RE: Fwd: Rapid Prototyping-3D Modelling-Additive Manufacturing History

From: Steven Adler (A3DM) <"Steven>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2016 22:49:54 +0000 (UTC)

some of the notables

3D Systems ; Chuck Hull  Stereo Lithography ( SLA ) 1986
Stratasys ; Scott Crump Fused Deposition Modeling ( FDM )1992
Envisiontec ; Ali Siblani - Hendrick John  DLP Photopolymerization ( DLP ) 1999 

Steven Adler
A3DM Technologies Corp
+1 503 250.3324

    From: Jim McMahon <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 08:38 AM
Subject: [rp-ml] Fwd: Rapid Prototyping-3D Modelling-Additive Manufacturing History
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jim McMahon <>
Date: Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 11:36 AM
Subject: Re: Rapid Prototyping-3D Modelling-Additive Manufacturing History
To: Jan Andrzejewski <>

  Hi Jan:
Not much response for such an interesting topic. I have spoken by phone to two others who commented but must not know how to reply to the 
rp-ml list. Maybe they are shy. I will try to summarize what I have learned so far as it related to my request for input on "The Key areas of 3D Modelling"
First and most importantly I need to add a new key area "Materials"
5. Materials are basic to achieving a 3D structure. Any technique, system or process for three-dimensional fabrication of a part must have a material capable to produce the model from a computer aided design (CAD) data.
 We are seeing many more products these days that claim they can produce three-dimensional models and each one needs to be evaluated to prove it can do it. Inexpensive modeler products with single material deposition hardware needs to be capable of making any CAD model. If it can not do this we need to classify it in a sub-group (2.5D Printer) other than a 3D Printer. Today with so many CAD programs and file names this may get complicated. My point here is that a 3D model printer should be able to output a basic model. A basic model today is much different than it was when this technology began in the early days. I am interested in the history of early Rapid Prototyping machines as they were called when it began. 
I will postpone classifying systems until a basic model is defined. 
Basic models produced on Rapid Prototyping systems must have a source of data that can be machine controlled to produce parts more than once with the data without manual interruption. Start up the system, load a file and make it. Simple.  Then repeat the same process again with the same data on the same machine and do it again. The data must be produced from any source including a CAD program or any file generated by some means that will be in a form to be sent to a Rapid Prototyping Systems. Do we all agree with this? The model must be something other than a 2.5 Dimensional model, ie., it must be as defined by the file data and include features normally seen in objects - overhangs are included in this data and hollows should be included. Three-Dimensional models were defined long before they were machine made from file data. 
Now it is time to look at the history of 3D model making machines. Guess what? The technology is not as old as we think. This leads to who has defined this technology. If computers, X,Y plotters, 2D printers and  three-dimensional shapes have been defined before Rapid Prototyping Systems came along then these terms should be recognized and accepted. All we need to do is find the Rapid Prototyping System that can fabricate a model from data in a file and do it without human intervention. 
Please send the names of RP Systems that do this with the dates of first use. A system capable of doing this should be in museum to prove it really exists. There are two historical 3D museums I know about. 3DPmuseum and the planned museum 3Dinkjetmuseum.  
The first names I will add to the Rapid Prototyping Systems historical list:  Please add yours. 
1. Sanders Prototype, Inc., Wilton, NH  Modelmaker 6 Pro  February 1994 ( Production and sold units)
2. Visual Impact Corporation, Windham, NH The Sculptor, Approx date 1990 (Prototype printer for Helinski Patent -never produced) 
3. Ballistic Particle Manufacturing, Greenville, S.C. Personal Modeler, September 1994 (Production and sold units)

On Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 3:25 PM, Jim McMahon <> wrote: Jan:
Glad to have someone like you with the interest in 3D modeling history contributing. 
My introduction was a bit lengthy and it should be summarized to simplify it.
This subject with it's many names (please add Three-Dimensional Printing or reproduction to the list)  goes back much earlier than the popular reference to the current father of 3D printing, Charles Hull in 1984. My goal here was to take time now after 30+ years and review the history again. This should be done with today's definition of 3D modeling. I contend that many 3D model printers made today are lacking some details of the current definition of a 3D printer. A reproduced CAD model is defined precisely from a CAD program. The desired model also is assumed to have materials consistent with a usable part with dimensions comparable to a manufactured part. I see stories of automobile engines 3D printed and I know surface finishes, material composition and threaded holes can never be made with a 3D printer even today. Back up to the first 3D printer in 1984 and you will see it has many functions that are accepted in 3D printers (support structures under overhangs) did not exist until the first inkjet printer with 2 materials was manufactured in 1994.
My first goal is to first identify the things that are fundamental components of a 3D printer.
This should be relatively simple since everyone today has a good grasp of the concepts of a 3D printer in contrast to when people defined in the 1980's. 
Please help us make the list. It can be done one at a time with discussion or all at once and then have a discussion.
Looking forward to your comments.

On Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 5:34 AM, Jan Andrzejewski <> wrote:

This is also very interesting to me and will help in any way that I can.
  It is very strange to me that 3D Systems left their wax printer (Thermojet) a while before coming into the market? Did they have to wait for a patent to end?

There is a lot of Research & Development work that never got commercialised and yet ground breaking.
I think James is right and the Military organisations R&D work may have paved the way.
  Castle Island did have a database of RP patents, I never found the time then to search all the way through but if it is still available I would gladly spend a bit of time doing this now.
Some of my searches have disproved claims of being first by some bureaus and I'm sure that things that are on my website will need updating, when documented information comes to light. I may just go through and remove the word "First" with a more suitable comment?
I'm willing to work with James on this and I'm looking at what I have collected and be able to share with his Museum project. (watch this space, folks)
  Jan Andrzejewski
Curator Facebook

On 1 December 2016 at 19:21, Jim McMahon <> wrote: Dear Rp-Ml members:
I was thinking this group is a great source for unbiased information about the origins of Rapid Prototyping. I am doing research for a future 3D inkjet Museum that will someday open in a city in the USA. Currently it exists as a collection of inkjet information and early printers that form a history of 3D modelling. Inkjet printing is the technology that has the most historical information to show the origins of print layer build up and is one example of the first successes in printing accurate thermoplastic models with an overhang supported by an easily removed wax material.
The 3D Modelling technology has been shown to print 100% supported models from both facet and sliced model Cad data originating with imported DXF, OBJ, SLC, HPGL and STL files. Actually, I think the earliest examples of pre-3D models were slice (SLC) files or 2D single layer files added on top of previous layers. (I have this early printer in my collection. Text and numerical characters were printed on top of each other quite by accident to make relief characters.) A true 3D printer as we know it today does this automatically with support for overhangs. 3D Modelling has requirements and most people know them today. My research is to get more information on the earliest sightings of these basic 3D Modelling components. This will include earliest dates, places and people who may have discovered or invented these things first. Together the information will point to the first "complete" 3D Modelling product that produced accurate and usable models for customers. The date of this complete product may surprise all of us. I want to see if this group can help point to it. 
4 Key areas of this 3D Modelling search include:
1. Early CAD file invention dates. (Virtually all CAD file formats were used in the earliest 3D Modeling System) Which format was invented first? Was it used first in a 3D Modelling System? Who invented it? Then which format was first used in a "complete" 3D printing systems as we know it today?
2. Use of support material to produce a RP models. Date of first use, where and by whom? Is there a Patent?
3. A material deposition system with controlled position mechanics and numerical control for a 3D Modelling system. (Hint, could it be the AT&T, Teletype Division's Inktronic Data wax printer used in the Navy starting around 1966?)
4. A mechanism to advance the build surface in precise steps using numerical control for an Additive Manufacturing System. (You can easily look up the subtractive machining tool dates) 
(Note: Names of 3D printing are interchangeable - try to ignore the confusion)
(Note: Materials are evolving all the time and are not shown here but all can be considered for making 3D models using a numerical controlled system)
I will respond to all inputs and summarize the date for all as it evolves. The collection is available to be seen by appointment. The BPM Personal Modeler was just added recently. 
Thank you
James K McMahon

Received on Thu Dec 08 2016 - 00:50:35 EET

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