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Wednesday, March 9th 1983, 8:39pm MST
March 6th, 2013

Wednesday, March 9th 1983, 8:39pm MST was the exact moment that the very first 3D printed part ever was made. It was printed by my companies’ founder, Chuck Hull, using the 3D printing method he invented; Stereolithography (SLA). At CES this past January, I had the opportunity to meet Chuck’s lovely wife, who I learned was carrying that very part in a padded box in her purse! So, naturally I had to hold this very important piece of 3D printing history and get my picture taken with it :)

Holding The Very First 3D Printed Part. Ever.

This coming Saturday is March 9th 2013, and thus will mark the 30th anniversary of the birth of 3D printing. Since this little part was printed, Additive Manufacturing has come an incredibly long way; I can only imagine what the next 30 years will be like for this industry.

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  1. @gb_lucas
    March 19, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    wOoOOww… I will research about Chuck Hull.

    Thank you very much for sharing.

    • Jim
      March 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

      no problem!

  2. Brent Lawrence
    March 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    This story reminds me of my welding supply guy who went to a welding convention and met Mrs. Lincoln and she pulled the first piece of electrically welded metal out of her purse.

    • Jim
      March 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

      Haha yes, exactly

  3. tim S
    March 25, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    Wow! This is a very cool large scale 3D printing prototype. I would like to include the short video in a presentation I am making at a conference in Norway. Would you be open to sharing your video and story with me and an audience of about 90 to 100 innovators, designers, and business people?

    • Jim
      March 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

      Hello Tim, thanks, you are free to use the video direct from YouTube.

  4. charles
    March 28, 2014 at 2:14 am #


    Is there a completed or kit form of your printer specs ready for purchase?

    I plan on having one. what is the build envelope like -L x W x H.

    Thanks for sharing. Though yet to successfully download the free zip files.

    When downloading the zip files, I get an error message of ‘! XX\Downloads\Version 3.2 Printer Open Source Components Release 030814.zip: Unexpected end of archive’.

    How can I get the files without breaking connection.

    Also, what is the guarantee that if I consider the paid version, it would not prove a download challenge also like the free one.

    I am interested.

    Best regards,


    • Jim
      March 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

      Hello Charles, I checked the link, and there are no issues. I updated it just in case and all is working normally. A quick search of your issue might be that when unpacking the .zip file you do not have enough hard drive space.

      All downloads with the paid version have no issues at all and no issues have been reported. That download system is working correctly.

  5. David
    April 5, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Jim, I do wonder, 64+ pounds, you have no coaming, no seat, no foot braces, and no hatches or floatation devices… how much will it weigh when it’s actually seaworthy? The other question is, at over 1000 hours of 3d printing, 64 pounds of non-renewable plastic, and way too much time at the keyboard… wouldn’t you be better off building a 30# skin-on-frame, using renewable wood, nylon, and your body labor for 50 or 60 hours…you might be able to skip a gym session or two, even.

  6. Alex Echeverria
    April 22, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    Unique article! I was looking for this historic object in the web and only found your photo. I like it very much as I can see the size and some of the design and material.
    I plan to reproduce it for an exhibit about the future of technology at school. If you have more photos to make it accurate I will appreciate them. Regards

  7. Martin
    November 13, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    I love the kayack!!!!! Anyway to get the code for all the part???

    • Jim
      November 24, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

      Hello Martin, the plans for the printer are available on the left navigation. For the kayak at this time I have not posted the files for download

  8. Karl
    March 31, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    Jim, I love the work you’re doing. What approach would you take to print a 40ft Blue Water Live Aboard Cruising Catamaran? Type of Printer Head? Filament? Move Head instead of Part? Print whole ship in one piece or print each hull separately and then the Cabin for assembly later? Currently Ocean going Catamarans are built by resin infused vacuum bonded Gurit Corecell foam Fiberglass Matt Sandwiches. Any advice and pointers towards developments in that direction would be appreciated.

    • Jim
      October 4, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

      Hello Karl, That would be quite an undertaking, likely print it in different sections

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