Charles "Chuck" Hull, the "father of 3D printing," shot to prominence when he built a functional 3D printer prototype in 1984 which became the cornerstone of a technology only now entering mainstream consciousness.
Dr. Hull, a founder of 3D Systems Corp., has also been the company's Chief Technical Officer since April 1997 and Executive Vice President since May 2000. In addition, Hull was also the President of 3D Systems Corp. From March 1986 to October 1999 and he retired briefly from 3D Systems during 1999, but remained on board as Vice Chairman, a member of the Board of Directors, and a consultant.
Now Hull is the recipient of the 2014 European Inventor Award in the non-European countries category in recognition of his invention of the original 3D printing technology, Stereolithography.
The award, presented each year by the European Patent Office (EPO), honors inventors who've made significant contributions to technological progress and the advancement of society.
It was Hull's bleeding-edge work in additive manufacturing which led to the birth of an entirely new industry. His influence hardly ends with that achievement as he also helped create 3D printing connectivity with CAD formats via the STL file format.
Aside from his 18 European patents, Hull holds 76 US patents and 14 Japanese patents.
Additive manufacturing has been embraced by industries from aerospace to automotive, healthcare and jewelry manufacturing, and there's little doubt that Hull's contribution can be called 'revolutionary.'
"I was thinking about how this came to be and I'd really like to thank the hundreds and hundreds of scientists and engineers who have helped bring 3D printing to the world as we know it today. When I started 30 years ago, I didn't envision the many ways 3D printing would change the way we design, create and make, and the impact it has on our lives," Hull said.
Hull was also recently inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame on May 21, 2014 for his achievements in 3D printing, and he received The Economist's 2013 Innovation Award.
Dr. Hull continues as a leader of the 3D printing revolution in his capacity as 3D Systems' Chief Technology Officer, celebrating 30 years of 3D printing innovation and presiding over seven different 3D print technologies, the development of more than 100 materials and a total of 1,700 patents.