View Full Version : 3D Relief Maps

03-28-2000, 07:38 AM
Is anyone out there making 3d relief maps.

Pete Bac
08-04-2000, 11:31 PM
What exactly is a 3d relief map. I'm making 3d contour maps of lakes is that the same thing?

08-05-2000, 02:20 AM
What is a 3D contour map of a lake??? For me, a lake is a flat piece of water (2D), unless you want the bottom profile.

I suspect a 3D relief map is used for showing the bits between the lakes, i.e. the hills, valleys, mountains etc.

08-05-2000, 07:28 AM
Go to modelmill.com which has info about 3D contour maps, including being able to use USGS data files to create them. Very impressive.

Gerald Dorrington
08-05-2000, 12:23 PM
Thanks Don, and apologies to Pete. My question was a little "tongue-in-the-cheek" as I was trying to figure out how the bulletin board works. (I have ordered my first Shopbot, and am awaiting delivery to Cape Town, South Africa - probably the first one in Africa too!).

I suspect a 3D relief map is a smoothed-off version of a 3D contour map. The contour map is probably intended to leave distinct contour lines so that the altitude of any point can easily determined.

However, I still believe (again tongue-in-cheek) that a lake will give a pretty featureless contour map!

08-09-2000, 03:54 PM
Not to a fisherman!!!!!

08-11-2000, 10:33 PM
I just noticed this thread. I have a cable-drive 96" ShopBot that I use to cut 3D (actually 2.5D-- you can't cut true 3D of course) terrain models. I use the GIS software I have at work (ArcInfo) to develop cross-sections across a terrain surface, then convert them to an SBP file. Works pretty cool, but fairly slow.

08-28-2000, 12:26 PM
I've been actively looking to create 3-d terrain maps, as I am a Land Surveyor, and have clients that would like to see a model of their property or subdivision plan as a true model, and not a map. This site does them, but I was not sure if shop-bot can do it (would love to have someone do a demo for me).


I use autocad and created contours and 3-d grid files, but haven't found anyone who can create a model for me yet. Architects used to do this by actually cutting out each contour and glueing them on top of each other. If I could use foam and have the whole topo feature "routed" out - it could be a huge timesaver.

08-29-2000, 12:25 PM
where are you located? I'd be interested in trying it.


09-11-2000, 01:48 PM
Hi jeff, and all.

We create 3D terrain models routinely on our shopbot - 3 last week. I would be happy to cut a demo for you. The trick is not in the shopbot, although ours is custom modified to run at high speed (less force so it does a bad job at wood) and also has a taller z axis (12") to accomodate tall sites. The real effort is in the CAD to get a good terrain model with roads, curbs, etc. Then to get a good tooling path that makes a ballance between run time and detail. We are still looking for the ideal tool path generator for under $2k. Also with steep sites, dust collection becomes a problem as the standard dust skirt will hit the part. Any thoughts here are appreicated also.


12-16-2000, 03:19 AM
What tooling are you using for such deep cuts. I need to make similar pieces for mold plugs.

12-16-2000, 04:00 AM
Hello Everyone,

I would like to shed some light.
Go to http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/software.html
Download Wilbur. Funny name but serious software.
With this you can import .dem's (free all over
the internet). Once there click on Texture menu,then Gray Maps, then Height Map. This changes it to a greyscale heightfeild. Which you save as bmp, then open Paint Shop and convert to tiff. Then use the tiff2sbp converter supplied with ShopBot(thanks to Bruce Clark). And you're off to cutting a 3D relief map.

alton@shreve.net (mailto:alton@shreve.net)

12-16-2000, 09:26 AM
Tom, for deep work, have you considered using a "die-grinder"? See last pic at:


This is basically a variable speed router motor with an extended shaft in a slender neck. I don't know if they are available in America. These grinders are normally used for the hand polishing of molds and might be quite useful in your shop.

Off on our Summer holiday tomorrow - see you guys again next year. Happy festive season!

01-30-2001, 11:13 PM

Sorry so long in getting back to the forum. We also use a die grinder and use 3" end mills. There is tool chatter on the foam at much over 1 ips but it works in a pinch. We perfer to stay with shorter bits when we can. Does anyone have any experience with Artcam by Delcam? It is the way Big Brother to MillWizzard

Jeff Guinn
01-31-2001, 08:35 AM
Anyone interested in making relief maps and/or
photo realistic engravings may find:http://www.peasley.com/index.html helpful.David Peasley is currently working on a software package called TopoCarve which allows you to carve 3D Topo maps from USGS data.

05-17-2001, 10:15 PM
I am looking at purchasing shopbot to try and make 3D raised relief maps and it looks like this is possible from the above comments. I am at the very beginning stage and have some general questions:

Do you need additional software besides what comes with the shopbot to use the DEM data to cut maps with the Shopbot, and if so what is the least expensive software out there for this purpose?

What additional equipment do you need for cutting 3D maps?

What is a good material to cut into for this task?

How long does it take to cut a 3D map?



05-17-2001, 10:35 PM
Matt below is a link for software for mapping, get with David on that site and he will be able to answer all your questions, I have tried his software and it is great