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STEAMtrax

Polar 3D Proud Supporter of the GE Additive Education Program

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Polar 3D Proud Supporter of the GE Additive Education Program

The Polar 3D 2.0 Printer creating a 3D printed facsimile of a turbine engine part.

The Polar 3D 2.0 Printer creating a 3D printed facsimile of a turbine engine part.

CINCINNATI, Jan. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Polar 3D is pleased to announce its support of the GE Additive Education Program for primary and secondary schools under which GE Additive will invest $2 million over two years to subsidize Polar 3D classroom packages.  Enabling educational institutions to provide access to 3D printers will help accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing worldwide, a goal GE and Polar share.  Applications for the Program are now being accepted.  Interested schools may complete the application form here.

"We selected Polar because of their commitment to education, strength of curriculum that integrates 3D printing in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math and the open Polar Cloud platform," said Greg Morris, Strategy & Growth Leader of GE Additive.  "We are excited to watch the ecosystem grow and develop pipelines of future talent in additive manufacturing."

"We are thrilled to participate in the Program and appreciate the opportunity," said Greg LaLonde CEO of Polar 3D.  "With GE's leadership and the power of our educational institutions, we believe student access to 3D printing and inquiry-driven project-based learning will reach an inflection point where network effects kick in and the growth of additive experimentation by our students will follow an exponential, rather than linear, trajectory.  Now is the time to inform and empower these students for an additive world."

Here is the timeline for the 2017 application and selection process:

Primary and secondary schools (ages 8-18)

  • February 28, 2017 - Introductory applications due 
  • March 15, 2017 - Down-selected schools notified 
  • April 7, 2017 - Detailed applications due 
  • April 28, 2017 - Final selections notified

For more information on the GE Additive Education Program please see GE Additive FAQ page here or visit www.geadditive.com

For more information on Polar 3D, please visit www.polar3d.com.  

About Polar 3D

Polar 3D is a technology company delivering software, products and content to educate, train and enable a world for additive manufacturing through the Polar Cloud.  Headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, the Company's Polar Cloud makes 3D printing universally accessible by giving anyone with a browser the ability to create and transform digital models into physical objects.  The Company's patented "polar method" of 3D printing sets its printer apart from the field but the Polar Cloud is open and welcomes all 3D printers.  It's about educating and enabling a future for additive manufacturing by building the Polar Cloud into the largest 3D printing ecosystem in the world.  To that end, the Company and its partners are committed to publishing content on the Polar Cloud to enrich the member experience, including curriculum to drive the advance of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.  For more information, please go to polar3d.com.

About GE

GE (NYSE:  GE) is the world's Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.geadditive.com

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3D Printing in the Classroom — Who Cares?

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3D Printing in the Classroom — Who Cares?

We're excited to bring you this blog post by our Director of Education, David D. Thornburg, PhD.

I've chatted with lots of teachers over the years and now that 3D printers are becoming commonplace in many classrooms, a major complaint has emerged: “We got a printer for our class and after the kids made key chains, we didn't know what to do next, so we don't use it anymore."

This challenge is so commonplace that I thought I should address it. My view is that any technological tool used in education needs to be evaluated on the basis of its curricular connection. Just because something is new and flashy doesn't mean that it should be brought into classrooms. This applies to computers, tablets and other devices, including 3D printers.

In the realm of 3D printing (for example, in the STEAM fields), there are five tasks that form a sequence. These include background on the curricular topic, the design of the 3D parts for the project, the printing of the parts, their assembly into a finished artifact, and experimentation with the object to develop a deeper understanding of the topic. I show this as a loop because the cycle can repeat with embellishments for interesting projects.

Every one of these topics is important. Contrast this approach with one that involves simply downloading and printing designs stored on sites like Thingiverse. While such sites are useful for providing models of difficult-to-design parts, they pale in comparison with the learning that happens when students design projects on their own.

To illustrate the process, I'll show part of our STEAMtrax high school curriculum project on water turbines.

Background

Hydroelectric power provides a significant percentage of the electricity used in the US. The topic of water turbines bridges physics, engineering and mathematics. It allows students to explore Newton's laws, electric power generation and other curricular topics.

Design

After learning about the kinds of turbines used in hydroelectric dams, students are ready to design their own turbine for testing. While there are lots of design tools available (many of which are free), this project uses a free authoring environment called BlocksCAD. BlocksCAD has the advantage of being easy to learn, and for supporting the design of complex shapes.

 

Print

Once the design of the various parts is completed, the finished designs need to be printed. In our case this includes the turbine wheel itself, the wheel holder, and the end caps placed on the wheel axle that also allow a small DC motor to be added as a generator.

Assemble

The next step in the process is the assembly of the final system, including its connection to a voltmeter to show how much electricity is produced then the turbine wheel rotates.

Experiment

Once the assembly is completed, the wheel is subjected to a stream of water and students can see how much electricity is produced by a water turbine they built themselves. This leads to some new questions. For example, our first wheel had eight blades. What would happen if we had six blades ― or ten?

Because our modeling language is parametric, changing blade designs is as easy as changing the value of one variable. This lets students print and try differenct wheel designs with ease. By using an inexpensive laser tachometer, wheel rotational speed can be measured with different water flow rates and comparisons can be made between wheels with different numbers of blades. Suddenly this activity has a strong math component that aligns nicely with existing standards.

From this point, you can go back to the Background step and launch an exploration of different kinds of turbine designs.

When viewed from this perspective, 3D printing is a powerful tool in education. Instead of presenting the curriculum in a linear lecture-driven format where it is quickly forgotten, students learn through the process of “constructionism” where the things they learn will stay with them a long time.

The approach I just described applies to the curricular materials we develop at Polar3D under the STEAMtrax name.

By all means, make a nice keychain if you want, but then please quickly move to curricular-based projects like those provided by STEAMtrax to transform the learning experience using 3D printers as the key technology to do things you simply couldn't do before.

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Now Taking Submissions For STEAMtrax PLUS

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Now Taking Submissions For STEAMtrax PLUS

A letter from our Director of Education, David Thornburg, PHD.

To all teachers enthusiastic about 3D printing,

Have you ever thought about a really cool lesson on a subject you teach that involves 3D printing? 

Polar 3D is building the STEAMtrax PLUS Teacher Idea Center — a place where you can put your amazing curriculum ideas and lesson plans to share with the world!  Your lessons will be indexed by subject area and grade level with a focus on STEAM topics - although submissions in other areas are more than welcome as well.  While our focus is on the K-12 world, we'd love to see college level projects too!

Our goal is to make creating great curriculum as simple as possible for you.  We have a template for you to use for your lesson, to bring consistency to the offering.  Here's how the process works:

 

  1. Download and use the template here to build your lesson.
  2. Send it to Dr. Thornburg, our Director of Education.
  3. We will choose a professional mentor to help you tweak and publish your lesson if needed.
  4. When approved, your lesson will be posted along with printable files for others to use and comment on in the new Polar Cloud 2.0.

 

 

 

There is no cost associated with any of these activities, and your materials will be released under a Creative Commons Copyright.  We'll be watching to see how folks resonate with your ideas, and look forward to promoting & rewarding those with the most engaging content!

If you have any questions, please send them to Dr. David Thornburg.  We can't wait to see what great ideas you come up with!

 

David Thornburg, PHD

Director of Education, Polar 3D

 

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Polar Cloud Hits 100,000 3D Prints, Company Closes $2 Million Financing & Expands Team

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Polar Cloud Hits 100,000 3D Prints, Company Closes $2 Million Financing & Expands Team

CINCINNATI, Ohio, October 4, 2016 -  Polar 3D, the Company that provides the most comprehensive, end-to-end solution for 3D printing in the classroom, is pleased to announce its Polar Cloud has reached 100,000 3D print jobs — making it the fastest growing online platform for 3D printing in education.  In addition to this milestone, the Company also announces that it has closed a $2 million financing round and expanded its executive team with two industry luminaries, Dan Newman and David Thornburg.

 

“As this school year got underway, we saw a major ramp-up of 3D print jobs on our Polar Cloud,” noted Greg LaLonde, Polar 3D’s CEO.   “We are thrilled the experience is moving past the 3D printer itself to a truly collaborative environment where student-led learning, discovery and “making” are exploding.  There is simply no limit to how much these kids want to show off their work. It’s intoxicating, contagious, and is why the Polar Cloud affords an unusually large-scale opportunity.”

 

To help fund and accelerate the growth of the Polar Cloud, the Company closed out a $2 million convertible note financing on September 30, 2016.  The Company previously raised $1.5 million and plans a $6.5 million Series A round in 2017.  It also hired Dan Newman as Chief Technology Officer and David Thornburg as Director of Education.

 

“After seeing the Polar Cloud and hearing plans for Polar Cloud 2.0, I couldn’t say yes fast enough… they had me at print,” says Dan Newman.  Bill Steele, Co-founder of Polar 3D put it this way: “Everyone knows of Dan.  He wrote the firmware used by our competitors’ printers (e.g., Makerbot, Dremel, etc.) and helped Apple design their solution to scale iCloud. Dan is going to make a massive impact on our cloud and hardware products, we are very lucky to have him.”

 

The Polar Cloud 2.0 will go live January 1, 2017 and aims to greatly expand and enrich the user experience.  “We are all about education and inspiring students to innovate and think like entrepreneurs,” said Ed Estes, Co-founder of Polar 3D.  “Naturally, when the opportunity arose to grab David Thornburg we took it and didn’t let go.  David literally wrote the book on 3D printing in the classroom and is globally recognized as a pioneer in the field of 3D printing in education.”

 

“I met Polar at ISTE in 2015 and have watched their passion and momentum build,” says David Thornburg.  “After they acquired STEAMtrax from 3D Systems and asked me to run it, I thought wow this is the perfect opportunity for me to take my work and network of the past 40 years to drive content and creation on the Polar Cloud to benefit classrooms around the globe.”

 

For More Information

For scheduling interviews, contact Brandon Leedy, Marketing Manager via email or phone.

For sales or product information, contact Jon Hauer, VP of Sales via email or phone.

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SHOP REDESIGN + STEAMTRAX DIRECT

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SHOP REDESIGN + STEAMTRAX DIRECT

If you head on over to shop.polar3d.com (or click that big SHOP link in the upper right) you'll find that we've got a fresh new look for the store — in keeping with all the fancy re-designs going on around here.  

Not only will you find new photos and info for some of your favorite Polar 3D products, but you'll also see a big addition to our direct store: STEAMtrax. Now you'll be able to purchase STEAMtrax licenses, renewals, and module kits through our store, without the need for a specific quote. We hope this makes your purchasing experience easier and more efficient, as you'll know direct prices right on the spot. You'll also notice two new bundles in the store: Elementary and Middle School Polar Packs --- which combine the Polar Printers your know and love plus filament and STEAMtrax curriculum. If you were looking to bring your school into the 3D Printing future, those are the bundles to buy!

Have fun exploring the new store and happy shopping! As always, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact us using the form at the bottom of the site, or through our accounts on Facebook or Twitter

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