Lake Tahoe in Detail

I got tired of seeing 3D Lake Tahoes scroll made of 3 or 4 scroll saw cut layers stacked and glued. Simply poor representations of lake bottoms so I decided to try to engrave my own with the details from real data. I did make the depth proportionally much deeper than it really is because the lake is 22 MILES long and 12 MIles wide so the 1600 ft. depth didn’t look so impressive in true proportion.

This is my first 3D engraving that I finished fully like this with paint and gloss. They are usually wood tone and I don’t consider myself much of an artist.

I pulled 52 depths from bathymetric data for Lake Tahoe which took many too many hours…hundreds to learn and adapt to new software and to battle it. I could probably pull the data and get it ready to cut in 2-3 hours now and even in minutes when I learn the scripting for the program.

The wood is MDF. 2 -20mm pieces glued together. It took about 1/2 hour per layer at 200mm/s using a 2" lens.
Each layer was de charred with a wire brush prior to cutting the next layer so there was a moderate amount of babysitting.
There are a few attempts at painting and washing and staining under what you see. I was going to fill it with urethane but it looked fine this way.
The colors are water-based clear acrylic mixed with blue and green easter egg die and also a grey acrylic and a mahogany acrylic.
The frame is Birch. The stain is mahogany acrylic.
Final coat with clear coat


Nice work JS!!!

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The evidence presented supports the opposite conclusion.

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That really turned out nice. I am not sure I understand your process for cutting each layer, since the first cut would need to be the deepest.

That looks fantastic. Nice end result!

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Each layer engraves the WHOLE of the layer. The outermost and shallowest layer is cut 1st. The next depth layer, just inside has already had one cut and the whole of that layer is cut. Each consecutive cut is a contour line inside the last layer and makes it deeper and deeper.

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Thank you Oz and thank you LightBurn!

Now I understand, thanks for explaining. I was biased to think about how I had been making maps by cutting out each contour and stacking them. Your way is much better.

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I don’t know jack about the value of art. All I know is that I think the piece is really good.

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