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3D printing is certainly all the rage these days, creating everything from bike charms to a house. But there's another technology that can create useful and beautiful shapes that's not getting quite as much attention: CNC routers. These "computer numerical control" carving machines take a design fed in by a computer and then use sharp tools to whittle a block of material such as wood or metal into the designated form.


Japanese creative agency TBWA\Hakuhodo recently applied CNC router technology in a unique way to create a series of stunning ice cubes for Japanese whiskey company Suntory as part of a noveladvertising campaign. While the agency created its own cubes featuring such designs as a shark, the Statue of Liberty, and a high-heeled shoe, it also ran a contest and asked customers to submit their favorite design ideas. Ten entrants were then selected, shuttled to a secret location in Tokyo (they still won't tell me where it was!), and given a drink featuring their own miniature ice sculpture.


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