How We Machine Architectural Topographic Models & Maps

We machine topo maps for architects, surveyors, map makers and as prototyping models, as they are an excellent planning tool and guide.

A Topographic Map (Also known as Topo Map) is elevation contour lines to show the shape of the Earth surface, above or bellow a reference point (usually sea level). The contours make it possible to show geographic features such as the height and shape of mountains, depth of the ocean bottom, rivers, lakes, roads and slopes steepness.

It is basically a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional land surface.

Photos on the top and bottom showing topo map we machined using HDU material.

We used our 3-Axis CNC router and 3D CAD files to carve a three dimensional contour maps and models.

We start with an STL 3D CAD File, then transport it into Rhino CAM to produce a G-Code. The CNC router translate this G-Code into movements to machine the desired shape.

Different materials can be used to fabricate the topo maps, including EPS, MDF and High-Density Urethane Tooling Foam (HDU). The HDU is a great material to be used for high speed machining, allowing to portray the complex contours and shapes that the 3D map requires. Usually, no sanding is required, however, we use a dust collector to gather the foam dust particles, revealing the final map shape.

The machined topo map can be poured with concrete to make for a permanent model

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