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Nuts & Bolts—Hot Off The (3D) Printing Press

Written by David

February 13, 2020

Here’s a riddle for you: What’s almost 40 years old yet still feels as new as ever?

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You’d be surprised that the answer is 3D printing.

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Back in 1983, Chuck Hull used a new technique known as stereolithography to create a small black eye wash cup, considered as the first-ever 3D-printed object. By shining targeted ultraviolet (UV) light into a vat of photopolymer—a liquid resin that hardens into a plastic-like solid upon exposure to light—Hull found that he could assemble objects layer by layer in almost any conceivable shape.

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Since then, 3D printing technology has significantly advanced. It’s been used to fabricate everything from prosthetic legs to microscopic race cars and even a functional unmanned aircraft. Compared to traditional manufacturing processes, 3D printing offers unparalleled design freedom, finding its niche in rapid prototyping applications. Beyond the printing of polymer parts, technologies such as powder […]

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