History of 3D printing

2 min read

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of creating three-dimensional objects by adding layers of material, usually plastic or metal, one layer at a time. The idea of 3D printing dates back to the 1980s, but it wasn't until the 2000s that the technology became commercially available.

Here is a complete history of 3D printing:

1980s: The Invention of Stereolithography

In 1983, Chuck Hull, a computer engineer, invented stereolithography, which uses a UV laser to solidify a liquid photopolymer, layer by layer, to create 3D objects. This was the first 3D printing technology invented and led to the formation of 3D Systems, the first company to commercialize the technology.

1990s: Advancements in 3D Printing Technology

During the 1990s, several new 3D printing technologies were invented, including Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). FDM, invented by Scott Crump in 1988, uses a heated extruder to melt and deposit layers of thermoplastic material to build up a 3D object. SLS, invented by Carl Deckard in 1989, uses a laser to sinter powdered material, such as nylon, to create a 3D object.

2000s: Commercialization of 3D Printing

In the 2000s, 3D printing became more widely available and affordable. Several companies, such as Stratasys and EOS, began to offer 3D printing services and equipment to businesses and individuals. This led to a rapid expansion of the technology, as more people began to experiment with 3D printing and discover new applications.

2010s: Mainstream Adoption of 3D Printing

In the 2010s, 3D printing began to gain mainstream acceptance and adoption. The technology was used to create a wide range of objects, from toys and jewelry to medical implants and aerospace parts. 3D printing also began to be used in education, allowing students to design and create their own objects.

In 2012, MakerBot, a company that produces desktop 3D printers, was acquired by Stratasys for $403 million. This acquisition helped to bring 3D printing to a wider audience and made it more accessible to individuals and small businesses.

2015: First 3D Printed Human Kidney

In 2015, scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia successfully 3D printed a human kidney for the first time. While the kidney was not functional, this breakthrough demonstrated the potential of 3D printing to create human organs for transplantation.

2016: 3D Printing in Space

In 2016, the first 3D printer was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a joint venture between NASA and Made In Space, a 3D printing company. The printer was used to create a range of objects, including tools and replacement parts, demonstrating the potential for 3D printing to support long-duration space missions.

2020s: Continued Advancements in 3D Printing

Today, 3D printing technology continues to evolve and improve. New materials, such as carbon fiber and metal powders, are being used in 3D printing, allowing for the creation of stronger and more durable parts. 3D printing is also being used in a wide range of industries, from healthcare and aerospace to automotive and architecture.

In conclusion, 3D printing has come a long way since its invention in the 1980s. What started as a niche technology has become a mainstream manufacturing process with a wide range of applications

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