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Charles Hull (Born: May 12, 1939, in Clifton, Colorado) is the inventor of stereolithography (Patent No. 4,575,330), the first commercial rapid prototyping technology commonly known as 3D printing. The earliest applications of 3D printing were in research and development labs and tool rooms, but today 3D printing applications are seemingly endless. The technology has been used to create anything from sports shoes, aircraft components, and artificial limbs to artwork, musical instruments, and clothing.
The earliest 3D printing technologies first became visible in the late 1980’s, at which time they were called Rapid Prototyping (RP) technologies. This is because the processes were originally conceived as a fast and more cost-effective method for creating prototypes for product development within industry.