Logo-SuperiorAs Hurricane Patricia formed while we headed into last weekend, seemingly out of nowhere for those of us not glued to the weather radar, there was barely the sufficient amount of time for residents–and media–to begin a massive panic along the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Popular beach areas like Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo were right in the target zone, with news stating that they would have 200 mph winds headed their way–and would be dealing with the strongest hurricane ever recorded. Luckily, as is often the way with hurricanes, it fizzled out, heading to mountainous regions, and left most sighing in relief.

As the storm approached with what looked like serious danger at first, many residents of Mexico began preparation, in shock over the development of Patricia. The Mexican government began taking preliminary action for a catastrophe, and the world watched on as the storm developed into a raging Category 5. Rushing to hardware stores, residents began purchasing plywood and hardware to nail up and board up homes and businesses along the coastline and everywhere landfall was predicted.151023093147-hurricane-patricia-1023-9am-large-169

Yards were cleared of debris that could sail through windows, and smaller boats were pulled out of their slips in anticipation of disaster. It was a quick packing process, as well, as evacuation orders were issued. Those leaving had to make the quick choices that happen in a crisis, packing the essentials and heading out in a hurry.

Some, however, like the team at TechMind, who we followed recently as they created 3D printed yearbooks for blind students in their home city of Guadalajara, had other planning processes on their mind. They decided to make a 3D print of the meteorological melee that had suddenly befallen their country. And not only did they produce an impressive relief weather map, but also have shown a great way to examine and learn about the storm more closely, combining technology and topography. We’ve seen 3D printing used to do this before quite effectively in cases showing off and teaching about subjects like geography in San Francisco, other new and innovative programs using Google Maps to generate data, as well as learning about population density and economics through numbers and 3D printing technology used in mapmaking.

The team at TechMind downloaded images of Patricia beginning to bear down on a course toward the coast of Mexico and used Embossify to turn them into 3D files. Using a Tinkerine DittoPro, they 3D printed the model of Hurricane Patricia at 120 mm/s.

“Hurricane Patricia has left its mark on our country–positive or negative, depending on your point of view,” states the team on their website. “But from a scientific angle, a hurricane is a unique opportunity to study the climate of our planet, so we decided to make a 3D model of Patricia and use it as an educational tool to understand the anatomy of a hurricane.”

2015-10-24_13.34.33Their model is a compact print that you can hold in your hand easily and run your fingers over the texture and angles, really getting a feel for the storm that fizzled out nearly as fast as it came on. It’s also quite fascinating watching the TechMind time-elapse video shown below. Seeing the 3D print in process is almost like watching the storm building, as details are filled in.

The 3D model can be downloaded free from TechMind, and the files are also available at Thingiverse.

TechMind is a Mexican startup dedicated to technological innovation. They not only sell 3D printers like the DittoPro and the Cube3D, but offers a course in 3D printing in Guadalajara as well. They also sell related products like filament and microcontrollers and conductive ink.  What are your thoughts on Patricia being 3D Printed?  Let us know in the 3D Printed Hurricane forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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