Main content

The first 3D printer

The creator of the 3D printer, Chuck Hull, describes how the first model made small plastic parts from a digital file on a computer. It's now used widely, including in surgery.

In 1983 Chuck Hull invented the first 3D printer. It could produce small plastic objects directly from a digital file on a computer. Instead of using ink the printer used plastic - adding layer upon layer to create an object. At first no-one was interested but now 3D printing technology is used widely, both by amateur hobbyists and industry. It's been taken up enthusiastically in the medical world to help separate conjoined twins and the next step is to help create human tissue for regenerative medicine.

Photo: This tiny cup was the first thing made using a 3D printer, in 1983.
Courtesy of Chuck Hull at 3D Systems.

Available now

9 minutes

Last on

Last Thursday 03:50GMT

Broadcasts

  • Wed 20 May 2020 07:50GMT
  • Wed 20 May 2020 11:50GMT
  • Wed 20 May 2020 17:50GMT
  • Last Thursday 03:50GMT

The World War Two collection

The World War Two collection

Looking back at almost six years of global conflict, from Hiroshima to the Holocaust

The Witness History podcast

The Witness History podcast

Every programme, to download and keep

The Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution

From the Bolshevik takeover of 1917 to the break-up of the Soviet Union

When animals made history

When animals made history

Events from history when animals took centre stage

Great moments in Olympic history

Great moments in Olympic history

Stories of endurance, world records and remarkable athletes

African history collection

African history collection

The communities, politics, leaders and events that have shaped Africa

Podcast