As an interesting aside, the very first patent application for RP technology was filed by a Dr Kodama, in Japan, in May 1980. Unfortunately for Dr Kodama, the full patent specification was subsequently not filed before the one year deadline after the application, which is particularly disastrous considering that he was a patent lawyer.
Hull was developing lamps for UV-curable resins when he first came up with his idea for 3D printing. His method uses UV light to cure and bond a photopolymer resin which is built up layer by layer. In 1986, Hull co-founded 3D Systems to commercialize his technology, including the STL file format that allows CAD software data to be translated for 3D printers.
Today, 3D Systems continues to innovate with a full line of professional and production 3D printers, advanced software solutions, and a broad materials portfolio, as well as consumer-friendly desktop 3D printers for the growing hobby and entrepreneur markets.
3D Systems is pioneering 3D printing for everyone. 3DS provides the most advanced and comprehensive 3D design-to-manufacturing solutions including 3D printers, print materials and cloud sourced custom parts. Its powerful digital thread empowers professionals and consumers everywhere to bring their ideas to life in material choices including plastics, metals, ceramics and edibles.
3DS' leading healthcare solutions include end-to-end simulation, training and integrated 3D planning and printing for personalized surgery and patient specific medical and dental devices.
Its democratized 3D design and inspection products embody the latest perceptual, capture and touch technology. Its products and services replace and complement traditional methods with improved results and reduced time to outcomes. These solutions are used to rapidly design, create, communicate, plan, guide, prototype or produce functional parts, devices and assemblies, empowering customers to manufacture the future.
Leadership Through Innovation and Technology
- 3DS invented 3D printing with its Stereolithography (SLA) printer and was the first to commercialize it in 1989.
- 3DS invented Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing and was the first to commercialize it in 1992.
- 3DS invented the ColorJet Printing (CJP) class of 3D printers and was the first to commercialize 3D powder-based systems in 1994.
- 3DS invented MultiJet Printing (MJP) printers and was the first to commercialize it in 1996.
- 3DS Medical Modeling pioneered virtual surgical planning (VSP) and its services are world-leading, helping many thousands of patients on an annual basis.
Today its comprehensive range of 3D printers is the industry’s benchmark for production-grade manufacturing in aerospace, automotive, patient specific medical device and a variety of consumer, electronic and fashion accessories.