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

From: Jim McMahon <>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2016 19:00:16 -0500

Steve. You are not reading what I wrote. Without support you have no 3D
 All you get is 2.5 D models with support missing. 3D systems bought the
Helsinki patent in 2002. Stratasys didn't licence it till later 1990s
after Model maker 6Pro. Chuck invented STL files only. This is now
accepted by everyone. Plus STL files are not a requirement for 3D printing.

On Dec 7, 2016 5:57 PM, "Steven Adler (A3DM)" <> wrote:

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 )

*Steven Adler*
A3DM Technologies Corp
+1 503 250.3324 <(503)%20250-3324>

*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

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
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 <>


Glad to have someone like you with the interest in 3D modeling history

My introduction was a bit lengthy and it should be summarized to simplify

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

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 <>

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,

Jan Andrzejewski
Facebook <>

Pinterest <>

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
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
(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 - 02:00:26 EET

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