Hold a Moment of History in Your Hand with 3D Printed Maps

3D Printing & Imaging Craft & Design Workshop
Hold a Moment of History in Your Hand with 3D Printed Maps


Being both a maps enthusiast and an avid wargamer, I love this idea of 3D printing full-color, palm-sized terrain maps of famous battles from Japanese history. 3DPrint reported on these maps last week and describes the history behind the project.

This campaign covers eight famous battles of Japanese Warring States Era (late 1500s to early 1600s) such as the famous Honnoji incident in which Oda Nobunaga was forced to commit suicide with his own sword by Akechi Mitsuhide in AC 1582 and the climactic battle of Sekigahara which later decided the ruler of feudal Japan in AC 1600,” explained Rinkak’s Pauline Chen.

The 3D printed maps are in multi-color prints, and besides the terrain, there are details of the battles, including army formations, troop movements, etc., depicted on the them. You can currently have them printed at sizes ranging from 5 x 5cm for $17, 7 x 7cm for $33, or 10 x 10cm for $50.


The 3DPrint piece continues:

The maps themselves vary in design, from realistic terrain coloring to abstract background art and even a “Google Maps” style design. Users can also alter the maps themselves, add their own backgrounds and even alter the terrain to create their own battle maps. This is only the first series of Deco Boco Maps, and with the long and rich history of Japan expect new eras and battles to be available eventually. And of course we can probably expect creative 3D designers to use the available 3D models to make their own recreations of famous battles.


It’s not exactly clear what they mean by “Users can… create their own battle maps.” It would be really cool if you could upload any map, annotate, and print it. I’d love a series like this for key U.S. Civil War battlefields. As a gaming aid, when playing a tabletop wargame, it would really add another dimension to have a true topographical map for reference.

Have any Make: readers 3D printed topo maps? What software did you use? What types of maps did you print? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Read the complete 3DPRint piece here.
And visit the project page on Rinkak.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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