The term three-dimensional printing know also as additive manufacturing is used to describe the process of using additives to form solid three dimensional items of a shape from a digital design. The additives are specially formulated materials.
The history of 3D printing can be traced back to the mid-seventies of the XXth century when the first inkjet printer was invented. The ideas and concepts of the inkjet printer were applied to the first printers that used different materials instead of ink to print. The first printed solid item of there are public records was made in 1982 by a Japanese scientist named Hideo Kodama – in Nagoya Municipal Research Institute.
Charles W. Hull of 3D Systems Corporation is considered the first to have created a working 3D printer. He invented stereolithography (photo-solidification) – a process of curing and solidifying polymers by ultraviolet laser thus creating 3D objects. Many of the contemporary additive manufacturing processes use Hull’s patents regarding 3D technology.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and 3D Systems Corp. are the organizations which developed the technology in the beginning. The term 3DP – 3D printing is trademarked by MIT in the 1990s.
Of course, in the beginning 3D printing was very expensive and was intended for industrial uses only – production of prototypes (aka Rapid Prototyping).
A cutting edge in 3D printing development is its use in engineered organs in the late 1990s. Then in 2000 scientists created a working 3D kidney.
In 2005 a UK scientist called Adrian Bowyer developed a project with the main idea to produce a 3D printer that can print most of its parts and such printer is presented in 2008.
2008 is an important year for 3D-printing. There is a major breakthrough in 3D printed prosthetics as well as the launch of Do-It-Yourself co-creation service for designers, architects and artists.
In 2009 DIY-kits enter the market and scientists manage to print whole blood vessels.
In 2011 appear the first 3D printed robotic aircraft and car. In the same year printing of gold and silver jewelry is also offered to the public.
In 2012 a 3D printed jaw is successfully implanted.
In 2014 the first house that is almost wholly 3D printed is a fact.
In the last years there are some companies that develop printing of food as well and 3D printed meals are here to become part of everyday life. 3D printing industry is rapidly developing and it will broaden its applications to make the Earth a better place.
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