Apr 12, 2016 | By Benedict

Polar 3D, an Ohio-based 3D printing company which focuses exclusively on delivering 3D printing technology to educational institutions, has acquired Steam-based online curriculum STEAMtrax from 3D Systems. Financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Whilst school curriculums are now more technology-focused than ever before, 3D printing is yet to find its way onto the agenda of your average educational institution. Polar 3D, a 3D printer and 3D printing equipment manufacturer based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is looking to change that situation by developing products specifically for teachers and students—products which are both affordable and easy to operate.

As of today, Polar 3D has a new weapon in its arsenal, as it has just announced the acquisition of STEAMtrax, an online, STEAM-based, curriculum that integrates engineering, CAD modeling, and 3D printing technology with core academic knowledge in areas of science, math, language arts, social studies, and art. The STEAMtrax team will now transfer to Polar 3D, whilst maintaining its Rochester, New York offices.

STEAMtrax was previously owned and operated by 3D printing giant 3D Systems, but after that company’s decision to move away from consumer-level 3D printers, STEAMtrax began seeking a new partner with whom to implement its educational vision. Polar 3D, with its highly compatible philosophy and objectives, proved to be the perfect fit for the 3D printing-focused online curriculum, and the acquisition was finalized today.

Despite ultimately relinquishing control of STEAMtrax, 3D Systems helped to facilitate the transfer, and has vowed to continue helping out the online technology curriculum where necessary: “We are pleased to have found such a suitable home for STEAMtrax and will continue to support its growth,” said Hugh Evans, VP Corporate Development & Ventures at 3D Systems. “We are impressed with the design of the Polar desktop printer, the power behind the Polar Cloud, and the company’s focus on education.”

Prior to its acquisition of STEAMtrax, Polar 3D, founded in 2013 by William Steele and Ed Estes, offered Cloud-based software solutions for 3D printing in the education market, which it will now merge with STEAMtrax to offer schools a simple and effective means of sharing, storing, and printing their 3D designs. The company possesses a portfolio of patents covering various innovative technologies and products, such as its Polar 3D desktop 3D printer, which stands out from the desktop 3D printer crowd due to its use of a polar coordinate system as opposed to a Cartesian one. The 3D printer features a circular build platform with a build volume of 20.3 cm (diameter) x 15.2 cm and a layer resolution of 50 - 400 microns.

“With 3D Systems exit from the consumer market, we saw an opportunity to partner with them and continue their great work and momentum in the education space,” said Greg LaLonde, CEO of Polar 3D. “We welcome the tens of thousands of teachers and students on STEAMtrax and look forward to enhancing their 3D experience by improving their ability to collaborate, learn and interact socially and virtually via our Polar Cloud.”

STEAMtrax, which describes itself as the “first wrap-around 3D printing engineering STEAM curriculum,” previously integrated its 3D design, printing, and scanning programs with 3D System’s now-discontinued Cube 3D printer and Sense Scanner. The platform can be used to create customized curricula using problem-based, thematic storylines which make learning relevant and fun for young minds. Its transition to Polar 3D will see it incorporate a more Cloud-based learning system using the Polar Cloud.

“When I first saw the Polar Cloud, I was amazed by the platform’s capabilities,” said Dee Kerr, newly appointed Polar 3D president, formerly of STEAMtrax and 3D Systems. “The Polar Cloud allows students and educators the ability to easily manage, store, and share STL files with a click of a button. There is also a camera built into each printer so it is easy to view projects remotely as they build, or you can watch a time-lapse video to observe how the print layers from start to completion. I knew immediately that Polar 3D was the right choice for us.”

The STEAMtrax curriculum is currently available for students in grades K-8, with a high school curriculum slated for an August 2016 launch.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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