First let me say that if you don’t already have the ability to print large/medium format, it may be cheaper to use a printing service, many local print shops, and office stores like Staples can print some- thing as big as 26”x26” for $20-$40 depending on paper quality, etc..
But if you think your going to do this a lot or you just like to doing things yourself here’s what I use…
First, I use an HP 1220C, it an older printer, but it can handle paper up to 13”x19”, allowing a standard Tannhauser map to print on only four sheets, so there are less seems. Now, you could just use Photo Shop, or some other program that lets you print a large image on to multiple pieces of 8.5”x11” paper, but you will have lots of seems. Seems are hard to deal with and don’t look very good.
You can pick up an HP 1220C for about $100 on EBay, and then you have to spend another $100 on the ink, plus there’s the paper which can cost up to $50. So that’s $250 to get started, and the ink should let you print 8 maps appx. So, that will come to about $30 a map, but if you use cheap paper and refilled ink, you should be able to get the cost down to $15 per map. So, it’s like I said, this is only cost effective if your going to print a lot of big things. Since the printer is a one time purchase, and the paper lasts forever, your second set of maps will be cheaper then the first.
The second step is easy just trim the white space from the image, if you have access to a large paper trimmer that cuts perfect straight lines it will help, but it’s not necessary.
Then just carefully glue the pieces to some picture backing board (heavy card board, available at most craft stores cheap), and you will have a good playable map. You can also use foam-core, it won’t warp as easy, but it will cost more.
Now, I will one last thing, may of the maps here are not super high resolution, that’s the nature of the internet and often the result of the source image I started with. So, they may look a bit blurry or pixelated once they’re printed out. But in my opinion that does not really impact gameplay. But keep that in mind when deciding how to have a map printed, you may be disappointed if you spend $50 on high quality printing, and get a blurry map.
Here is what one of my maps printed on a plotter looks like, a plotter will print the map on a single sheet of paper.
I hope this answers some of the questions out there about printing custom maps. If you have more questions just comment below.