Making a Bathymetric Book by Hand and Searching for an Easier Way

bathymetric-book

We first saw this Bathymetric Book at our local hackerspace, Sector67, quite some time ago. [Caroline Rose] gave a seven minute presentation on the project as part of the monthly meeting which is open to the public. You can get a pretty good feel for the book that includes a to-scale depth representation of Crater Lake in the introductory post which she recently published. Each page makes up one topographical ring of the lake. Put them all together and you’ve got a really amazing way to explore the watery depths of the deepest lake in the United States.

The book you see above is hand made. She downloaded the depth data from the US Geological Survey, then put it through some processing in order to print one elevation level on each page. That’s when the work really began. She cut out every page by hand! The four-plus hour task was grueling. And just for a bit of added punishment she even made a second book. But at Tuesday night’s follow-up presentation she said never again.

[Caroline] developed a much faster and still accurate technique for producing the bound-book depth maps. She is using a laser cutter and a different binding technique. By using folded packets of paper, rather than individual pages, she is able to cut out three double-sheets at once — including holes for the binding thread and the outline of the finished pages themselves. This cuts the process down to about four minutes of laser cutter time.

For now you’ll have to settle for a time-lapse video of the hand-cutting process (embedded below). But we hope to post an update when she makes more information about the laser-cut version available.

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Dealing with the horrors of PDFs by binding your own books

Looking at a few PDFs of data sheets, journal articles, or even complete books can be a pain. Not only do you have to deal with the torment of a PDF reader (we’re looking at you, Adobe), but a purely electronic document misses the beautiful tactile interface available in dead tree format. [samimy] put together an amazingly professional video showing us how to turn our convenient yet unwieldy PDFs into paperback books, perfect for a very accessible off-line reference.

[samimy]‘s build is basically a few pieces of wood and C clamps designed to compress the printed PDF together. After drilling a few holes along the spine, he stitches the pages together with very strong thread and applies a little glue to the spine. After removing the pages from the press, [samimy] applied a piece of tape to the spine and had a very nice looking paperback book.

While [samimy] is using his binding jig for data sheets, we see no reason why a more prodigious tome couldn’t be created with his rig. A few pages of marbled paper and a leather cover would result in a beautiful and functional work of art that will be around long after you’re gone.

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