3D Design and Printing

3D printing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file usually layer upon layer. 3D Printing is currently rather a hard term to define. Officially it is just one of the rapid manufacturing techniques, however; the term 3D Printing itself is used as a synonym for rapid manufacturing.

“The official definition maintains that 3D Printing is just one of the many ways that you do this. In that light: 3D Printing is a technique that deposits material layer by layer using a head similar to that of a inkjet printer. The head tends to move along the X and Y axes and the object being printed moves up and down on the Z axis.” (Peels, J, 2008)


Using 3D printing technology allows the human to build real object from a 3D design no matter ho complex the object is. The technology cut the virtual object vertically to make 2D slices of the object and then build the real object slice by slice. The 3D printer print the slices on top of each other and every slice is given a thickness that is added to the real object volume.


Charles Hull is the inventor of the technology for printing physical 3D objects from digital data in 1984, he named it and he obtained patent for the technique in 1984. Charles Hull had been developing and improving the technique for four years and he made it available to the general public in 1988. Since then 3D Printers where only sold or used for commercial purposes or design studios and this monopolism lasted 20 years until 2008 where 3D printers were sold for home use. The lowest price for a decent 3D printer is approximately $5000.

Charles Hull Story

“3D printing was developed by Charles Hull, the founder of 3D Systems in 1984. Mr. Hull, born May 12, 1939, was an inventor of over 60 U.S. patents in the fields of ion optics and rapid prototyping. In his patent for the “Apparatus for Production of Three-Dimensional Objects by stereo lithography”, issued on March 11, 1986, he defined stereo lithography

as a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively “printing” thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other. Originally called Stereolithography, in the early years the technological development of the 3d printer systems by 3D System using

the Stereolithography technique was in parallel development to Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), invented in 1988 by Scott Crump, the founder of Stratasys. In 1993 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) added to the development of this field by patenting “3 Dimensional Printing techniques” based on modifications of 2D printer technologies, which was then licensed to Z Corporation for development of their 3DP printers” (A Brief History of 3D Printing, 2011)

By Dawood Aljabr

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