3D Printing // From Curiosity to Industry Transformation
December 3, 2021
The historical timeline for the invention and advancement of additive manufacturing runs at a rapid, permeating pace from the early 1980s to today. 1980 saw the first rapid prototype technique patent application by Dr. Hideo Kodama of Japan, yet, unfortunately, this project that described a layer-by-layer approach to manufacturing was not pursued. Yet, Dr. Kodama’s work opened the flood gates for innovative, cutting-edge technological developments. In the span of one decade, half of the additive manufacturing technologies we use today—Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)—were invented by true industry pioneers who recognized and pursued a better path forward for the future of manufacturing.
“Just like the advent and rapid innovation of technologies like the internet, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing is at an inflection point of immense transformational developments. It’s humbling to have been part of setting a great foundation formed by revolutionary thinking by several forward thinkers dating back three decades. I am extremely excited about the future of the AM industry.” / / Scott Crump – Inventor of FDM & Co-Founder of Stratasys
For the past 40 years, industry innovators and leading-edge technology has proactively pushed the boundaries of innovative manufacturing solutions. The evolution of additive technology for rapid prototyping purposes has progressed into more downstream manufacturing applications. Additive manufacturing has turned countless concepts into impactful, industry-altering realities driven by speed, complexity and agility.
“In 2020, 3D printing will confirm its role as one of the most transformational and consequential technologies in the fourth industrial revolution.” / / Marco Annunziata – Forbes
- 1980: First rapid prototyping patent application attempt / / Dr. Hideo Kodama
- 1986: Stereolithography / / Charles Hull
- 1988: Selective Laser Sintering / / Carl Deckard
- 1989: Fused Deposition Modeling / / Scott Crump
- 1995: Direct Metal Laser Sintering / / EOS
- 1999: First 3D printed human organ
- 2000: Objet / / PolyJet
- 2016: HP / / Multi Jet Fusion
We are proud and honored to be a part of one of the most innovative industries. Fathom salutes the accomplishments of the 3D printing pioneers. With an expectation for the future—from today to beyond—we’ve assembled six technology highlights to celebrate 3DP Day, and bring more awareness to the history of our industry.
Stereolithography (SLA) is a 3D printing method that uses a UV laser and a resin to create parts. A single laser is directed to specific areas to cure the resin and create a solid pattern. SLA is popular because it can print parts with excellent precision.
SLA Parts In As Soon As Next-Day / / Get A Quote
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a powder-based additive technology used to create models, prototypes and end-use parts in durable, engineering-grade thermoplastics. SLS is also capable of producing parts with finer details than most processes that use high-strength plastics.
SLS Parts In As Soon As Two-Days / / Get A Quote
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a filament-based additive technology distributed by a moving print head that extrudes a heated thermoplastic material layer by layer onto a build platform. FDM is ideal for building concept models, functional prototypes and end-use parts.
FDM Parts In As Soon As Next-Day / / Get A Quote
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) or metal 3d printing is an additive layer technology that utilizes a laser beam to melt layers of metal powder on top of each other. DMLS prints parts with high accuracy with excellent surface quality and mechanical properties.
DMLS Parts In As Soon As Three-Days / / Get A Quote
PolyJet (PJ) is photopolymer-based jetting process that distributes material droplets layer by layer and then immediately cures the materials with a UV light. PJ is capable of creating smooth surfaces, thin walls, and complex geometries using a wide selection of materials.
PJ Parts In As Soon As Same-Day / / Get A Quote
Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)
Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) builds parts by repeatedly printing a thin layer of powder on a print bed. The inkjet array in the print carriage sweeps over the print bed, jetting two agents downward—a fusing agent and a detailing agent—ideal for printing complex, functional assemblies.
MJF Parts In As Soon As Two Days / / Get A Quote