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We love the work that Mad Badger Designs has been creating with her layered lake maps using cartocuts software

We reached out to Sarah Hamilton to answer a few questions about her work and inspirations

1.) Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

I am Sarah Hamilton of Mad Badger Designs, and my studio is in Bozeman, Montana.  I create 3D wooden layered bathymetric maps of lakes along with layered paper sculptures.  Because I am based in Montana and a fan of the National Parks, often my maps and sculptures are inspired by local lakes, National Parks and places I have been.  I also work closely with customers to make custom maps.

2.) What lasers and software do you work with?

My laser cutter is a Glowforge Plus. As my business grows and I am asked for larger maps, I am considering adding another, larger laser.

I use a variety of software and reference maps to create my maps:

  • For my hand-drawn maps or portions of maps that are hand-drawn, I draw on my iPad using Procreate and my Apple Pencil.  I use Cartocuts for my maps that include topographical information or detailed road and city maps because they consistently engrave beautifully.   And I finalize all my maps in Adobe Illustrator.  
  • For reference maps, I typically use several references for each map including Cartocut maps, depth maps and charts (often from various sites that support fishermen or a bathymetric study),  Google Maps (which is really handy in the satellite view to estimate lake depths and colors where a depth map or chart is unavailable), Trailforks (for mountain bike trails), and National Geographic/Trails Illustrated Maps of National Parks or other topo maps.

3.) What’s your favourite thing about maps?

Maps have always excited me because for me, a map is not only the start of any adventure but also a way to relive past adventures.  I love to travel, hike, mountain bike, ski, camp and explore, and maps are always handy companions.  As my ever growing collection of paper maps can attest, I use maps to plan trips, find places I have never been, remember past travels, and save new spots for future adventures.

My collection of paper maps is well used, crinkled, and littered with handwritten notes like “Camp here – beautiful views, but lots of bugs” or “this road doesn’t exist, ugh.” Creating my own maps using my laser has been a natural extension of this passion.  

I love creating layered lake maps in wood because they are three dimensional, have color (I get to paint!), and show off the natural wood grain (I am a big fan of cherry and walnut, but also use maple).  

Most importantly, my maps evoke an emotional response from almost every person who sees them.  

You can find my work at and for custom inquires, please email me at

You can follow her work on social media here:


Hi, I am Gregg and I love maps and lasers.

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About Cartocuts

Cartocuts is software for makers to make maps