We have recently acquired a Polar3D printer named Na’nuq, so I have been researching the Polar3D printers and their company these last few days, and I have to say that I have very high expectations for their machines. The company was founded in 2013 but officially launched January of this year and already they have started making 3D printers more accessible and practical for use in the classroom. Their goals are largely focused on education rather than harboring the public’s imagination like MakerBot. Don’t get me wrong, MakerBot is doing a great thing by encouraging creativity in design, but I personally am more interested in the educational benefits of 3D printing.
In addition to being more education-oriented, Polar3D has designed a printer that is incredibly superior to that of the MakerBot printers I have been using. First of all, the printers work with a very different system that uses a circular rotating build plate and stationary extruder to maximize print sizes and improve printing. I do not entirely understand the way they print, so I am not going to attempt to explain it, but it definitely seems to be a more logical way to work. I am also extremely excited that the Polar3D printers are significantly quieter than the MakerBots. I cannot begin to talk about how agitating the MakerBot noises are. In many videos I watched, I could hardly hear the Polar3D printers working. Speaking of videos, if you’ve ever tried to troubleshoot a MakerBot or find helpful videos using the MakerBot website or YouTube, you know that it is practically impossible. MakerBot’s videos are difficult to understand and, unlike with their customer support, the people in the videos give you the feeling that you are just not intelligent enough to touch the printers. Contrariwise, the Polar3D YouTube page has a series of videos called “What Would Bill Do?” which consists of Bill Steele, the founder of Polar3D, explaining and demonstrating how to work with the printers. His videos are simple to understand as well as detailed enough to prevent confusion. He has videos on how to operate the printer and various ways to solve problems. The problem solving videos are my favorite simply because Bill is not afraid to say that something could in fact go wrong and that no printer is going to be flawless. This is something I cannot say about MakerBot. Nothing is ever “wrong” with a MakerBot machine. Sometimes they are “having issues” but nothing is actually “wrong.” Polar3D is willing to admit their printers may run into problems, but they also address methods of fixing them, which is why I admire the company already.
I do not have any experience with the actual printers yet. All of my information and opinions have come from what I have read and watched on the internet this week. If I find that my experiences do not reflect my expectations, I will definitely be posting about this again. Hopefully Polar3D will be everything I expect and more!