Ever since the came in to existance I’ve had this wild idea of making 3D relief maps of famous landmarks, particularly all the 14ers in my wonderful state of Colorado. Since my laser arrived, I’ve been working on smaller things to become more familiar with software and getting to know how this thing works.
I figured I wasn’t the first person in the world with this idea, and quick Google searches show many people making really wonderful laser cut relief maps. There’s also some good instruction out there on how to do this. I’ve followed the instructions here: http://theshamblog.com/a-wooden-laser-cut-topo-map-of-portland-me/
So I’ve been working on my own project for the past few weeks, learning about all kinds of interesting things. But first things first, a few photos of my first attempt:
Still trying to decide if I should make a frame for it, to hang on the wall. The edges are a little messy as things aren’t perfectly aligned and there’s some hardened glue leaking out
Some of the things I learned:
- Wood Glue doesn’t stick very well to the finish on Maple Plywood
- Sanding the finish off of itsy bitsy pieces of wood is annoying
- Cyanoacrylate does a pretty good job at bonding to the finish of
- Sometime less is more - overall I think this thing is way too busy. I just picked the area where I live, as I thought it might be fun.
- I wished I put some “alignment holes” in the larger pieces that I could place a dowl through, to keep things aligned, or made a jig or something. Each panel wanted to rotate a little as I applied clamping pressure to the layers sandwiched between to boards.
- Color or Contrast is good. I’m not really happy with the “monochrome-ness” of the end result. I think it also has to do with how busy this feels as well. I’m not exactly sure how to go about changing the color or appearance of already finished materials though.
Next project I’ll probably work on the following:
- Use unfinished wood so that I can color or stain it for some contrast, but not apply a “finish” such as poly or laquer or simple wood sealer until the final project is done
- Be more sparing with glue. I had some bleed out on to a finished surface and it dried before I noticed and now its in there, all hard and impossible to remove without doing damage.
- Spend a lot more time up front figuring out map scale and releif depth, how many layers I want, and at what evelations those layers should be. This map is 8 total layers. It was supposed to be 9, but the last layer was one little “knob” smaller than the size of a pea, so I left it off.
- Figure out what kind of “features” to add to the map for reference, or “beauty” and figure out what can be removed to simplify things.