive. Kevin Adelsberger has recently reached beyond the boundaries of our favorite tool’s 12" × 20" laser bed to create a massive wooden cutout of the United States for his wife. Check out how he made it!

Materials: 

  • Full Spectrum Laser Engraver
  • (4) 20" x 10" Baltic Birch Plywood sheets
  • Barn wood (for frame)
  • Wood glue
  • Flat molding
  • Dowel rods
  • Vector files for U.S. States
  • Miter Saw
  • Graphics editing software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator)

Step 1

Using Adobe Illustrator, Kevin traced the outline of each state to create a vector line or pathway for the laser to cut out. This removed some of the unnecessary detail of the state outlines that the laser didn’t need to cut out.

Step 2

With a little bit of math and some measuring, Kevin then scaled the entire map based on the state of Texas due to it being the largest state. Grouping more than one state on a piece of plywood reduces waste and time when cutting. With the laser set to vector cut, Kevin was ready to go!

Step 3

After cutting out the states, he assembled them backwards to set them to look properly when viewed from the front. Using dowel rods, Kevin glued each state in its correct position. This was the lengthiest part of the process due to having to keep equal spacing between each state.

Step 4

Once the states were spaced and fastened in their correct positions, he cut a frame out of barn wood to fasten and surround the entire structure. Using a few screws here and there and some more glue, the map came together quite well and looks amazing!


Written by Dan Drogosh.