Some Unexpectedly Funny Bumps on an Entrepreneurial Journey


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.

It Begins

The Polar 3D printer was launched at the 2015 CES in Las Vegas.  A savvy commentator at CES called it “The iPhone of 3D Printers.” In March, the Polar 3D website was officially launched. In July, the  Polar 3D team attended the 2015 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Show and won a Best of Show Award.

Then Came the Thieves

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 situation after 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...

Psychic Hotline

Everyone there was in high spirits, even the dead ones. Listen to the call!

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This investigative crime-fighting phone call resulted in two historic firsts for the 3D Desktop printing industry.

  1. The thieves and their real intentions were revealed (ambiguously).
  2. 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.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Multiple media outlets picked up the story.  3D Print Magazine published the articles, Choosy Thieves Smash & Grab 22 Polar 3D Printers in Midnight Raid, Snubbing MakerBots–and Inspiring an Extruder Trade-In and Psychic Hotline Confirms Motive Behind Theft of Polar 3D Printers. Then it went global with ALL3DP  Magazine in Germany publishing the story 8 out of 10 Thieves Would Steal a Polar 3D Printer over a MakerBot Replicator. Their writers summarized the story like this...

"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.

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Lucky for Us Our Lawyer has a Sense of Humor

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Lesson Learned?

And there things ended. Lesson learned?

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.