First 3D printer maker and 3D Systems founder honored by the White House

The founder of 3D Systems Chuck Hull who invented the first SLA-1 3D printer has been honored by President Joe Biden with the highest medal for technological advancements. Image credits: 3D Systems

Over 35 years ago, South Carolina-based 3D printing technology solutions provider 3D Systems started its journey in the Additive Manufacturing industry which has now culminated into the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (NMTI) to its co-founder Chuck Hull. 

The Co-founder of 3D Systems was honored at the White House by President Biden on October 24 for transforming how products are made in the healthcare industry and other industries with stereolithography and 3D printing technologies. 

 Known as the highest American technological achievement honor, the 1980 established medal is awarded by the US President for outstanding contributions to America’s economic, environmental, and social well-being. Charles W. Hull received the honor because of the invention, development, and commercialization of Stereolithography (SLA), which started the 3D printing industry. 

Hull started fusing UV resins into 3D structures to create prototypes when he was the Vice President of Engineering  at UVP, Inc. (now owned by Analytik Jena) which ultimately led to the first 3D printed part creation in 1983. He used stereolithography to create a 3D printed eye wash cup. 

Three years later, the 3D Systems co-founder patented the technology and started the company in 1986 with SLA-1 3D printed. This laid the foundation stone for the 3D printing industry. 

Earlier in 2014, Hull was inducted into the  

 National Inventors Hall of Fame at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and bagged the European Patent Office’s European Inventor Award . Following that, the Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council awards him the Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Later that year, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) named the first commercial 3D printer a ” Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark”.

The 3D Systems Co-Founder has 85  American parents under his name along with many others around the world. The company’s success in the healthcare and other industries can be seen in the recent use of 3D cranial implants created with the help of their printers by European hospitals and the latest launch of 3D printing materials and platforms to address problems of aerospace, aviation, automotive, medical and other industries 

Hull is the Chief Technology  Officer for Regenerative Medicine at 3D Systems and is working for bioprinting as he leads the 3D Systems team collaborating with United Therapeutics in a joint development program to establish an unlimited supply of human lungs, requiring no immunosuppression. This will help end-stage lung cancer patients with an unlimited supply of transplantable organs.  

Speaking about his colleague and friend, Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president of 3D Systems said, “Chuck’s invention of Stereolithography gave birth to an industry and since that time, the number of 3D printing technologies has proliferated, as have the applications for which they are used. Advancements in applications such as satellites, electric vehicles, medical implants, dental aligners, chip manufacturing, carbon capture — 3D printing is playing an integral role in each one — all made possible by Chuck taking the first step with SLA”. 

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An experienced writer and editor in the healthcare and medical technology domains, Pratiti is always enthusiastic about new advancements in Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing, especially its applications in the medical field. As such, she tries to enrich 3D Adept Media with the latest developments in the field.