Sea Floor Bathymetry – SCOPES Digital Fabrication

Lesson Details

Grade Levels

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Matt Zigler
Matt Zigler
K-12 teacher
I am a teacher, artist, and maker. I am currently the Bullis Innovation and Technology Lab (BITlab) Coordinator at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. In this role, I work with students and teachers to bring design thinking and the Maker… Read More


Students will demonstrate understanding of various sea floor features, create a digital and physical model of a sea floor, and then practice mapping the sea floor (bathymetry) using dowel rods and 3D modeling in Excel.

What You'll Need

CNC Router or 3D Printer

Laser Cutter

Computer and Sculptris Program

1/8 inch Dowel Rods or grilling skewers

2 inch thick foam insulation

Design Files

The Instructions

Design a model sea floor

Using the free downloadable program, Sculptris, students will design a model sea floor that incorporates multiple sea floor elements.

Download the program Sculptris (, and the template block to be loaded in the program. Using the crease, push and other tools sculpt the block into the various sea floor elements required.


Create the physical model

Download the file as an STL and carve it on your CNC Router or print it on your 3D printer.

Carve your block out of 2 inch insulation foam from the resulting .STL file. If you do not have a CNC machine you could print them out on a 3D printer. If you scale them down from the original design file, you will have to make changes to later parts of the project.