Jun 2nd, 2012 by Jason Brown
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I’d like to know an effective way to produce a large scale topographic map of China. My hope is then to create it in blocks that can be taken apart and given to students for painting, etc. Even it is just used foamcore as a medium, maybe something cool could be produced at a low to reasonable cost.
Any ideas welcomed!
Bob thanks for your idea. It is a direct echo of another project I’ve discussed with the folks at Co.Lab (www.colab.is) that we found in a brainstorming session. CoLab is planning a 3D printing hackathon in March and one idea for a group challenge that came up was to print segments across all the participants for a model of downtown Chattanooga. In effect we would be able to judge the quality of the print and speed and assign a score to objectively declare a winner; among other challenges.
Slicing a topo model is the exact problem and sourcing the 3d data to produce a model is most likely the biggest challenge. Slicing and scaling will take a little work in Sketchup, etc. and then it is a matter of printing…and printing…and printing; depending of course on the scale you are going for the final render.
Keep an eye on the blog as we’ll be announcing the CoLab 3d-athon soon. Also, you might find more discussion in the discussion group so post away there.
Bob, if I had to do this tomorrow, there are 2 ways I would consider.
3D printing is an obvious choice, but depending on how big you want it, it would be both expensive and time consuming. I think I would use a hybrid additive/subtractive manufacturing approach.
1. Slice the map into a grid. We’ll start at say 30cm by 30cm tiles.
2. Take the grid, and slice it by altitude, giving you say, 1cm thick layers of a 2D shape.
3. Cut the layers out of a machinable foam, using either a water jet, or simply paper templates printed and traced to the material.
4. Glue the altitude layers on top of each other, creating the rough shape.
5. Place each tile in a 3 axis CNC, and mill in the detail.
There was talk of submitting projects in our meeting today. I think you guys may find this project interesting:
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