As you may have heard, we now have a 3D Printer, Makerbot Replicator 2, at BizDojo Co.Space! One of the first things made with it was an Ironman mask by our new Co.Space resident Danny “Iron Dan” Dillen. Read more about him here.
- 3D Printing was developed by Charles Hull in 1984.
- Mr. Hull, born May 12, 1939, was an inventor of over 60 U.S. patents in the fields of ion optics and rapid prototyping.
- Mr. Hull’s patent for the “Apparatus for Production of Three-Dimensional Objects by stereo lithography”, issued on March 11, 1986, defined stereo lithography as a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively “printing” thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other.
- After obtaining the patent, In 1986 Mr. Hull founded 3D Systems and developed the first commercial 3D Printing machine. However the term “3D Printer” was not used by that time and the machine was called only as Stereolithography Apparatus.
Chuck Hull explains Stereolithography. (1986)
- In 1988, 3D Systems delivered its first version of the machine, named SLA-250, to the public.
- While Stereolithography systems had become popular by the end of 1980s, other similar technologies such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) were introduced.
- FDM was invented in 1988 by Scott Crump who founded Stratasys in the next year to commercialize the technology.
- In 1993, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) patented another technology, named “3 Dimensional Printing techniques” (3DP), which is similar to the inkjet technology used in 2D printers.
- In 1995, Z Corporation obtained an exclusive license from MIT to use the technology and started developing 3D Printers based on 3DP technology.
- In 1996, three major products, “Genisys” from Stratasys, “Actua 2100″ from 3D Systems and “Z402″ from Z Corporation, were introduced. It was only during this period, the term “3D Printer” was first used to refer rapid prototyping machines.
- In 2005, the Spectrum Z510, was the first high definition color 3D Printer in the market, launched.
- In 2006, a breakthrough open source printing project, named Reprap, was developed in England. The rep-rap was capable of manufacturing various plastic parts, roughly 50% of itself.
- In 2008, the first version of the Reprap, the Darwin, was released. In continued development of Reprap printers the next model developed was the Mendel.
- In 2010 the first 3D printer was introduced that could produce functional prototype parts.
Interested in learning more?
This video of Marco Perry’s keynote speech at Betascape 2012 (Art & Technology Exploratorium, Baltimore) is 20 minutes long BUT we guarantee it’ll be 20 minutes well spent. He even makes some pretty good jokes!
Marco Perry is the co-founder of Pensa NYC, and the creator of DIWire Bender, a rapid prototype machine that bends metal wire to produce 2D or 3D shapes.
While introducing DIWire, Perry goes through the history of 3D printing comparing the evolution and accessibility timelines of the PC and the 3D printer. Where would you estimate we are in the evolution of making 3D printing accessible?
If you’re keen to get into 3D printing, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or pop in to Co.Space at 155B Karangahape Road, Auckland.