Course Content
Part I: What is 3D Printing?
This section gives an overview of what 3D Printing is and is origins.
Part II: Creating a 3D Model
The first step in the 3D Printing process. Creating a 3D model is a process integral to various fields, including animation, gaming, architecture, engineering, and 3D printing. It involves constructing a digital three-dimensional representation of any object or surface.
Part III: The Print Process
This lesson provides a comprehensive understanding of the 3D printing process across various technologies, focusing on the most commonly used methods like Stereolithography (SLA), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and others.
Part VI: 3D Scanning in-depth
From our previous lesson on Intro to 3D Scanning, we go more in-depth on the 3D Scanning process.
Part VII: The Future
3D Printing Course!
About Lesson

The origins of 3D printing can be traced back to the 1980s, marked by significant developments and the pioneering work of several individuals and organizations. Here are the key milestones:

  1. Stereolithography (SLA) – Chuck Hull (1984): The first practical 3D printing technology, Stereolithography, was invented by Chuck Hull in 1984. Hull, who later co-founded 3D Systems, developed a process that involved curing photopolymer resin layer by layer with an ultraviolet laser to build a three-dimensional object. He patented this process as Stereolithography and created the STL file format, which remains a standard in 3D printing today.

  2. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – Carl Deckard and Joe Beaman (1980s): During the same decade, at the University of Texas at Austin, Carl Deckard and Joe Beaman developed Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). This technology uses a laser to fuse powdered material—such as plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass—into a 3D shape. SLS was a significant advancement because it allowed for the creation of more robust and functional parts.

  3. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) – Scott Crump (1989): Scott Crump, a co-founder of Stratasys, invented Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) in 1989. In this process, a thermoplastic filament is extruded through a heated nozzle, building up layers to create an object. FDM is one of the most common 3D printing technologies used today, particularly in consumer-grade 3D printers.

Each of these technologies laid the foundation for modern 3D printing. They have evolved and been adapted in various ways, leading to a diverse range of 3D printing methods available today. The field has expanded to include technologies like Digital Light Processing (DLP), Multi Jet Fusion (MJF), and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), among others, each catering to different materials and application requirements.

The impact of these early developments in 3D printing is profound, leading to an industry that now encompasses rapid prototyping, manufacturing, medical applications, and much more, revolutionizing how objects are designed and produced across numerous sectors.

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