Published On: August 9, 2021

The Birth of 3D Printing

Many think that 3D printing is a new innovation, but the medium has been around since the 1980s.

It all technically began in 1981 with Dr Hideo Kodama, who published research detailing a technique that layered photopolymers to create 3D objects. We say ‘technically’ because he missed a patent deadline, so he didn’t bring his idea to market.

In 1984, French engineers Alain Le Méhauté, Olivier de Witte, and Jean Claude André thought up a then brand-new additive manufacturing process; Stereolithography. Unfortunately, while they did submit a patent, they shortly abandoned it due to a ‘lack of business perspective.’

3D printing, therefore, wasn’t officially born until 1987, when Charles Hull, after a year-long patent obtaining process, finally brought Stereolithography to market with the creation of 3D Systems and the SLA-1: the world’s first 3D printer.

Since then, 3D printing has constantly been branching out and evolving. From Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling in 1989 to HP’s full-colour Multi Jet Fusion technology in 2018, the industry has proven to be one of rapid change and continuous innovation.

We’re curious to see where the future takes us.