when was the 3d printer invented

The 3D printer was invented in the early 1980s by Chuck Hull, who is now widely considered to be the “Father of 3D Printing”. Hull is credited with inventing the first 3D printing process, known as stereolithography. Hull’s invention allowed for the creation of three-dimensional objects from a digital file, using a layer-by-layer approach. Initially used to create prototypes and other one-off items, 3D printing has since evolved into a technology capable of producing end-use parts and products.The invention of 3D printing technology can be traced back to the 1980s, when the first 3D printer was developed by Charles Hull. In 1984, Hull filed a patent for his invention, which became known as the “stereolithography apparatus.” This device used ultraviolet light to cure photopolymers and create three-dimensional objects. In 1986, Hull founded 3D Systems, a company that would become the first manufacturer of 3D printers.

Since then, 3D printing has evolved rapidly, with many different types of 3D printers being developed. While most of these machines use lasers or other forms of energy to melt and shape materials into objects, other technologies such as binder jetting and fused deposition modeling have been developed in recent years. Today, 3D printing is used in a variety of industries including manufacturing, engineering, architecture, art and medicine. It’s also becoming more accessible to consumers thanks to the development of low-cost desktop 3D printers.

The Patent for the First 3D Printer

The patent for the first 3D printer was granted to Chuck Hull in 1986 for his invention of the stereo lithography process. In this process, an object is created by curing layers of a photosensitive liquid polymer resin with ultraviolet light. The first commercial 3D printer, called the SLA-1, was released by Hull’s company 3D Systems in 1988. Since then, 3D printing technology has advanced significantly and is now used in a variety of industrial and consumer applications.

3D printing technology has revolutionized manufacturing by allowing complex shapes to be printed quickly and accurately. This has enabled faster prototyping, shorter lead times, and reduced costs for manufacturers. It has also enabled designers to create more intricate designs with greater detail than ever before. With the development of new materials and processes such as metal 3D printing and flexible filament printing, 3D printers are now able to produce parts that can be used in end-use applications such as medical devices and automotive components.

3D printing technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. New materials are being developed that can be used to print objects with greater detail or strength than ever before. New processes are being developed that allow larger objects or multiple parts to be printed simultaneously. With these advancements come new possibilities for how 3D printing can be used in manufacturing applications as well as consumer products.

Chuck Hull’s invention of the first 3D printer has had a tremendous impact on how products are designed and manufactured today. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology & Innovation from President Obama in 2014 for his contributions to the field of additive manufacturing. His legacy lives on through today’s advanced 3D printers which continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with additive manufacturing technologies.

History of 3D Printers

The concept of a 3D printer first emerged in the 1980s. It was during this time that the idea of using computer numerical control (CNC) machines to create 3-dimensional objects began to be explored. Early versions of 3D printers were bulky and expensive, making them difficult to use for everyday purposes. However, as technology improved and prices dropped, these machines became more accessible to the public. Even today, 3D printers remain fairly expensive, but they are becoming increasingly popular for both professional and recreational use.

Development of 3D Printers

Since the 1980s, there have been numerous advances in the development of 3D printers. Early versions used a process called stereolithography to create objects from resin, while more modern machines are able to produce objects from a variety of materials such as plastic, metal and even ceramics. Furthermore, these machines have become smaller and more user-friendly over time, with some models now being small enough to fit on a desktop or tabletop.

Uses of 3D Printers

Today, 3D printers are used in a variety of industries such as manufacturing, medicine and education. In manufacturing, these machines are often used for rapid prototyping or creating one-off objects such as custom parts or complex industrial components. In medicine, 3D printers can be used to create medical devices such as prosthetics or implants for patients who need them. Finally, in education settings they can be used for teaching students about designing and creating three-dimensional objects.

Overall, the development of 3D printing technology has come a long way since its inception in the 1980s. From bulky and expensive machines to smaller desktop models that can be used for both professional and recreational purposes, this technology has revolutionized the way we think about creating three-dimensional objects from various materials.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is the most popular type of 3D printer. It works by extruding melted plastic through a nozzle onto a build plate. The plastic is heated, then extruded in layers to form the 3D object. FDM is known for its affordability and ease of use, making it an ideal choice for beginners and hobbyists. FDM printers can be used to print a wide variety of materials, from PLA and ABS to nylon and PETG.

Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography (SLA) is another type of 3D printing technology. Unlike FDM, which extrudes melted plastic, SLA uses a liquid resin that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. This process creates highly detailed models with smooth surfaces and intricate details that are difficult to replicate with other methods. SLA is often used for prototyping and small-scale production due to its high accuracy and resolution.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a type of 3D printing technology that uses lasers to sinter powdered materials into solid objects. SLS printers can produce complex parts with high accuracy and resolution without the need for supports or post-processing. It’s also capable of printing a wide variety of materials, including metals, polymers, ceramics, glass, paper, foodstuffs, waxes and more.

Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Digital Light Processing (DLP) is similar to SLA in that it uses UV light to cure resins into solid objects. DLP printers work by projecting an image onto a vat filled with liquid resin which then cures into an object when exposed to UV light. DLP produces high-resolution parts quickly but requires more post-processing than other technologies.

Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)

Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) is a type of 3D printing technology developed by HP Inc. MJF printers use inkjet nozzles to deposit droplets of material onto the build plate layer by layer before melting them together using infrared energy or lasers. MJF offers increased speed over other technologies while producing parts with greater detail and accuracy.

Advantages of 3D Printing

3D printing has become an increasingly popular manufacturing technology due to its many advantages. One of the greatest advantages of 3D printing is the ability to quickly and easily produce complex geometries and parts that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. This makes 3D printing an ideal solution for prototyping and one-off production runs. Additionally, 3D printing can produce parts in a variety of materials, including plastics, metals, and composites, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Another advantage of 3D printing is the cost savings associated with producing parts in small quantities. Traditional manufacturing processes often require expensive tooling and setup costs that are not necessary with 3D printing. As a result, 3D printing can be a more economical alternative for small production runs or custom parts. Furthermore, with the advent of cloud-based 3D printing services, it is now possible to order parts online from anywhere in the world at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing processes.

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of 3D printing is its ease of use. Many businesses are now able to purchase desktop 3D printers that can be used to quickly prototype new designs or create one-off parts on demand. This eliminates the need for expensive tooling and setup costs associated with traditional manufacturing processes and allows businesses to rapidly iterate on new ideas without sacrificing quality or reliability.

Advantages of 3D Printing

3D printing offers a variety of advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. It is faster, more cost-effective, and can create complex shapes and structures that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing. 3D printing also enables the production of customized products, allowing users to create unique, one-of-a-kind items. Additionally, 3D printing is a greener technology that produces less waste and pollution than traditional manufacturing methods. By using less energy and resources to produce goods, 3D printing can help reduce the environmental impact of production processes.

Disadvantages of 3D Printing

Despite its many benefits, 3D printing has some drawbacks that should be considered before investing in the technology. The cost of purchasing a 3D printer and materials can be prohibitively expensive for some businesses and individuals. Additionally, the technology is still relatively new and not yet perfected; prints are often prone to errors or imperfections that need to be corrected or discarded. Furthermore, different materials will require different settings on the printer for optimal results, making it difficult to consistently produce high-quality prints. Finally, 3D printing takes time; depending on the complexity of a print job, it may take hours or even days for a single print job to complete.

How 3D Printing Works

3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The technology can be used to create a variety of objects, including models, prototypes, and parts for industrial production. It works by gradually adding material in successive layers until the desired shape is formed. The process is usually automated and can be done using various materials such as plastics, metals, and ceramics.

The first step in the 3D printing process is to create a 3D design or model on a computer using specialized software. This design can be created from scratch or modified from existing designs. Once the design is complete, it will be saved in a format that the printer can interpret so that it knows how to build the object layer by layer.

The next step involves preparing the material for printing. Depending on the type of material being used, it may need to be mixed with other substances or heated to reach the right temperature for printing. After this preparation has been completed, the material will then be loaded into the printer’s extruder head and ready for printing.

Once everything is set up and ready to go, the printer will then start building the object layer by layer based on instructions from the computer-generated design file. The extruder head will move over each layer of material while depositing small amounts of it onto the build plate until it forms an entire object. Depending on its complexity, this process may take anywhere from minutes to hours before completion.

Once all of its layers have been successfully printed, any remaining support material will then be removed and post-processing steps such as sanding or polishing may also take place depending on what type of finish is desired for the object. Once all of these steps have been completed, you will have your very own 3D printed object!

3D Printing Materials

3D printing is an advanced manufacturing process where materials are built layer by layer to create a three-dimensional object. There are a variety of materials used in 3D printing, each with their own unique properties and applications. Common 3D printing materials include thermoplastic polymers, metal alloys, composites, and ceramic-based powders. The material used will depend on the application and desired end result of the 3D printed object.

Thermoplastic polymers are the most commonly used 3D printing materials as they are the easiest to use and typically have good strength and durability properties. These polymers can be either stiff or flexible depending on the application. Examples of thermoplastic polymers used in 3D printing include ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), PLA (Polylactic Acid), Nylon, Polycarbonate, and PEEK (Polyetheretherketone).

Metal alloys such as stainless steel and titanium are also popular materials in 3D printing due to their strength and durability. These metals can be printed using various processes such as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) or Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). The metal powder is melted using a laser which then forms a solid layer that can be built upon to create the desired object.

Composite materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) are becoming increasingly popular in 3D printing due to their high strength-to-weight ratio. These materials are often combined with a thermoplastic polymer to create a strong yet lightweight material that can be used for various applications such as aerospace components or automotive parts.

Ceramic-based powders can also be used in 3D printing. Ceramics have excellent heat resistance properties which makes them ideal for applications such as hot end components in 3D printers or medical implants that need to withstand extreme temperatures. Ceramics can also be printed using processes such as Binder Jetting or Digital Light Processing (DLP).

No matter what type of material you choose for your 3D printed object, it is important to understand the unique properties of each material so you can select the best one for your application. Different types of 3D printing materials offer different advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to do research before selecting one for your project.


The 3D printer was invented in 1984 by Chuck Hull, a mechanical engineer at 3D Systems Corporation. Since then, the technology has been continuously improved and refined. As a result, 3D printing has become more accessible and affordable to the public. Today, 3D printers are used for a variety of applications including prototyping, production parts manufacturing, medical device printing, and even food printing.

The world of 3D printing is ever-evolving and is sure to continue to revolutionize manufacturing processes in the years to come. The possibilities are endless as new technologies are developed and the cost of 3D printers continues to drop. With this technology becoming more widely available, it is likely that soon most people will have access to their own 3D printer and be able to create whatever they can imagine.

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