3d printing timeline - Museum of Arts and Design

3d printing timeline - Museum of Arts and Design
Mapping significant milestones of innovation and invention, this timeline
charts the advancement of 3D printing across more than three decades.
Early 3D-Printing Concepts Emerge
Wyn Kelly Swainson files a patent for “using a laser to create covalent
cross-linking at the surface of a liquid monomer where the object being
manufactured rested on a tray that was gradually lowered into a vat one
step at a time.”
Innovators Develop Ideas for How to Fuse Materials with Lasers
Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Research Institute and Alan Herbert
from 3M Company further develop concepts for linking lasers with
photopolymeric solutions in liquid polymer.
Chuck Hull Patents Stereolithography and Founds 3D Systems,
Chuck Hull is granted a patent for “Apparatus for Production of ThreeDimensional Objects of Stereolithography,” the first commercial rapid
prototyping technology, also known as additive manufacturing or 3D
printing. Hull also develops the STL file format, which allows 3D digital
files to be converted into 3D-printed objects.
Carl R. Deckard Patents Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Carl R. Deckard files a patent for Selective Laser Sintering, a project he
began researching as an undergraduate at the University of Texas at
Austin. The first SLS machine, nicknamed Betsy, fuses small particles of
plastic, metal, ceramic or glass powders into solid 3D forms with a highpowered laser.
The First Known Artist Works with 3D-Printing Technologies
Masaki Fujihata uses stereolithography to create his computer-generated
work, Forbidden Fruits, a golden orange, semi-translucent group of
organic forms arranged in a sculptural cluster.
S. Scott Crump Patents Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM):
FDM, a 3D-printing technology, applies materials in a series of additive
layers by mathematically slicing and orienting models. Crump also
establishes Stratasys, a 3D printing and production company.
Drs. Hans J. Langer and Hans Steinbichler Found EOS GmbH
Electro Optical Systems:
Drs. Langer and Steinbichler found EOS in Germany. They use 3D printing
with Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology generated by data from
CAD software.
Wilifried Vancraen Founds Materialise, the First Rapid
Prototyping Service Bureau:
Vancraen establishes Materialise in Belgium, concentrating on the
research and development of solutions for the transfer of data to 3D
Helisys Creates Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM):
LOM prints in 3D by using paper that is unrolled and glued layer by layer.
Cubital Ltd Introduces Solid Ground Curing (SGC):
This technology flashes layers of printing materials with ultraviolet (UV)
light to harden polymers through a series of masks created by electrostatic
toner on a plate.
First Worldwide Computer Sculpture Exhibition:
Ars Mathematica, based in France, organizes the first exhibition devoted
to computer sculpture at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris; this exhibition
later evolves into the “Intersculpt” biennial.
Soligen Commercializes Direct Shell Production Casting:
The company bases its technology on the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology’s patent for ink jetting a liquid binder onto ceramic powder to
form shells that are then used in the casting process.
Solidscape Incorporates and Introduces First 3D Wax Printing
Solidscape produces high-precision 3D printers, materials and software
for the direct manufacturing of solid objects designed in CAD. The
company creates the first 3D wax printer, ModelMaker.
Z Corporation Introduces Z Printers:
Z Corporation, commonly called Z Corp, produces Z Printers, which act
like inkjet printers in that a head moves across a bed of powder,
selectively depositing a liquid binding material in the shape of the section.
The printer then spreads a fresh layer of powder across the top of the
model and the process is repeated.
Materialise Introduces Next-Day 3D Printing Service:
The 24-hour service, Materialise NextDay, allows customers to order 3Dprinted objects online.
AeroMat Launches 3D Metal Printer:
AeroMat, a subsidiary of MTS Systems Corp., produces the first 3Dprinted metal using Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAM), which employs
high-powered lasers to fuse powdered titanium alloys.
Objet Geometries Is Founded and Introduces 3D-Printed
Objects That Can Simulate Different Material Properties in One
Specializing in high-resolution rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing,
Objet Geometries Ltd. produces the first 3D printer that can print both
hard and soft materials, and a range of hardnesses in between, that look,
feel and function like the final product.
Voxeljet Is Founded:
The company’s goal is to develop new generative processes for casting
and producing plastic components using 3D printing. Voxeljet focuses on
large-scale production, making the molds for several automotive
companies’ engines.
Scientists Create the First 3D-Printed Organ:
Scientists at the Wake Forrest Institute for Regenerative Medicine create
the first 3D-printed lab-grown organ, a bladder. The bladder is made from
a patient’s own cells, significantly reducing the risk for rejection if
implanted. (Note: This organ was not implanted; for the first working 3Dprinted organ, see 2003.)
Mammoth Stereolithography Machine Allows for Large-Scale
Materialise launches the Mammoth Stereolithography machine, which has
a build area of more than two meters. This enables the large-scale
creation of 3D objects in one piece through the successive addition of
liquid polymer hardened using a laser beam.
Fast, High-Quality 3D Objects Become Available
Envisiontec starts manufacturing their Perfactory Machine (first unveiled in
2001) that allows for the production of exceptionally large 3D parts at
fast speeds without sacrificing surface quality and part accuracy. The
machine eliminates the look of visible line layers and has a build volume
of 500 x 600 x 400mm (20 x 24 x 16 inches).
Arcam Launches the First Commercial Electron Beam Melting
(EBM) System
This system melts metal powder together, layer by layer, using an electron
beam in a high-temperature vacuum.
Other Important Developments
EOS introduces the first laser-sintered, metal-based powder machine.
Z Corp introduces the world’s first commercially available multiple-color
3D printer.
The first 3D-printed working organ, a kidney, is created in China.
First Fully Articulated 3D-Printed Furniture Created
French artist Patrick Jouin creates the C1 chair, which is built as a cellular
structure superimposed onto a standard chair form.
The same year, Materialise produces the first 3D-printed stool that is
printed in one piece, complete with concealed hinges.
First At-Home 3D Printers Emerge
The RepRap project, founded by Dr. Adrian Bowyer at the University of
Bath, brings the world the first at-home 3D printer.
Multi-Material 3D Printer Available to the Public
The Fab@Home project, one of the first open-source DIY printing projects,
brings multi-material printing to the public that is low-cost and “hackable.”
3D-Printed Cobalt Chrome and Stainless Steel
The first laser-sintered 3D Printer, EOSINT M 270 by EOS, prints cobalt
chrome and stainless steel.
Objet Upgrades 3D Printers to Include 14 Varieties of
Hardness That Simulate Different Material Properties in One
Objet introduces the Connex series of 3D printers that enable users to
combine two different materials in one print job in a variety of
combinations that produce up to fourteen different levels of hardness,
texture and shading, with no assembly, creating forms that range from
rigid to rubber, dense to hollow and translucent to opaque.
New Matrix System Enables 3D Printing with Regular Sheets of
Mcor Technologies, founded by Dr. Conor MacCormack and Fintan
MacCormack, launches the New Matrix system that adheres A4 sheets of
paper together using Helisys LOM technology.
RepRap Project Releases Darwin, the First Open-Sourced 3D
Printer Hardware
This spawns a huge 3D-printing maker community worldwide.
Shapeways Starts its Online 3D Printing Service
Shapeways launches in the Netherlands as a spin-off of Royal Philips
Electronics. Using this online 3D printing service, individuals can use a
simplified design process made for consumers to make, buy and sell their
own products that are then inexpensively printed and delivered.
First Usable Prosthetic Created
The first usable prosthetic with all its parts, including knee, foot, and
socket, is printed in one piece without any assembly required. This
development leads to the creation of Bespoke Innovations, Inc. in 2010.
User-Created Open-Source Design Flourishes
Thingiverse launches a website dedicated to sharing user-generated digital
design files, providing primarily open-source hardware design licenses
under the GNU General Public License (a Creative Commons License).
Laika Animation Makes First 3D-Printed Animated Movie
Laika animation studio uses 3D printing to make the “puppets” (i.e., the
animated characters) for Coraline. The heads and hands are 3D printed,
then painted by hand.
3D Printing Gets its First Standard Reference Guide
Seventy individuals from around the world meet at the ASTM International
Headquarters near Philadelphia, PA, to establish ASTM Committee F42 on
Additive Manufacturing Technologies. This results in the publication of the
first standard terminology reference.
MakerBot Industries Makes 3D Printing More Accessible for
MakerBot Industries is founded with an open-sourcing model, offering
products that are created not with the intent to mass-produce, but rather
for individuals. Printers are sold as do-it-yourself kits, requiring only minor
The Centre for Fine Print Research Is the First to 3D Print
Based out of England, the Centre patents their system for 3D printing
porcelain using the ZCorp 310 Printer.
Scott Summit and Kenneth Trauner Found Bespoke Innovations,
The company creates personalized 3D-printed prosthetics.
Other Important Developments
HP signs an agreement with Stratasys and becomes the first large
consumer electronics company to manufacture 3D printers.
Freshfiber is first company worldwide to exclusively use 3D printing to
create consumer products.
.MGX, by Materialise, opens the first store exclusively for 3D-printed
goods in Brussels.
Continuum Fashion and Shapeways create n12, the first ready-to-wear,
3D-printed and fully articulated bikini.
First 3D-Printed Animated Movie in All Color
Laika animation studio and Aardman Animations both produce 3Dprinted “puppets” in full color for ParaNorman and The Pirates! Band of
Misfits, respectively.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Patent Expires
The expiration of the FDM patent brings technology and information into
the public domain that is a catalyst for creativity and open sourcing,
building on the momentum created by RepRap and other open-sourcing
President Barack Obama Announces Advanced
Manufacturing Process Partnership (AMP)
This national initiative, bringing together industry, universities and the
federal government to invest in emerging technologies, aims to increase
U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing.
3D-Printed Dress “One of 50 Best Inventions”
TIME Magazine names Iris van Herpen’s first-ever 3D-printed flexible
dress as one of the 50 Best Inventions of the year.
First 3D-Printed Precious Metal
Sterling silver is 3D printed for the first time by Cookson Precious Metals.
First 3D-Printed Aircraft
Designed at the University of Southampton, the first 3D-printed aircraft is
created in just seven days. First 3D-Printed Vehicles
HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany, teams with
Stratasys to create the world’s first one-person vehicle with a bionic form
modeled after a human jaw. The Rapid Racer took 10 days, included
3,600 layers and was made from a 44 MB file.
Stratasys and Kor Ecologic Inc. co-develop the Urbee hybrid, the world’s
first production car ever to have its entire body, including its glass-panel
prototypes, 3D printed.
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) group in England
creates the first 3D-printed bicycle, the Airbike, out of nylon that is as
strong as steel or aluminum, but only 65% of the weight.
“Desert Manufactured” 3D Printing Uses the World’s Most
Efficient and Abundant Energy Source, the Sun:
Raising questions about the future of manufacturing, Markus Kayser
creates the Solar Sinter in the Sahara desert. This machine uses two
abundant resources, silica sand and the sun, to harness the sun’s energy
into creating 3D-printed objects made of glass (melted and cooled silica
First 3D-Printed Jaw
LayerWise builds the world’s first 3D-printed jaw implant for an 83-yearold patient in the Netherlands. The implant helps promote the growth of
new bone tissue.
3D-Printed Affordable Housing Appears on the Horizon
Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis at the University of Southern California creates an
automated construction technology, Contour Crafting, that has the
potential to build an entire housing unit in one day for a quarter of the
costs of manual construction methods. This technology also reduces
environmental impact by creating less waste and emission pollution.
First 3D-Printed Gun
The “Liberator” pistol is created by Cody Wilson, a Texas law student.
Wilson shares his blueprints for making the gun on the Internet, causing a
controversy and leads to Wilson being dubbed one of the “15 Most
Dangerous People in the World” by Wired Magazine.
3D-Printed Candy and Gold
First 3D chocolate printer, the Choc Creator, is made commercially
Gold is 3D printed for the first time by Cookson Precious Metals.
Stratasys Creates 3D-Printed “Magic Arms”
These arms, fully articulated with custom-molded parts, give a two-year-old
child the use of her limbs.
3D Precision Engineering Meets Footwear
A Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)-crafted cleat is the first 3D-printed shoe
plate designed for high-performance football athletes. Through proprietary
material selection, Nike was able to prototype a fully functional plate and
traction system at a fraction of the time and weight of traditional
manufacturing techniques.
Planning 3D-Printed Lunar Habitations of the Future
Foster and Partners, along with several smaller firms, teams with the
European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a lunar habitation using 3Dprinted parts transported by rockets, as well as 3D-printed materials using
the moon’s own soil. Destined for the moon’s south pole, the structures
would protect inhabitants from meteorites, gamma radiation and
temperature fluctuations.
3D Printing Saves Lives
Baby’s life is saved with a groundbreaking 3D-printed splint created at the
University of Michigan. The splint, made of biological material, opened up
the child’s lungs and allowed him to breathe freely.
NASA Embraces 3D Printing
NASA announces a plan to explore the possibility of 3D printing food in
space for astronauts. At the same time, the organization announces the
development of a 3D printer, to be launched in 2014, which can make
tools on demand, reducing the need to bring unnecessary supplies into
space. NASA also successfully tests the first 3D-printed rocket fuel injector.
Timeline compiled by the Education Department at the Museum of Arts and Design
with special assistance from Stephan Hoskins, Centre for Fine Print Research,
and Vanessa Palsenbarg, Materialise.
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