How it works:

We analyse your GPS route data to generate an elevation profile of your route and apply a suitable exaggeration factor to make the profile “look good” i.e. not too flat, but equally not excessively extreme!

We’ll then send you an image of the rendered print (that’s a true graphical representation of the final print)  to confirm that it’s to your liking and if it’s not, we can regenerate it using different settings.

And then what?

The approved rendering is then sent to one of our 3D printers where a real life model is printed.

How long does it take?

A printed model can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to complete depending on the size and height of the model.  The more extreme the elevation, the longer it takes to print (but the cooler it looks!)

Once printed, the model is assessed for quality.  If it doesn’t meet our high standards, it’s reprinted.  The entire process can take up to a day.

Do the prints actually look like the renderings?

Yes!  As an example, here’s a linear profile from a 60 mile bike ride in North Wales:

The first image shows the GPS elevation profile.

The second image below is a 3D rendering (an image of which will be sent to you for confirmation before we print).

This third image is the actual printed model.  As you can see, they’re practically identical!

 

So, why .xyz?

Our 3D printing process uses “Cartesian printers” which use the co-ordinates of 3 axis to print 3D models.

These axis are universally known as XYZ co-ordinates.  X and Y for 2-dimensional plains, for example length and width, and the additional Z axis (height/depth) makes it 3D -;)

Got any tips to get the best looking print?

  • Make sure your GPS route contains elevation data.  We can still print a map profile of the route but it will be “flat”, and a linear profile of that route will just be a thin flat line!

 

  • The best models have multiple varying elevation points and switchbacks.

As an example, let’s take the world famous Alpe d’Huez climb!

The elevation profile for this epic climb actually looks like this:

And the resulting linear profile print would end up looking like a doorstop!  While it is a truly grueling climb (or so we’ve been told!) in this instance the linear profile is ultimately a bit boring.

However, the map profile (below) makes for much more appealing model, it’s definitely a talking piece!

Here’s the original route overlayed on a map for comparison:

So review your elevation profile before deciding on which design you want us to print.  We will always send you a rendering beforehand just to make sure you’re happy with it before it gets printed.

  • If your route is circular (or a loop), try and make sure you started and finished at, or very near the same position to “close the loop”.  We might be able to tidy up the data and insert the missing pieces (or add in some points to complete the route) but this isn’t always possible.