Who invented the 3D printer?

Dirk Zacharias | 1. August 2019

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The inventor of the 3D printer is the American Chuck Hull, who patented his invention in 1986 (US4575330) and founded the company 3D-Systems. However, it should be noted that the actual discoverer of the procedure was another person. Hideo Kodama could not register the patent in time because of a formal defect and Chuck Hull secured the patent quickly. Chuck Hull’s system, which uses a UV laser to harden light-sensitive liquid, was named “stereolithography” (SLA) and is still a common printing process today.

In 1989 further patents followed for various procedures in the 3D printing area. On the one hand, a patent for the laser sintering process (SLS) was filed by Carl Deckard. Here, plastic powder is fused by a laser. With the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Scott Crump (Stratasys) has declared another procedure for himself. In FDM, molten plastic is applied layer by layer through a heated nozzle.

Most widely used are printers using the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) method. This has very simple reasons: The ease of use and the low technical barrier ensure that FDM-based 3D printers have already found their place in various work and living rooms.   

The associated filaments used in 3D printers are available in many different plastics. In the meantime special filaments with special specifications are also available for special applications. This ranges from use in food sectors, chemical resistance and optimised friction properties up to use in areas where fire-retardant materials are needed.

Wear-resistant high-performance plastics for 3D printing – iglidur filaments
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3D printing industry

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