First In-Depth Project


As many others have on here, I purchased a laser with an interest in doing lake maps. Thanks to the forum, I had a great head start, and this went pretty smoothly.

This started as a Wisconsin DNR PDF lake survey, that I had to trace the contours for the cuts in Inkscape. That was most of the upfront learning and time. Actually etching and cutting on the Glowforge was a breeze.

I’d change some of the steps on assembly/ staining. But it still came out nice. Wish I would have bought a Glowforge sooner.


Wonderful work and project!

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“In depth” project. I see what you did there! :wink:


Excellent results! (And @elizabeth beat me to my clever comment!) :smile:

Nicely done. Although you wish you had bought a Glowforge sooner, you seem to be making the most of your purchase now. Keep on forging.

Oh, it’s lovely! Looks like a museum piece.

All your efforts paid off … Excellent work!

What a lovely product! I especially like the frame. Now that I see yours I can’t believe I haven’t put a frame on any of my own because it draws the project together so nicely.

If you plan on making maps of different areas, it might save time to use publicly available bathymetry files and a GIS program to generate the contours for you.

Well completed project.

Getting GIS software working is my next hurtle. I’ve been challenged finding Wisconsin data, although other states seem to have readily available vector maps.

At the risk of pointing you toward resources you’ve already found, I’ll provide a few links!

WI Dept of Natural Resources:
Great for water coverage / polution / other environment-focused data

WI State Cartographer’s Office:
Great for elevation, imagery, etc

Geodata Portal of University of Wisconsin - Madison:
Best resource I found for most human-centric data. Population, land cost, land use, political districts, etc. Also includes resources from the above links, but can be overwhelming if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for.

Hope this helps! If you’d like pointers toward tutorials I found useful when learning to manipulate big data, shoot me a message.

Edit: Most of these will be in database formats that won’t work with a vector software as-is. This tutorial should get you rolling: