RE: The Father of an Industry

From: David P. Flynn (
Date: Mon Sep 08 1997 - 17:18:10 EEST

This posting strikes me as vindictive sour grapes, and I think it's disgraceful. Chuck Hull is a great man, and because of him, thousands of people, including me, are making their living working with fascinating, valuable technology. If any of the SLA wanna-be's ever sell a single machine, Chuck Hull deserves most of the credit.

Dave Flynn

 Date: Thu, 04 Sep 1997 08:36:32 -0400
 From: AAROFLEX <>
 Subject: The Father of an Industry

 I have realized that there is a lot of misinformation and confusion
 about the origins of 3d printing using photocurable resins. I have
 prepared the following to generate some debate and perhaps dispell some
 of the myths surrounding this technology.

 The Father of an Industry

 When I first began working on 3D printing utilizing photo-curable
 resins, I felt very smug and proud that I was the first person in the
 world to think of and invent such a machine. The initial demonstration
 of my proof of concept model was to a small group including a high
 ranking engineer with Rockwell who was very instrumental in the design
 and building of the B-2 bomber. His first comment, upon demonstration of
 my machine, was that a small company in California has already developed
 and commercialized such a device. He subsequently sent literature on the
 west coast machine. At that point I realized that I was definitely not
 the first person in the world to think of this idea, and, more than
 likely, there were several others who had worked on this idea as well.

 I decided not to invest additional funds in the development of the
 machine until I could establish a sound patent position. During the
 literature research phase, my staff and I soon discovered what I had
 suspected=97that others had worked on this idea long before the founder o=
 the California company had left DuPont to begin his quest of this idea.
 Among the early developers of 3D printing with photo-curable resins was
 Otto John Muntz. His concept, referred to as "photo-glyph recording" was
 first introduced into the public domain upon the expiration of his U.S.
 patent 2,775,758 in 1973. In 1981, a Japanese researcher by the name of
 Hideo Kodama, published an article concerning his research on the
 concept of 3D printing entitled Automatic method for fabricating a
 three-dimensional plastic model with photo-hardening polymer (1981
 American Institute of Physics) in which he discussed fabricating solid
 models by stacking cross-sectional layers of photo-hardening polymer. In
 1982, Allen Herbert, of 3M company, published an article, Solid Object
 Generation (Journal of Applied Photographic Engineering, Vol. 8, No. 4,
 Aug. 1982), in which he discussed using a laser beam to selectively
 solidify a photo-polymer to sketch and stack cross-sectional layers to
 create a three-dimensional object.

 During our research, we collected over 5000 pages of documents
 pertaining to this 3D printing process. By that time, we had accumulated
 enough research and established a sound patent position that we were
 able to begin developing and commercializing my version of the 3D
 printer using photo-curable resins, the AAROFLEX Solid Imager=99.

 When we began commercialization of the Solid Imager, we had every
 document known to us in the world on the subject except for one patent
 document by Frenchmen E. Luzy and C. Dupuis. The French patent 461,600,
 established in 1912, discussed the concept of using light to create
 objects. Recently, a source of this information was provided, and we
 were able, to the best of our knowledge, complete our research on all
 available patents and articles on the subject.

 I was certain that Muntz could be considered the father of this
 technology, however, with the newly available information on turn of the
 century research, it may well be that the Frenchmen, Luzy and Dupuis,
 are the fathers of this technology. Of course, I would much prefer to
 believe in the old-fashioned American ingenuity as the creator of this
 concept. However, I do not believe, after my extensive research, that
 the west coast gentleman could be considered the father of this 3D
 printing technology. He is simply, as am I, the founder of an enterprise
 utilizing this technology.

 This reminds me of the German physicist, Wilhelm Roentgen who discovered
 X-rays in 1895. Although Professor Roentgen discovered X-rays, it was
 the Siemens Company that first commercialized this technology. The
 question remains: Was Professor Roentgen the father of the technology or
 was it Siemens?

 Albert C. Young, Jr., P.E.
 8550 Lee Highway, Suite 525, Fairfax, VA 22031
 703.573.0690 fax 703.849.1206

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jun 05 2001 - 22:40:22 EEST