3D Lake Depth Map (actually helped me find new fav fishing spots!)



I’ve fished the same lake over 30 years, but always used a 2D paper map, or 2D fishing app with the depth rings (bathometric map). Then I decided to get that map 3D rendered, and cut it out with my avid cnc!

Following the old adage: if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing, I decided to fabricate stock with walnut veneer sandwiched between 5mm hard white maple layers. Each walnut line represents another 5 feet of depth…but Z axis was exaggerated with respect to X and Y, since lake is over a mile across. Otherwise, the depth change wouldn’t look very dramatic. Final project size is 5 feet wide x 3 feet tall, and 3 1/2" thick. That’s a lot of resawing and planing etc, but somehow my wife is still with me!

Happy to share more about that journey if you like! That was back in 2019, and besides the spoilboard cutouts, was my first CNC project, which I really do not recommend to anyone else! Learned a lot though!

Oh yes – studying the whole completed 3D Map, I DID find new places to fish, which have caught me more walleye than I ever used to! See when looking at the map in 2D, I mis-read some areas assuming they were consistently getting deeper, when in fact only some of those concentric circles represented valleys…others were actually submerged islands! I never looked close enough at the tiny numbering along the bathometry lines. That of course changed the fishing game :fishing_pole_and_fish: Thanks again Avid CNC – and wife!

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This is fanatstic! So let me see if I get this… You essentially made your own plywood!?

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I love the topo line idea. If someone did a lake in a mountainous area, it would be cool to use walnut for topo lines underwater and switch to maple for the topo lines above water, or vice versa.

Please tell me you had a vacuum press!

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I’ve seen a few projects like this. It’s a wonderful idea to have accurate depth lines represented with the topo map. Great work!

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@Stephen - Gracious I wish I had a vacuum press. I do have a hearty stack of pipe clamps, so I got a real workout in for sure!! Vacuum would have been ton better/more sane, agreed.

Hey @Eric , thanks! Yes, each walnut veneer layer represented 5 feet of depth, so you can actually get a semi accurate reading from it! The Z-axis was exaggerated with respect to the x and y though, since the lake is over a mile long. Otherwise the 3D model would look super flat & boring, imo! So I took some artistic license there.

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Thanks so much @Petricore ! It’s meant to hang on the wall, but if I could make an itty bitty version it would be really cool and helpful to bring in the boat! :slight_smile:

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@Stephen I also really love the idea to have the depth maybe walnut 5mm with maple veneer bathymetric layers, and then above ground maple 5mm layers with walnut topographic layers. That is a killer idea…!

First of all. Awesome work. It’s frankly beautiful!! Second. Your first project!.!.!.! Mine was a vcarve of the Marine EGA. I feel so inadequate. Great work. I need to step up my game.

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Thanks for your kindness! I think you were by far smarter, starting with something a bit less aggressive! I’ve done mostly simpler things since then, except a wooden geared clock I may post about later! What else have you been creating?

I made a sign for a YouTuber. Matthew Peech. Has a bunch of epoxy work etc I made the whole jaybates meiter saw station but I used the cnc to make all the cuts for the cabinets. Was fun. I have only had my machine set up since last November.

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Very awesome! Thanks for pointing me to the miter saw station also… :+1:

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This is the sign I made. He wanted a rustic look.

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Sheesh that’s KILLER!!

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Thanks. I need to document more of what I do. I get involved and forget. Lol.

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Beautiful work! How did you go about fabricating the 5mm hard maple sheets?

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Hi @ADuncan - thanks kindly! And welcome to the forum!
I resawed a ton of hard white maple on my bandsaw to about 7.5mm, then surface planed both sides to bring each layer to 5mm. It took…a really long time! But I love how one of a kind it is…most folks are not crazy enough for that!!

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Wow! But the result from it is spectacular. One more question if you don’t mind - how did you go about getting the .stl file for that lake? I know the process for obtaining an .stl of mountains, but it seems that breaks down the second I hit a lake or body of water. I’d love to make something similar for a gift for my father!

Hi @ADuncan thanks a lot!
Yes the process is a lot less straightforward for bathymetry maps (water depth) conversion to stl. I had a 2D concentric rings depth map of the lake, which I hired someone to trace all the rings :scream: to generate a 3D .stl for my use. It was a real labor of love and bit costly. But I was determined and on a mission!
When he gave me the 3D version I cleaned it up a bit in Aspire then was able to cut it out.
If you or anyone has since found an easier way to convert bathymetric maps to stl, pray tell!!
Thanks again!
Ryan

I don’t care who you are. That’s nice right there! Very cool take on topo. I love the walnut sandwich!

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