World map crafters since 2015, designed and produced in The Netherlands

Crafting illuminated world maps

Cutting the corten steel

Similar to the stone world map with polished marble, the illuminated stainless steel world map undergoes a complex fabrication process. The map comprises three layers, each requiring multiple production stages.

In the initial stage, the base layer of the illuminated steel is cut from a 0.08-inch (2mm) thick plate of corten steel. This steel base layer possesses high magnetic characteristics, making it ideal for use as part of the magnetic installation kit.

Once cut, the corten steel undergoes cleaning to remove its protective oil. Next, the surface is sanded using a sanding machine. This rough sanding creates tiny scratches on the surface, which are necessary for the acrylic layer to adhere properly to the base layer in a later stage op the fabrication process.

Cutting & engraving stainless steel

The second stage of cutting is also performed using the fiber laser machine. However, in this case, a stainless steel plate is coated with a different protective oil. This oil serves to shield the steel surface not only during cutting but also during the engraving of the country borders, safeguarding against sparks emitted by the laser. It's crucial that this protective layer covers every spot across the surface, as even a few sparks can damage the fine ceramic-sanded finish of the stainless steel.

Once all continents and islands are cut and engraved, all parts undergo thorough cleaning and inspection to detect any unexpected scratches. To achieve the desired brilliant shine, we apply a special stainless steel polish to all parts.

Cutting the acrylic layer

The acrylic parts are cut using our CO2 laser. This layer of acrylic serves as a housing for the LED string, dispersing the light evenly. As depicted in the photo, each acrylic part features a cut out slot with an offset of approximately 2 cm, designed to accommodate the LED string.

Due to the distinct nature of the CO2 laser machine, the cutting parameters for acrylic differ significantly. To achieve a clean cut without any burnings, the cutting speed must be reduced, and the wattage adjusted accordingly. Since the laser needs to traverse the entire contour multiple times, the cutting process for this layer takes nearly three times as long as usual.

Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves. Once you witness the outcome of the diffused LED-light, you'll understand why the wait is worthwhile.

Adding the layers together

What may seem like a simple task is actually the most time-consuming and precise step in the entire process of creating this illuminated world map. The base layer must be glued to its counterparts. However, because the cut-out slot needs to be removed when both pieces are joined, it's crucial to ensure that this special glue doesn't come into contact with the slot's surface. Therefore, most of the glue on the acrylic side will be applied by hand.

Then comes the 
characteristics of this heavy-duty glue, which adds a layer of complexity to this phase. Once the two parts are pressed together, they're firmly locked in place. In essence, this presents a single opportunity to achieve the perfect alignment. However, with over a decade of experience in precision craftsmanship, we're confident in our ability to execute this step flawlessly, with each and every illuminated MapaWall.

Adding/testing the LED-strings

Once all parts and their corresponding counterparts are glued together into a single piece, we proceed to remove the acrylic pieces that were initially cut to create slots for the LED strip insertion. With this step completed, we can begin placing the LED string into the slots. As the LED string is custom-sized, we need to connect various sections of the strip. After soldering all sections together, we thoroughly test the entire string for any errors in the lights.

Once all LEDs are confirmed to be working, it's time to finalize the map by drilling cylindrical magnets into the inner part of the acrylic. These strong magnets hold the stainless steel layer in place, which will eventually be mounted onto the map once it's installed on the wall. This design allows for easy removal of the LED strip, such as when moving to a new home. Simply click on and off the top steel layer, just as easily as the map itself.

Securing the map for shipping

Anyone who has ordered a MapaWall world map knows that we take great care in packing and shipping our maps. With clients ordering from all corners of the globe, we cannot afford to risk these valuable maps being damaged during transportation. Despite the excellent efforts of UPS and their team, we prioritize prevention over resolution when it comes to potential damage.

In contrast to most other world maps we produce, the illuminated map is packaged in a unique manner. Inside the carton casing, we use wooden panels to secure the relatively heavy components. Each part is cushioned with soft padding and wrapped in foil to ensure they remain in their designated positions during transit.

Due to the substantial weight, nearly 100 pounds (54.5 kg), we use two carton cases instead of one to ship this map to its new owner.

Should you have any questions regarding this world map with diffused lighting, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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All MapaWalls are shipped insured around the world with UPS Capital 
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