rocky-mountainsAs a child, I was fortunate to take annual trips to the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the winters to ski or the summers to enjoy the crisper weather. Being around such majestic forces of nature really shaped my environmental views — I even decided to go to college in Colorado because of this early exposure, and enthusiastically joined the campus mountain climbing club. I quickly learned I was not the only one who felt a deep connection to mountains; there were many mountain enthusiasts much more knowledgeable than I was about local ranges, amazing hikes, and fun facts.

There is no shortage of inspirational quotes — “climb every mountain” –, cliff-hanging stories about monumental climbs gone wrong, and iconic images (such as Ansel Adams’ work) featuring mountains. They are something to conquer, admire, submit to, study, paint, and photograph. And, now, they are also something to make high-resolution 3D printed models of as well.

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Do you know an amateur or professional geologist, geographer, or mountain climbing enthusiast who would love a unique holiday gift of 3D modeled mountains? Or do you know a young person beginning to express an interest in mountains who could use a few models to study, admire, and generally get excited about? 3D printing design company Mountain Shapes is still taking orders for the holiday season for their accurately scaled 3D printed mountain range models with full color surface details. Think a 3D printed map and you are on the right track! (Or trail…)

According to their page on Shapeways, the models are built in London by a “terrain modeling chartered engineer” and an IT professional. Mountain Shapes offers two categories of models: Standard and Superior Range. The Standard Range models use  Ordnance Survey OpenData that provides the elevation data used to provide design information, and Mountain Shapes’ Superior Range models use better quality and higher-resolution elevation data.

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Many hikers, camping enthusiasts, and amateur and professional naturalists and scientists value high-resolution maps because they allow them to understand and further imagine their terrain of interest in stark detail. Science teachers can also get great use out of high-resolution mountain models that teach introductory geological, geographical, and measurement tools and concepts. Because Mountain Shapes is based in London, it focuses on regional mountain ranges, offering Standard range models for the Welsh 3,000 ft, English 3,000 ft, and Scottish 4,000 ft peaks, as well as Superior Range Models of National Three Peaks — the Ben mount1Navis, Scafell Pike, and Snowden.

Each Mountain Shapes 3D printed relief runs between about $25 and $35 and the reliefs come as photos or with maps. Mountain Shapes’ website also provides details about each model. For example, in describing each model, an overview, surface detail of modeled area (including all mountain walls), model size specifications, and all kinds of extra information are provided. These are excellent educational gifts for outdoor enthusiasts, or you may want to commemorate one of those killer mountain climbing excursions you survived. Either way, Mountain Shapes high-resolution 3D models provide great visuals and scientific learning as well.

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What do you think about Mountain Shapes’ 3D printed mountain models? Let us know! Join the discussion over at the Mountain Shapes forum thread at 3DPB.com.

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