Rapid prototyping technology, building parts by creating a series of successive layers, began in the 1980s in Japan and immediately became a subject of interest in the U.S. The first patent, which coined the term stereo lithography (SLA), was granted in 1986 to Chuck Hull in the U.S. His 3D Systems company created the first prototype equipment in 1987 and launched the first commercial equipment in 1989.
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