It’s time for kids to head back to school, and now some of those students will have an opportunity to learn, hands-on, about 3D printing technology once they’re done for the day thanks to a new partnership between Polar 3D and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Polar 3D, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based 3D printer manufacturer and innovators, are the builders of personal 3D printers based on polar coordinates. Their printers operate without X and Y axes, but rather they spin a mirrored build plate around a central point while the build platform moves 4 inches back and forth in the Y direction.

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Polar 3D Printer

Polar 3D launched its 3D printer at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2015, and they say they’ll now donate 3D printers to Boys & Girls Clubs around the country. The initiative is aimed at helping drive the BGCA’s science, technology, engineering and math and innovation strategy.

Polar 3D says they’ll also build 3D printing labs at various clubs, and in addition to the installation of these 3D printing labs, Polar 3D says the company will create a “hands-on” guide to help club staffers instruct youth on printing technology via the Polar Cloud, an online social platform which promotes collaboration and sharing in the 3D printing community.

According to the announcement, the first three 3D printing labs will be at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (D.C.), Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Portland (Oregon).

“There is a vast opportunity gap for underrepresented kids and teens in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Thanks to partners like Polar 3D, we are able to provide fun, hands-on learning experiences that develop important innovation and problem solving skills and set our youth on the path to great futures,” says Kimberly Boyd, the national vice president of Program, Training & Youth Development Services at BGCA.

The partnership is the work of Polar 3D co-founders William Steele and Ed Estes, a former Microsoft executive and a former software company owner. Polar 3D was founded in September 2013.

“We built this printer and its supportive Polar Cloud social platform not to change how entrepreneurs think, but rather to inspire students to think like entrepreneurs. We want students to go to the Cloud to see what they can do,” Steele says.

More than 4,100 Boys & Girls Clubs serve some 4 million young people with club membership and community outreach, and those clubs are located across the country.

Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of former members, 57 percent said their club experience “saved their lives.”

The group’s national headquarters are located in Atlanta, GA.

“We are so proud to be partnering with BGCA and this is just the beginning,” says Greg LaLonde, the CEO of Polar 3D. “We want all the Clubs and all their members to have the opportunity to access and experience 3D printing. With the continued support of BGCA, the Polar 3D community and our corporate sponsors, we can make that happen.”

Polar 3D also offers programs such as their Polar Ambassador Program, the Polar Cloud and the Polar Challenge, design challenges to foster innovation and creativity. The winners of the challenges are rewarded with Polar 3D Printers, scholarships and internships at innovative companies.

What do you think about this initiative between Polar 3D and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America? Let us know in the Polar 3D and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America 3D Printing Labs forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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