CNC Milling’s Coolest Application Ever
Ian Wright posted on March 18, 2016 |
CNC-milled ice cubes are the ultimate way to serve whisky on the rocks.

What’s the swankiest thing you can think of?

Close, but no cigar. (No smoking jacket either.)
Close, but no cigar. (No smoking jacket either.)

Picture yourself seated in a wingback leather chair in your mahogany-paneled library, wearing your finest silk smoking jacket and sipping whisky from a crystal tumbler.

That’s pretty good, but something is still missing…

Whisky Rocks! (Image courtesy of Suntory Whisky.)
Whisky Rocks! (Image courtesy of Suntory Whisky.)

How about a custom CNC-milled ice cube?

Off to the races with a horse-shaped CNC-milled ice cube. (Image courtesy of Suntory.)
Off to the races with a horse-shaped CNC-milled ice cube. (Image courtesy of Suntory Whisky.)

Two Japanese companies, an ad agency and a distiller, have teamed up to create the world’s first CNC-milled ice cubes. The agency used Autodesk 123D Catch, a mobile app that captures and generates 3D images using a type of photogrammetry. These scans were then sent to a CNC router. 

For those who enjoy free spirits. (Image courtesy of Suntory Whisky.)
For those who enjoy free spirits. (Image courtesy of Suntory Whisky.)

The router, chilled to approximately -7° C (19° F), sculpted the images in ice in a process that took up to six hours depending on the complexity of the image. As a final step, a splash of chilled whiskey was used to “polish” the resulting sculptures.

Mr. Freeze’s drink of choice. (Image courtesy of Suntory.)
Mr. Freeze’s drink of choice. (Image courtesy of Suntory Whisky.)

The distiller, Suntory Whisky, held a contest in which entrants submitted their own 3D images via 123D Catch. Ten winners were invited to an event in Tokyo to enjoy a drink with their CNC-milled designs.

We're going to need a bigger glass. (Image courtesy of Suntory Whisky.)
We're going to need a bigger glass. (Image courtesy of Suntory Whisky.)

For more information and to see the rest of these amazing mini-ice sculptures, visit the official website.

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