Printing Giant Maps for Dummies


  • 2017 2016

    Ok… I’ve seen lots of people with Giant Maps… obviously a lot of people make them for custom tables… I’m pretty sure some people print giant maps without a custom table… (they roll it out when they want to play?).

    As a total noob at custom printing (I did one very small project of a battle board, where I printed it on outdoor banner vinyl and had it mounted by a frame shop… mind you, this was a 9.5"x9.5" battle board meant to fit inside the box)… what is the best way to print a huge custom game map?

    I’m a self-admitted dummy when it comes to this sort of thing… I’ve seen plenty of links for various maps (usually pdf files I believe), but (unless I’m not looking in the right spots), no actual instructions for the best way/material to actually have these maps printed. Could anyone in the know explain a step-by-step process for the best way to print huge game map? Obviously, start by finding a local print shop, but after that, what next? Is there a preferred material to use? Is there a difference between if you plan on mounting it on a table or rolling it out for play each time? Would you use different materiel for mounting vs rolling it out each time, or would both be the same? I’ve heard the term “laminated” tossed about too… how does that factor in? Does one pretend this is a “wall map” project? What do you tell the clerk at your local print shop when you bring this in… when I brought my small battle board project to the print shop, we both kind of looked at each other with puzzled eyes… I wasn’t sure what to tell them and they weren’t sure what I wanted… I’d like to avoid that if I have a large custom map made.

    I’m sure there’s others like me who might not know what to say/do to have one made, but maybe don’t want to speak up… so, i’ll do it for them… and i’ll start by declaring “YES I’M A DUMMY… Plz explain to a dummy what needs to be done to have one of these maps made”.

    1. What do I tell/explain to the clerk when I want to have one made…
    2. What materiel do I use…
    3. Does it matter if its going to be mounted on a table or “free rolled” for play… Do I use different materials for this difference?
    4. If its rolled up and unrolled for play from time to time, how do people work with the inevitable “curled up ends” that would probably happen after unrolling?
    5. Aside from making a big custom table, or a “roll up” map… is there any way to make a hard-backed custom giant map that is easily storable? As to avoid the curled ends dilemma?
    6. Am I missing any important questions or steps? Remember, I’m a dummy on this… I may not be thinking of everything I need to know to have one made.

    Thanks to anyone in advance who’d like to answer these questions… I’d like to get a good 1942SE map printed before those files vanish into the internet somewhere. Of course these questions could work for any map anyone wants to make!


  • '14 Customizer

    I had mine printed at a place called Fastsigns. All Fast signs required was a map file which I uploaded though their site.  If you have problems doing that someone will help you with the process.  My map is a little different though. It does not roll up because it has a metal backing and a poly carbon material in between the map and the metal to prevent rigidness on the map.  The map is covered with a clear laminate to protect it.  I have 2 (45 x 45") boards that make up the map and I put them together with J-trim molding.  This process was not cheap though. I made two different map sets and they costs over $500 for each set.

    I made mine out of metal so it would work with my magnetic pieces. If your just looking for a map that you can roll up I would just have them print a map for you.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    Mine,  I went to printer and they printed map on vinyl ( 4 x 8  $107.00 )  and had it laminated for a extra cost of $50.00.  If the print shop can print banners they can print map. Bring in map file and they look at it on there computer and if it needs to be resized, they just reformat it.
    You can roll map up if you need to.

    You did say you made your battle board on vinyl and laminated that. Was that done by a print shop ?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Mine are all roll up. I take them all over the place for games, so roll up was best for ease of transportation.

    The “curved up ends” are only a problem if I roll the map that way. Otherwise they are curved down and the curve disappears ever so quickly even under the slight weight of the map. That’s probably a function of the material and I am afraid I cannot give you its technical name.

    If you are using dedo’s 1941 or 42.2 maps I recommend you get the sz borders darkened by your printer before printing.


  • 2017 2016

    @cyanight

    Ya, I’m not sure if I would go with a roll-up map or if there’s some other way to make a hard-backed map that could be put away and/or stored (maybe even hung on a wall when not in use?). Obviously a rolled up map would be easiest to store, but I’m concerned about a roll up map curling up during play. With the clear laminate to protect the map, is that only if its hard mounted? What kind of materiel did you print yours on? Obviously a metal map at $500 is a bit more than I would want to spend (okay, a fair amount more)… trying for something in the happy medium. I guess I’m still looking for my 6 questions answered, but I am always curious to see what different people do… seems no two take the same approach.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    You can always tape back side of map to keep corners down.

    I do have D-Day, Revised and Pacific game maps printed on 2’ x 3’ foam board.

    Just use small pieces of velcro if need to hold in place. Have pic of D-Day map on wall in my custom maps post that I posted with my new battle boards made of vinyl and laminated.

    Styrene might work if you can find it to print on. Have map printed on vinyl with laminate and sticky back and put on styrene or maybe a piece of plexi glass 1/8 in thick or more.


  • 2017 2016

    @SS:

    Mine, I went to printer and they printed map on vinyl ( 4 x 8 $107.00 ) and had it laminated for a extra cost of $50.00.  If the print shop can print banners they can print map. Bring in map file and they look at it on there computer and if it needs to be resized, they just reformat it.
    You can roll map up if you need to.

    You did say you made your battle board on vinyl and laminated that. Was that done by a print shop ?

    When I did my battle board, both me and the printer were kinda confused as to what to ask for or what was expected… in the end, they printed it on what they called “Outdoor Banner Vinyl”… there was no laminating talked about by myself or them… in the end, for a small print, and after taking it to a frame shop for mounting, I only spent about $12 bucks give or take for the battle board, so even if I didn’t do it right, I can always fix it if need be. And yes, it was a print shop… I took it to Fed-X (Kinkos inside?).  To my knowledge it was not laminated… I just had them print it on Outdoor Banner Vinyl and that was that… I took it to a frame shop and they hard mounted it (I think its foam board).  Total noob when I made the battle board, I was making it up as I went along… I am happy with the result, but didn’t even think about lamination.

    @Private:

    Mine are all roll up. I take them all over the place for games, so roll up was best for ease of transportation.

    The “curved up ends” are only a problem if I roll the map that way. Otherwise they are curved down and the curve disappears ever so quickly even under the slight weight of the map. That’s probably a function of the material and I am afraid I cannot give you its technical name.

    If you are using dedo’s 1941 or 42.2 maps I recommend you get the sz borders darkened by your printer before printing.

    So are you saying instead of print side inside, you roll it up with the print side facing out?

    Yes, I plan on using Dedo’s maps for 41/42.2… are there any others besides his? Anyways, I found his easily enough and plan on using his… what exactly is an “sz border”? Please elaborate… remember I’m a dummy on this.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    Sea Zone


  • 2017 2016

    @SS:

    Sea Zone… (have the sea zone borders darkened by the printer)

    So, from the PDF file they can do this? Is this some sort of skilled work they can do (and charge more for)… I simply say “oh, hey, can you darken the sea zone borders on the pdf file for me” and they can do that without giving me a weird look? Once again, plz remember, total noob… I don’t know much about PDF files and what a print shop can or cant do.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    They might be able to do it and maybe charge a small fee.

    Also you could print map on vinyl , lay on piece of wood, put a piece of non- glare plexi glass over map, secure plexi and map with a nice small thin piece wood border around it so you can pick up or hang on wall for storage and looks.

    Make the wood board and plexi glass an inch bigger all around so trim on top of board will be flush with all side.


  • 2017 2016

    @SS:

    They might be able to do it and maybe charge a small fee.

    So, you had this done on yours?  I didn’t look at Dedo’s maps… are the sea zones not well defined at all?  How important is this step to do?

    @SS:

    Also you could print map on vinyl , lay on piece of wood, put a piece of non- glare plexi glass over map, secure plexi and map to wood and then put a nice small thin piece wood border around it so you can pick up or hang on wall for storage and looks.

    This sounds like a job for the Frame Shop… take vinyl map to frame shop, say “mount this so I can hang on a wall and put on the table and play on top of it!”.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    Don’t know about dedo’s maps. I’ll ask my son if he can do it.

    Frame shop be good.


  • 2017 2016

    So, if I intended on framing it to hang on a wall (and pull down for play), I wouldn’t need to laminate it… or could/should I just have it laminated without a cover on it, if I framed it sans plexi-cover?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    You could just laminate on vinyl and not  use the plexi glass but then the trim border will have to cover some of the map and middle of map  will fall away from board if you hang it.

    The money u save on laminating will pay for the non-glare plexi glass and also protect it better and keep it flat when you hang it or store it away.


  • 2017 2016

    @SS:

    The money u save on laminating will pay for the non-glare plexi glass and also protect it better and keep it flat when you hang it or store it away.

    That sounds like a good idea.

    @Dedo:

    I take so called Blockout Banner (760gr/qm) or PVC Banner (510gr/qm) with antiglare. Both can be printed with a solution of 720 dpi, inks should be a mild or eco solvent.

    I saw the above quote from Dedo on one of his map threads… is either of his suggestions basically the same as what I did on “Outdoor Banner Vinyl” when I did my battle board?  I’m still searching for what exactly I should be seeking as the material to print it on and/or ask for at the print shop.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    My brother has a small print business and he certainly can change a digital file prior to printing - be it to darken sz borders, add or remove tables, etc.

    You may also want to increase the size of the circles in the 1941 pic tracker, which are too small.

    BTW I think mine are outdoor banner vinyl.


  • 2017 2016

    @Private:

    My brother has a small print business and he certainly can change a digital file prior to printing - be it to darken sz borders, add or remove tables, etc.

    Yes, but aren’t you one of those darn Englishmen sitting across the pond? Not sure that’s going to do me a whole lot of good in Florida! Last time I set foot in England was 1992. Now if your brother wants to move his shop stateside…

    @Private:

    Yes - roll print side facing out.

    Thanks… that also sounds like a plan… certainly another possibility over framing.

    @Private:

    BTW I think mine are outdoor banner vinyl.

    Thanks for that info… so you had yours laminated I take it?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    If he can do it then so can others Wolf.

    If not, then it’s only the cost of postage.

    No - not laminated.


  • 2017 2016

    @Private:

    If he can do it then so can others Wolf.

    You’d be amazed at the numbers of American teens working at print shops that come pre-equipped with blank stares just waiting for you to ask a question about something.

    @Private:

    No - not laminated.

    Hmmm… lots of people seem to say this is the way to go with the roll up?  I had my battle board done on outdoor vinyl with no lamination… it seems fine to play on, but I haven’t put it under any use yet, so not sure how resistant it will be to extended play.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    My 1941 map has been used maybe 20 times. No obvious wear as yet.


  • 2017 2016

    @Private:

    My 1941 map has been used maybe 20 times. No obvious wear as yet.

    Good to know, thanks!


  • 2017 2016

    Alright… I broke down today (payday is a good day to break down) and went to my local Fed Ex Office store and ordered Dedo’s Supreme 1941 (52x28") and Supreme 1942 SE (resized to 57x30") maps printed up on outdoor banner vinyl.  They’re costing me roughly $70 and $90 US dollars respectively to have made.  Just thought I’d put that info out there to anyone reading this thread thinking about having them made… those are some rough 2016 ballpark figures that you can expect to pay if you’re doing a similar project (of course shopping around may save you some dough, I just went to the quickest/easiest solution, though it may have cost me a tad more).  I’ll post pictures after I get them back.


  • 2017 2016

    Here’s the results, my 1941 map.

    my1941custommap1.jpg
    my1941custommap2.jpg


  • 2017 2016

    And here’s my new 1942 map

    my1942custommap1.jpg
    my1942custommap2.jpg


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