CNC-Milled Ice Cubes: Where Art Meets Milling

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CNC-Milled Ice Cubes: Where Art Meets Milling - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

You already know Digital Machining has the state-of-the-art technology and technical expertise to perform 3D surface milling on virtually any complex surface that can be defined in a CAD model.

We even like to consider ourselves artists.

But here’s something we haven’t seen before:

A Japanese ad agency called TBWA\Hakuhodo teamed up with Suntory Holdings Limited, a Japanese distilling company, to create the world’s first 3D-milled ice cubes. These tiny frozen sculpted images can look like anything you care to dream up for your highball glass. It’s no secret that Japanese whiskey-makers want more Americans to drink their product, so maybe that’s why the CNC-milled ice cubes they’ve featured on their website include the Statue of Liberty, an astronaut, and a guitar.



The agency used a CNC router to carve the designs. The router was chilled to about 19 degrees Fahrenheit, and a program called Autodesk 123D was used to capture and prepare the 3-D images. The sculptures are then "polished” with a splash of chilled whiskey. Each cube took up to six hours to make depending on the complexity of the design.

Autodesk 123D is actually an iOS app that lets you use your iPhone iPad capture a 3D image and print it out using a 3D printer, CNC router or laser cutter.

If you haven't heard of Suntory, that's ok, but you've probably heard of some of the brands they own, including Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Courvoisier and After Shock liqueur.


The ad agency ran a contest and to get customers to submit their favorite designs, and ten entrants were chosen for an event in Tokyo where they got to enjoy a cocktail featuring their own miniature ice sculpture.

All images are courtesy of Suntory. To learn more and to see more of these unique milled ice creations, visit their website here.

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