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Father of 3D printing to enter hall of fame for US inventors

Chuck Hull, founder of 3D Systems and recognised as inventor of the first 3D printer, will be inducted into the USA’s National Inventors Hall of Fame in May.

TechCrunch and others report that Hull, who made the first functional 3D printer in 1984, will join the ranks of inventors including Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs.

Hull came up with his stereolithography method in 1983 while working at a company that used UV light to harden a durable coating for tables.

“The class of materials is called "photopolymers" and these are typically acrylic-based materials that would be liquid until they're hit with — let's say — an ultraviolet light,” he said of his 3D printing method in an interview with CNN last month.

“Then, they instantly turn solid. 

“That's the basic methodology — that's stereolithography. That's never changed.”

Hull's inventions also include the .stl file format still commonly used in 3D printing.

Hull is currently the chief technology officer at 3D Systems, which he founded.

"I always knew that 3D printing had the capacity to change the entire design-to-manufacture process, but could not have anticipated the full impact that my work would have on every facet of our lives,” he said of his invention, which many are predicting will radically re-shape the world of manufacturing.

“It is incredibly humbling and exhilarating to be a part of this transformation."

His induction into the NIHF will take place on May 21 at the US Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.


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