Oct 31, 2016 | By Tess

Even for most adults, the current U.S. electoral system is a puzzling and often frustratingly confusing thing, but just imagine being a young student trying to make sense of the democratic election process; wondering what a swing state is, what blue states and red states are…it can be a bit overwhelming. Before this year’s election becomes any messier, and in the short lead-up to the actual election on November 8, teachers and parents everywhere might want to consider 3D printing this tactile and customizable Electoral College Map.

The 3D printed map, which was designed by Chicago-based maker Chris Krueger, represents the historical voting information for the contiguous United States electoral college. In addition to the voting information in terms of population (represented by varying heights), the 3D printed map can also be printed in two colors, red and blue, to show which states have historically voted republican or democratic.

Krueger’s Thingiverse page features two .STL maps, one which represents data from 1800, and another with data from the last Presidential Election in 2012. You can customize the map with more current information, however, by manually adjusting state values using a customizable .scad 3D map, or by selecting the electoral college year you want.

1800 Electoral College Map

The tactile, 3D infographic could be a great and relatively easy way to begin teaching kids about the way the U.S. democratic system works, and how certain parts of the country have varying values and political alliances. In fact, 3D printing company Airwolf 3D has even put together a useful lesson plan for teaching young students about the election process. Included in their educational package are reading materials, educational videos, discussion topics, and, of course, the 3D printed Electoral College Map.

They recommend 3D printing a version of the map before the election with students and comparing the results after the election. It does seem like an interesting way to not only visualize how the 2016 elections are panning out, but also to compare how the current electoral college compares to previous years, even as far back as 1800!

2012 Electoral College Map

The 3D print files for Kruger’s customizable Electoral College Map can be downloaded for free through his Thingiverse page here. If you’re interested in going further, Airwolf 3D’s whole election lesson plan, appropriately titled “Electoral Madness” can be found here.

If you are at your wit's end with the current election cycle, you can always forego the map and take out your frustrations on this 3D printed Donald Trump stressball.



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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Breeley Kulasik wrote at 11/7/2016 7:54:30 PM:

very cool. this is definetly a good way to teach kids like me about the presidential candidates please make more things like this

mick wrote at 11/1/2016 4:22:11 PM:

OH "Help kids make sense of the U.S. elections with this 3D printed Electoral College Map" What about the adults, who going to help us understand WTH is going on?

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