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Malta Stratification map Model

How to: Malta Stratification map model by

: Malta Stratification map

Step 1- What to Order

One needs to buy 2 MDF plank of size 16.5` x 11.7` inch (42 x 29.7cm) thickness of
4mm. If a thicker layer is needed it is suggested to buy more planks and then stack on
each other when instructed later on. For a cheaper option instead of MDF one can opt to
do this resource using Cardboard which is a lighter material while having the same effect
as MDF for the purpose of teaching.

Figure 1 MDF

Step 2- What to download

One needs to download the attached Publisher documents named layer A and layer
B, containing the layers of the map to be cut.

Step 3- What to connect

One needs to plug in the laser machine`s USB into the computer`s USB port to start the
process of connecting to an output device, in this case the laser cutting machine. This
process is similar to connecting to a printer.


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Malta Stratification map Model

Figure 2 CNC machine ports

Figure 3 Laptop ports

Step 4- Inserting the plank

The first plank needs to be placed into the laser machine positioning it at the top left corner
at co-ordinates 0, 0, the position where the laser head is set at HOME. One has to make
sure the laser head is adjusted at the correct height as instructed in the other document
Preparing the laser machine. This document is good to review in order to reposition
the HOME setting co-ordinates 0, 0.

Figure 4 Starting point HOME

Step 5- What to open

The downloaded document layer A has to be opened. The below image is a preview
of the document containing the first parts to be cut later on.


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Malta Stratification map Model

Step 6- Preparation
The individual doing this preparation need to go to FILE, and a dropdown menu should
Go to PRINT, another menu should appear to the right as shown in the image at the
subsequent page.

Figure 5 Print Preview

Go to the PRINTER selection, and select the laser machine EPILOG from the
dropdown selection.

Figure 6 Printer choice


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Malta Stratification map Model

Under the SETTINGS properties, one is to select PRINT ALL PAGES as shown

Figure 7 Printing settings

Select TILED as shown in the image below.

Figure 8 Printer settings

Under the layout options select the Paper size in this case A3.


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Malta Stratification map Model

Figure 9 Printer size

One should choose PRINTER PROPERTIES and a pop up box should appear as
shown below. This properties setting controls the speed and power of the laser depending
on the material being used and cut.

Figure 10 Power Speed

Step 7- Settings
Under Job type one has to thick VECTOR (due to the fact that the MDF is needed to
be cut all through).
Under Vector setting change SPEED to 9-11%.
Change POWER to 85-90%.
Change FREQ. to approx. 900Hz.
Press OK.


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Malta Stratification map Model

Otherwise, if using cardboard instead of MDF the following settings should be arranged
with different values from the previous list.
Under Vector setting change SPEED to 25-35%.
Change POWER to 60-70%.

Figure 11 MDF vector values


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Malta Stratification map Model

Step 8- Printing
When this process is ready to be printed, one has to close the laser machine`s hood and
press PRINT (note: opening the hood is a safety button that will automatically

stop the print. One is to refrain from opening the hood unless the upmost
need for safety reasons such as fire, were changing the power values might
be a must).

Figure 12 Print button

Figure 13 Start Job

Wait a few seconds until the job is sent to the laser machine. When the laser machine`s
screen shows the name of the selected document layer A than press GO on the
machine to start cutting.
The machine should take about 30 minutes to finish this current specific job however
changing the speed will vary the time allocated to finish.

Figure 14 Job Time


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Malta Stratification map Model

The MDF should be cut all through, therefore when the plank is grabbed the templates
should fall off on their own, if the pieces are still attached one has to reset the plank to
the original position and repeat the print by simply pressing GO again on the machine.
Once again if this is the case than before doing other print jobs. One may need to change
the value of either SPEED or POWER to a higher value.

Figure 15 Cut MDF

Step 9- Second layer

Repeat the same steps from STEP 4 till STEP 8, with the difference of STEP 5
whereby instead of opening document layer A, one needs to open document layer



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Malta Stratification map Model

Step 10- Repeat

If a thicker layer is needed for each layer the entire process from STEP 4 to STEP 9 is
to be repeated so to have a second set of templates that will later on be stacked upon
each other.

Step 11- Painting

The document named Mounting has to be opened to use as a template to know the
position and order of the cut pieces according to their matching colour. The pieces of the
same level share the same colour, each level is different from one level to another.

Figure 16 Mounting reference



One has to apply paint on a plastic recyclable plate or a palate if available. It is advised
that acrylic paint is used due that it is waterproof and dries rapidly.


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Malta Stratification map Model

The layers need to be painted according to their level. The colours assigned to each layer
can be chosen to one`s liking however it is important that the chosen colours are vibrant
enough to contrast easily one layer to another.

Figure 17 Painting cut out parts

One has to wait around 30 minutes to ensure pieces are dry before another layer of paint
can be given. If the paint is not clear enough once again wait for 30 minutes to dry up and
proceed to the next step.

Figure 18 Painted parts

Step 12- Mounting

One has to re-Open the document named Mounting to use as a template to position
the parts accordingly to their respective positions. Every level is colour coded as
mentioned before.

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Malta Stratification map Model

When the initial position of the lowest level of Malta is identified, on the base add white
wood glue (PVA glue) at the bottom of the layer to fix the position permanently. The entire
layer should be covered in glue to endure a secure fixed joint, and pressure has to be
applied on the layer for equal contact.

Figure 19 Glueing parts

The above step needs to be repeated for every level and every piece to complete the
representation of the stratification of the Maltese Islands.

Figure 20 Covered glue

Figure 21 finding the position

All layers can be stacked upon each other and dried simultaneously. Wait a few hours
depending on the atmospheric humidity for the glue to dry.

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Malta Stratification map Model

Figure 22 Stacked Parts

Step 13- Waterproofing

It is very important to read the instructions found on the bottle of the varnish spray before
use due to the fact that one varnish may vary from another. This step is mostly important
if one opts to use other paint then acrylic. Apply the varnish accordingly, until the entire
model is covered. `

Figure 23 Varnishing

Wait 1 hour or a day for the varnish to completely dry depending on the atmospheric
humidity. One may notice that a few mistakes are more visible when the varnish is applied
as shown below, but these mistakes will disappear once the varnish is completely dry.

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Malta Stratification map Model

Figure 24 Drying up

Flip the model and varnish the bottom of the model to completely protect the entire model
due that both MDF and cardboard are prone to weathering in such humid conditions.
Once again wait 1 hour or a day for the varnish to completely dry. One may read
instructions for clarification on such matter.

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Malta Stratification map Model

Step 14- The finished Resource.

Figure 25 Finished topographic map

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