3D printing celebrities

Our next blog post; a Who’s Who of the big names in 3D printing!



So far we’ve covered plenty of interesting printing related gadgets and projects – but what about the names and faces behind these marvelous projects?

Who are the inventors and pioneers that helped propel 3D printing to the pedestal it currently sits on?

One cannot give recognition to the lesser names in the 3D printing world without first mentioning the mastermind that is Chuck Hull.

He is the father of stereolithography, the first link in the chain which lead to different types of manufacturing, all under the 3D printing umbrella. A visionary, Hull also invented theSTL file type and the rapid prototyping technique – all critical pieces of the 3D printing pie. He is reported to have over 60 patents in the USA alone.

Hull’s passion for his creation lead to him founding 3D Systems Corp. Established in 1986, it stands tall and proud as the world’s first company dedicated to 3D printing, and is still the market leader. Currently 74, his desire to continue to lead his company clearly hasn’t waned, and he still operates as the Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President.

The metaphorical light bulb above Hull’s head lit up back in 1983, when the entrepreneur was working for a small business that used UV rays to place layers of plastic onto tables and other furniture.

Envisioning a method which involved using light to mould plastic layers into 3D shapes, the cogs in his head began to turn.

After months and months of experimenting, Hull’s dreams turned into reality – and a prototype was made. The printer pictured below was Hull’s first ever printer, a relic now over 30 years old!

Moving onto another celebrated face in the printing industry, Malta 3D Printing presents the story of Enrico Dini, also known as ‘The Man Who Prints Houses.’

In case you missed out, last week’s post included a Chinese company capable of printing up to ten houses a day! While that is awe-inspiring, the Eastern firm must pay homage to Dini, the first to patent the technology to print large structures using 3D printing.

Many years ago, Enrico Dini was a robotics specialist, and enjoyed experimenting with 3D printing in his spare time. Teaming up with his brother, he created his first prototype printer, eventually succeeding in printing a stone column, and more notably – the world’s first ever fully printed architectural structure.

After this, Enrico Dini’s name became famous in the world of architecture. A documentary filmed by Marc Webb and Wake-Walker takes a look at Dini’s life as he balances work and family – at times, to his own detriment. A teaser of the documentary can be viewed here.
In an interview with 3DPrinting.com, Dini states that his only wish is to be able to convert his current line of printers into affordable, simplistic machines for all to use.

“My dream is to go to Africa, remove the weapons out of the hands of child soldiers and replace them with a basket. They can use the basket to collect sand and bring it to a 3D printer. This printer then builds small houses, irrigation canals, or parts for shading. Things that improve life for the people there,” Dini was quoted as saying.

Our next contender for the printing pioneer award is one who claims that 3D printing is effectively lighting the fire for the third industrial revolution.

His name is Tedd Syao –  a man who, after analyzing the state of the 3D printing industry, saw fit to dedicate himself to improving its infrastructure from the bottom up – similar to how his revolutionary printer operates.

As founder of Kudo3D, Syao was instrumental in the creation of the Titan 1, the next wave of SLA printers. Incredibly, the Titan 1 raised a staggering $687,000 dollars on Kickstarter in 2 minutes!

According to Kudo3D’s Kickstarter page, Syao previously worked as a professor in electrical engineering, clocking in 15 years of hard work in the Photonics industry. Building on his unique set of skills and experience, Syao and his team crafted this trendsetting printer, available at the low cost of $1,999!

SLA (stereolithography) printers differ from the conventional FDM (fusion deposition modelling) printers. Kudo3D’s entry into the market claims to improve the resolution, increase build speed and build space whilst focusing on reliability – effectively making it a top contender in the SLA domain.

Interestingly enough – the Titan 1 builds items ‘bottom up’, as displayed in the picture above.

Tedd Syao was also at the heart of creating and polishing Kudo3D’s patent for the PSP technique – a ‘Passive Self-Peeling’ technology, which is said to “minimize the separation force, (so that) features as tiny as a strand of hair can be preserved during the printing process” according to company’s website.

From Hull’s moment of brilliance to Syao and Dini’s revolutionary ideas, the world of 3D printing has not stopped expanding in the last few decades. As the world continues to open its’ eyes to this method of manufacturing, one can only expect more pioneers to pop up around the world.

by  | 8 August 2014

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