These landform maps can be called a variety of names - from landform models, 3D terrain map, or simply relief models. Whichever name you use, architects and engineers use relief models for many purposes. For over half a century our model makers have been fabricating landform maps ranging from landslide terrain maps, to proposed terraced sites for new buildings. As you can see these relief models have removable pieces what we model makers call inserts. Often there are only 2 terrain inserts � the first one shows the existing condition of the terrain, while the second insert shows the new condition. There are also projects that require multiple land form inserts for the same pocket showing several topography options. Just let us know what combination of land form inserts is needed for your project.
Generally we supply the landform map painted, and this typically consists of a ground color and a road color. In addition to those features, sidewalks are sometimes added as well as any water feature. Parking lots are usually the same color as roads, but depending on the model scale, parking lines can be added to the model. An option to consider for these landform models is formica sides instead of painted sides. Black formica is the color we stock, and it gives a more finished look to the landform map, plus it protects the edge of the landform maps from damage. For these types of landform models, the architect or engineer will often build the structures that will go on the terrain map. There is always the option that we fabricate some or all of the structures on the model. Typically, these terrain maps are used as nice study models, where the architect can use them in-house to mock up various designs of the specific project, as well as a presentation tool to the projects stake holders.
These types of landform models can be fabricated in a couple of days once we have the contour information. The information that we need from you is a CAD dwg or CAD dxf file showing the terrain map's contours. A pdf file will work but, requires a few more steps to set up the information for milling.
We will need the following pieces of information on the provided CAD file:
1. Contours which are numerically labeled so we know where the high point and low point is located.
2. An outline on the topographic map showing us exactly the area covered by the 3D terrain map.
3. An outline of the insert. As you can see from the photographs, the insert does not have to be a simple rectangle.
4. Contours for the insert's re-graded topography.
5. Topographic map designating which features will be painted what color on the landform map. This can be done by highlighting a hard-copy with colored markers, and emailing us a scan or photo of this marked-up hard-copy.
6. Model scale with a scale bar. The scale bar is so we can double check the scale of the provided CAD file, and to be able to convert the drawing to the correct model scale. A scale bar is not necessary if there is a dimensioned feature that we can measure such as a property line.
For us to complete a painted terrain map, we will need the color number from a supplier such as Parker Paints, Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore. Since we have been doing this for over half a century, in most cases we can give you a price range over the phone without even seeing any drawings. We just need to know approximate size of the terrain map, model scale, and approximate elevation change.
Even though these can be small projects, we as model makers very much enjoy landform maps because it is nice to work on a model that goes from start to finish in possibly as little as 72 hours. In addition, there is just something magical about taking blocks of polyurethane foam and transforming them into interesting terrain maps.
The material these landform maps are machined from is very user friendly to cut away to fit your architectural features. A #11 x-acto will cut this material with ease. If you need to cut in buildings into the 3D terrain map, a #16 x-acto blade is very much liked by model makers because it is 2.5x longer than a #11 - the real work horse.
Call or email us any questions you have about the process to get started on your landform map. If you already have a CAD file ready, email it to us and we can let you know if we need any additional information to get started. As a family-owned business now in the second generation, we have been making landform models since 1960, and at this stage it is in our blood.
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