3D Printing Revolution: Know Everything From Scratch


3D printing is a very common technology in today’s era. However, it is worth going back to its roots to see how far we have come with scientific innovations.

From a mere idea of one or two people in the 1800s to building cars, houses and planes – 3D printing has come a long way!

So let’s see how 3D printing revolution has shaped from its very beginning to its latest milestones and applications.

History – Journey To The First 3D Printer

1800s Ahead Of Its Times

3D printing has been a reality for quite some time. It was a mere figment of our imagination, as evidenced by the many scientific fantasies found in books, videos, and other media.

There was however, a visionary in 1800s who was far ahead his time!  François Willème – a photo-sculptor from France first envisioned making a 3D item digitally in 1859. He used 24 cameras for taking photographs of the same object at different angles. This is the first attempt at 3D scanning technology.

Joseph E. Blanther was then granted the patent for the first 3D topographical map method. This layering technique was the basis for the idea of 3D printing items in layers.

1970s: Liquid Metal Recorder

Liquid Metal Recorder uses continuous liquid metal ink to create a symbol. The electrically conductive ink is pushed against a carrier to create the desired marks. These metal fabrications, however, were removable and can be used immediately.

Johannes F Gottwald was the first to patent this machine in 1971. It is the basis for rapid prototyping using 3D printing, as well as the controlled manufacturing of such patterns. Its patent described the term “printing” as any formation of ink. It suggested that printing could be used in more ways than just its traditional purpose.

David Edward Hugh Jones, British chemist, and author, also spoke about his experience. concepts of 3D printing In the journal New Scientist, 1974.

1980s: War of Patents

This decade is when 3D printing technology really started to take off. In the 1980s, we saw brilliant minds competing for the title of first inventor of this technology.

Three scientists and one group of innovators came up with their unique ideas about 3D printing during the war of patents.

Hideo Kodama

Hideo Kodama, a Japanese doctor at the Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute made the first attempt to create 3D plastic models.

In April 1980, he invented two additive methods that would build these models using UV rays on thermoset resins or polymers. Kodama used a scanning fibre transmitter or a mask to control the UV exposure.

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He filed a patent, published a series research results on his XYZ plotter and was paid a fair price by his boss and other employees. His patent rights were soon abandoned because he had a very small research budget.

Bill Masters

Bill Masters, an American entrepreneur, developed Computer Automated Manufacturing Process. It uses computer software’s To give instructions to devices on how to make a product.

He filed a patent application for the system on August 2, 1984. This patent is considered the first patent to establish the foundation for modern 3D printing systems.

French inventors

Then came three gifted French inventors named Olivier de Witte, Jean Claude André and Alain Le Méhauté who filed a patent for stereolithography or SLA. This is the most popular method of 3D printing.

Both CILAS as well as the French General Electric Company declined the patent because it allegedly did not present a business perspective.

Charles Chuck Hull

Charles Chuck Hull, who filed for the SLA patent in 1984, was awarded the patent two years later.

In 1984, he began a project called R.H. Research (or Howtek) to develop a colored 2-D printer that would use plasticink. His team did extensive research on the technology and papers that were available in 3D printing to finally construct the printer. 3D articles.

They were able to create the SLA apparatus that would create 3D objects through layering cross-sectional patterns. These patterns were used to create polymers using specific molecule chains linked together by lasers.

Hull founded 3D Systems Corporation, to develop the first 3D printer commercially known as SLA-1. In 1988, Hull launched the SLA-1 printers to make this exciting technology available to the public.

Also, check out: find most efficient SLA 3D printer from our list.

Major Milestones Since 3D Printing’s Inception

SLS

Carl Deckard created his own 3D printing technology, Selective Laser Sintering (or SLS), as soon as SLA-1 was introduced. He was an undergraduate student at University of Texas at the time. Deckard called his machine Betsy, and it was the first ever SLS 3D printer.

This was a very nice experience. basic 3D printer It could only produce basic plastic pieces. It was not capable of producing complex details or high-end quality. However, it was an important stepping stone to reach the final stages of the 3D printers’ evolution.

FDM

The Crumps couple – S. Scott Crump and Lisa Crump – invented Fused Deposition Modelling or FDM in 1989. This was a new type of additive manufacturing process. It first melted the polymer filament, then deposited it in layers onto the target surface. This process created a 3D object.

The Crumps then founded the well-known company Stratasys, which is still very popular among 3D printing enthusiasts. It is the simplest type of 3D printing technology.

FDM can produce 3D printed objects with greater precision than its predecessors. This is the main reason for its popularity. Stratasys received its FDM patent approval in 1992 and began revolutionizing the medical industry very quickly.

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Related: our list of top quality FDM printers on the market.

Medical Revolution

In 1999, 3D printing was used for the first time to create an organ in human beings. We saw the artificial bladder successfully implanted in patients at the end this remarkable millennium. This was made possible by the Wake Forest Institute For Regenerative Medicine scientists.

They started by taking a CT scan of the real bladder. Then they printed its synthetic biodegradable structures and then added real cells. Because their immune system can’t reject its own cells, the tissue was safe to be planted in patients.

From thereon, 3D printing blessed medical science by developing the first fabricated miniature kidney, the first bio-printed blood vessels and the first prosthetic leg with complex components – all in the same decade!

Self-Building Printers

3D printing was made open-source in the same decade as 2000. This allowed more scientists to access this groundbreaking technology. Adrian Bowyer, a University of Bath professor, was the pioneer behind this initiative. He was one the most senior lecturers in the department for mechanical engineering.

Bowyer was founded in 2004 the RepRap project Where the 3D printer could build itself!

These printers were made to print their own components so that they don’t have to depend on other devices anymore. You can make printers for friends or vice versa by using them!

March 2007 was the release of the first printer for this series. It was followed by its siblings, Mendel, Huxley, and Prusa Mendel over the next few years. Some 3D printers are very helpful for making architectural models.

Print-On-Demand

Shapeways was another idea that would push 3D printing technology towards commercial goals. This Dutch service was launched in 2008 and aimed to collect 3D files from customers, print them out, and then ship the product to their respective clients.

It added convenience for the customers since now they didn’t need to buy a 3D printer You can make a few pieces.

Besides, they wouldn’t need any hands-on training or technical knowledge for making these orders. Shapeways quickly became a popular choice for the non-tech crowd.

This innovative business venture has so much potential that it cannot be limited to one country. Shapeways was then expanded to other countries, including the USA, as a print on demand 3D printing company.

Introduction to Prosthetics

3D printing revolutionized the medical industry in 2008. This technology was successfully used to create a prosthetic leg.

It didn’t need any modification or additional components for assembly. This made it possible to see the immense potential 3D printing had in the prosthetics field.

Kickstarter

The FDM patent expired on September 9, 2009, opening up new avenues for innovative initiatives like Kickstarter. This crowdfunding website was the first to offer financial support for projects based on 3D printing technology. It is still the largest crowdfunding platform for 3D printing projects.

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There are no limits!

3D printing was at its peak in 2011, when it broke the boundaries of all existing technologies. It was used to build larger and more ambitious projects, including airplanes and automobiles.

The first unmanned aircraft The University of Southampton in the United Kingdom built Ever with a very affordable cost of less than $7,000. On the other side of the world, a Candian engineer named Jim Kor built Urbee – a prototype car whose body was 3D printed. Also, SpaceX tries to colonize mars using 3D printer.

Current Applications of 3D Printering

Medical

3D printing is a popular tool in medical science. It has made organ transplants more secure by matching the new organ with the patient’s unique medical details. The 3D printing of instruments allows experts to virtually plan each surgery.

People can now wear 3D printed casts that are custom-fitted and can be recycled. These custom technologies have the greatest impact in dental, hearing aid and prosthetics fields. An Italian company printed 100 respirator devices in less than 24 hours for hospitals that were affected by the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

It can be used to rebuild the face and other body parts. Researchers are working to find a way for this building capability to be used to replace tissues damaged by arthritis or cancer. 3D printing has already allowed the implanting of stem cells to create new tissues or organs.

Manufacturing

Nearly all segments of the manufacturing industry have witnessed the rise of 3D printing technology within their respective fields. It is used for rapid prototyping as well as cloud-based additive manufacture, food production, mass customization, agile toolsing, and many other uses.

Automotive

Urbee is the first company to use 3D printing in the automotive sector. In 2014, we saw a Swedish supercar This vehicle was fully 3D printed and features many of the same components. The British Royal Air Forces flew the fighter jet with printed parts in the following year.

Construction

3D printing became cheaper and more accessible, so home development and construction used it to create scale models. This allowed for faster production without compromising on quality. It can be used to make infrastructures, construction components, artificial reefs, and other items.

Conclusion

The 3D printing revolution has been a sci-fi fairytale for the entire human race.

Although its initial concepts were not considered by most experts, this technology has proven to be one the most influential inventions of our time. It should be thrilling to see the new developments.

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