Inventor of 3-D Printer Interviewed

book-small     For the past year I have heard a lot about breakthroughs in 3-D printing and how this technology could catapult the           industry from making common everyday objects to organs for transplants. I have also heard it mentioned many times that this technology is anything but new but until I read an interview with the inventor of the 3-D printer I was not aware 3-D printing was 31 years old and had humble beginnings.

The creator of the 3-D printer is a man named Chuck Hull. Mr. Hull is 75 and is the co-founder and chief technology officer of 3D Systems. Mr. Hull’s love of science began on a small farm near Clifton, Colorado where he remembers a very happy life of attending school and doing farm chores like digging irrigation ditches, helping with the fall harvest and chopping firewood. In his spare time Mr. Hull would fish, hunt and hike but one of his fondest memories is working on model airplanes at the living room table. These models gave Mr. Hull the chance to develop his process for sorting the parts and then meticulously working to finish a product that was perfect in his eyes. During World War II Mr. Hull’s father worked in a government uranium mine 50 miles from the Colorado farmstead and was later drafted when the mine closed. The family moved several times before returning to Clifton and lived in accommodations ranging from an Army tent to a home shared with another family.

While in high school Mr. Hull’s passion for science and math was encouraged and he later attended the University of Colorado. In college, he was trained to see a problem and then find a way to solve it. By the late 1970s Mr. Hull was credited with several technical industrial inventions but he yearned for a change. He started to work with a small firm that used ultraviolet light to process tough coatings for tables. In the 1980s Mr. Hull realized that ultraviolet light might have further uses and the company created a small lab for Mr. Hull’s use in his off hours. After six months this lab is where the 3-D printer was born.

Maybe you wonder why I am relating this interview? I was struck by several things as I read Mr. Hull’s words. This was a man whose love of science was not nurtured by fancy technology but by his hobby of building model airplanes as a boy. The everyday life he led of play and work allowed Mr. Hull to problem solve, be creative, be self-reliant and understand the importance of completing a job. Passion, Mr. Hull uses this word many times in the interview. As a boy he discovered his passion for science and math and was very lucky to have encouragement from his family, teachers and employers. As parents observe your children and notice what they are passionate about, become involved in their interests and encourage them to persevere in their quest to fulfill their goals and dreams. When our children are fueled by passion for life, even humble beginnings can create great things.

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