William “Bill” Steele and Ed Estes, a former Microsoft executive, and a former software company owner had an idea in 2013. They wanted to make a difference in the world by inspiring students to think like entrepreneurs. To free students’ creativity and bring their imagination to life – in real time – using design thinking and 3D printing. But how to do that? 3D desktop printing was expensive, hard to use, and maintain and the printers were large. A lot of those issues were brought on by the inherent and traditional way 3D printers are designed and built.
Outlier Magazine is an online publication geared toward the dynamic community of startups and entrepreneurs; a network of founders, investors and business owners from around the world. It is a forum in which to connect and collaborate, to mentor and be mentored, and to share the experiences of creating and growing a company. It is dedicated to providing the knowledge, tools and insight needed to propel a company from its foundation to its ultimate potential.
Every entrepreneurial venture runs into unexpected challenges, turbulence, turmoil and pull-your-hair-out kind of mistakes along the journey. It happens. Always has, always will. The question is how to respond? How do you overcome? This is a true story of one such adventure here at Polar 3D.
Things were sailing along pretty smoothly. But then, late on a Saturday night in August, a pack of cunning, calculating thieves battered down the door to the Polar 3D corporate headquarters. However, these were not ordinary thieves. They were smart thieves. They dashed by the bigger, pricier MakerBot printers in the shop to target only Polar 3D printers. In total, the discerning burglars made off with 22 Polar 3D printers in six minutes then fled the scene leaving nothing but MakerBots in their wake.
We Told You it Was a True Story
The thieves didn’t steal the Polar 3D printers because they knew of the industry awards and accolades. They heisted the printers because they were good at math. The sleek, lightweight, uniquely open-view Polar 3D is a desktop printer that produces four times the build volume and is 75% LESS EXPENSIVE than the MakerBot.
Then Came the Funny Stuff
The Polar 3D team had a team meeting to assess the situationafter dejectedly picking themselves up from the robbery. As usual, it was all business. (not). Tears and distress reverberated in the office (not). Jokes and laughter were kept to a minimum, (not).
Dastardly Demons of Deceit
The team decided to make something positive out of the experience. But first they needed to try to identify the dastardly demons of deceit that made off with their Polar 3D printers. So they did what any self-respecting 3D printer startup company in Cincinnati, Ohio would do. They called a...
Everyone there was in high spirits, even the dead ones. Listen to the call!
This investigative crime-fighting phone call resulted in two historic firsts for the 3D Desktop printing industry.
The thieves and their real intentions were revealed (ambiguously).
The results of the call led to an outreach program for the frustrated criminals that allowed them to be reformed and rapidly reintroduced successfully into the 3D Desktop Printer Community. That program was the aptly named the MakerBot Smart Extruder Trade-in Program. The aspiration was to keep disgruntled MakerBot customers out of the slammer and away from a life of crime.
"It’s hard to say which is more impressive about Polar 3D; this awesome deal to attract new customers, or their incredibly forward-thinking marketing campaign. Bruised but unbowed by their brush with the criminal underworld, the company has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. " - ALL3DP
Embroiled in a Legal Imbroglio
But not everyone was happy or pleased with this story - even though it was obviously us having fun and trying to turn the incident into a positive experience. Especially not happy were MakerBot lawyers. Now, we have no beef with MakerBot. We're brothers-in-arms in the race to conquer the 3D Printer Desktop market. We plan to win it smashingly of course, but we didn't expect lawyers to question the truthfulness of the story, well, except maybe the Psychic Hotline... that might not have been exactly accurate because a couple of the people that showed up were dead. But they had great insights anyway! However, before we knew it, we were embroiled in a legal imbroglio. As detailed below.
When using a Psychic Hotline make sure it's reputable, approved by the Better Business Burea, try not to be the Brand of choice for the criminal element and, if you do nothing else, get a lawyer with a sense of humor.
William "Bill" Steele co-founder of Polar 3D and the inventor of the Polar 3D Printer, will be the featured speaker at the Inventor's Council of Cincinnati on Tuesday, January 5th, at 7:00 PM, at the Cincinnati Public Library, 800 Vine Street, Room 301 (3rd Floor), Cincinnati.
The Inventor-Preneur's Journey
The topic of the presentation is "The Polar 3D Inventor-Preneur's Journey: From Concept to Market."
Polar 3D offers the first affordable and practical, precision 3D printing solution for home, schools and colleges. The Polar 3D printer is the world's first 3D Printer based on polar coordinates. This radical design innovation enables an open-view and round, rotatable, slideable build platform that delivers four times the build volume at 75% less cost than competitors.
The Polar3D printer is more than just a printer. It's a set of powerful proprietary software products and services, easy to setup and use. And the affordable price makes it perfect for the home or the classroom.
The Inventor's Council
The Inventor’s Council of Cincinnati (ICC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the education and support of the independent inventor. From developing and protecting innovative ideas to making and selling them, or finding someone to do it for you, the ICC can help. They provide the support needed to help make informed decisions about where you and your products are going.
The Inventor’s Council of Cincinnati meets every month to provide a forum for education and discussion. Featured expert speakers present on topics of interest to independent inventors. is open for sharing and answering questions. Presentations are free of charge and open to the public!
Free on-street parking is available at meters after 5:30 or park for $2 at the Garfield Garage on 9th, just west of Vine.
Polar 3D Co-Founder William "Bill" Steele and the Polar 3D Printer was featured on The Source Radio station, 1370AM and 96.3FM in Ocala, Florida.
Show Hosts Larry Whitler and Robin MacBlane have a lively discussion with Bill Steele about Polar 3D's goal of "Inspiring Students to Think Like Entrepreneurs, "the Polar Ambassador program, and using design thinking and 3D printing in schools.