All users of 3D printing are amazed at the possibilities offered by the use of additive manufacturing technology in the fields in which we work. Thanks to the use of 3D printers we can manufacture things that were previously impossible, reduce costs, reduce design times and make repairs at a low cost.
For this reason, from 3Dfils, it seems very important to know the origins of this technology and the advances that have been taking place in order to enjoy 3D printing as we know it today.
Origin of 3D printing
We can not specify an exact date that marks the beginning of the development of 3D printing, but we can highlight the year 1984. In this year Charles Hull co-founder of 3D Systems developed stereolithography or SLA. A manufacturing system oriented to the testing of prototypes before its passage to real manufacturing.
Hull took advantage of his experience in a plastic injection company, where to test a new product they had to manufacture an expensive injection mold, to create a system that allowed them to save costs and time.
As a curiosity we will tell you that this was the first piece printed in 3D, a black cup:
|First object printed in 3D|
A fact that now is shocking is that 3 weeks before the French General Electric company had presented a similar system that was finally abandoned because the company did not see commercial possibilities.
From Charles Hull also comes the famous STL file format, today used by most software for 3D printing.
Development of 3D printing technology
After its creation, 3D printing technology continued to grow and many companies joined the race for additive manufacturing.
It was in the same decade of the 80's when the other main additive manufacturing technologies were developed. In the year 88 Carl Deckard of the University of Texas presented the patent for the SLS technology , which uses powder that is melted and stuck together by the use of a laser.
|3D printer SLS|
At this time, the last of the three main 3D printing technologies we use today, the Deposition by melted material or FDM, was also presented. It was created by Scott Crump, co-founder of Stratasys.
|3D printer FDM|
The 90s witnessed the emergence of new companies dedicated to manufacturing using 3D printers and the development of new CAD applications that would allow them to work comfortably with these new technologies.
In 1999, one of the first major milestones in 3D printing was produced. Scientists from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine used a 3D printer to manufacture a medical implant for a human patient.
The popularization of 3D printing
Undoubtedly one of the points that marked the popularization of 3D printing and liberalized access to 3D printers was the Rep-Rap movement. This open source project that emerged in 2004 was based on 3D printers that were capable of replicating themselves, thus weaving a network of amateur makers that printed pieces with their printers so that others could make their own.
|One of the first Rep-Rap printers|
We now jump to 2009 when the FDM technology patent expired. This caused a large number of companies to enter the market which caused the prices of the machines to fall and to be more accessible.
Since 2010 until today we have experienced this expansion of domestic 3D printers that have invaded the market. With this large number of machines in the market, applications and users 3D printing has been echoed in media, internet and social networks. Today it is very likely that the vast majority of the population has heard of them and even seen one.
The 3D printers do not stop evolving day by day, leaving to the market new models that every time print faster, they are more efficient and allow the use of more materials.
The future of 3D printing
This is a topic that does not stop generating expectation. We constantly hear people talking about the wonders that lie ahead in 3D printing: a 3D printer in each house, printing of fully functional organs ...
The truth is that at the moment we can only think about what the future will bring.
Only time will tell.
Greetings and see you printing
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