Chuck Hull, the father of 3D printing and founder of 3D Systems, has received a coveted honour for the lasting impression his life's work has made on technology.
3D Systems announced today (October 4th) that Hull has been handed the George R Stibitz Computer and Communications Award by Montana State University (MSU). The award programme was established in 1997 by George Keremedjiev, the founder and director of American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman, MT and Hull now joins an exclusive club of winners including Walt Disney and John Holland, an expert in complex adaptive systems.
Hull invented the original 3D printing technique of stereolithography (SLA) and led the development of the now ubiquitous .stl file format, which remains to be the gold standard in ultra-high-definition 3D printing and CAD connectivity today.
Hull set out to develop additive layer manufacturing as a complementary technique to help the ailing automotive industry regain its competitive advantage. After years of failed attempts, Hull's determination and innovation paid dividends when he successfully "printed" a teacup on March 9th 1983 and went on to file a patent for his invention of stereolithography and found 3D Systems in 1986.
The inventor continues to lead the 3D printing revolution as the Chief Technology Officer of the New York Stock Exchange-listed company, which is celebrating 30 years of continuous 3D printing innovation and presides over seven different 3D printing techniques, more than 100 materials and 1,200 patents.
Keremedjiev commented: "Seemingly a week cannot pass by without the mention of 3D printing for advanced manufacturing in both the general and technical media. 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."
Hull said: "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. From the get go, I imagined that 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 apart of this incredible transformation."