Thirty years after inventing stereolithography, Hull still ‘humbled and exhilarated’ by the result.
Chuck Hull, inventor of 3D printing and founder of 3D Systems, was honored with the George R. Stibitz Computer and Communications Award yesterday.
Hull invented the original 3D printing technology, Stereolithography (SLA), and led the development of the .stl file format, which continues today as the dominant file format for high-definition 3D printing and CAD connectivity. Hull set to develop additive layer manufacturing to help an ailing automotive industry regain competitive advantage. After years of failed attempts Hull’s perseverance and inventiveness paid off when he successfully printed a teacup on March 9, 1983, and went on to file a patent for what he called Stereolithography and start 3D Systems in 1986.
Hull continues to lead the 3D printing revolution as 3D Systems’ Chief Technology Officer, celebrating 30 years of continuous 3D printing innovation and presiding over 7 different 3D print technologies, over 100 materials and 1,200 patents.
The award program, administered by Montana State University, was established in 1997 by George Keremedjiev, founder and director of the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman, MT. Hull is being honored alongside the late Walt Disney and John Holland, an expert in complex adaptive systems. MSU will also be honoring primatologist Frans de Waal and 3M executive Jean B. Sweeney with the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award.
“Seemingly a week cannot pass by without the mention of 3D printing for advanced manufacturing in both the general and technical media,” Keremedjiev said. “It is, bar none, the ‘hottest’ technology for modern and future manufacturing in the world. In fact, much of President Obama’s and the Congress’ manufacturing initiatives center themselves around the proliferation of Mr. Hull’s invention (3D printing).”
“I am deeply honored to receive the distinguished Stibitz Award alongside innovators who have changed the world and improved the human condition in unimagined and powerful ways,” says Hull. “From the get-go, I imagined 3D printing would significantly change design and manufacturing as we know it, but I could not have anticipated the profound impact the technology would have on everything in our lives. It is both humbling and exhilarating to be a part of this incredible transformation.”