Education, business and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) intersect the maker movement and local start-up cultures in a very unlikely place thanks to $50,000 from a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and the Greater Cincinnati Stem Collaborative (GCSC). Thirteen new 3d Printer Clubs, where students design and print solid objects from digital files, will introduce several hundred fifth and sixth graders to STEM to fill a growing vacancy of jobs.
“With a little guidance, in an afternoon kids can create an object out of their own heads, something tangible, and we’ve managed to pay out some design-thinking knowledge,” says Polar 3D CEO Greg LaLonde.
Polar 3D will supply printers, teacher training and technical support to the after-school clubs.
LaLonde helped target co-founder William Steele’s simpler and more affordable printer to the education market to “inspire young minds to think like entrepreneurs.”
Polar 3D models that mission. By using an eight-inch disk instead of the more typical four-inch square as a building plate, users can create objects four times larger.
“We’re doing in math what competitors have to do with hardware,” Steele says.