So what are desktop 3D printers and how do they compare to industrial 3D printers? Are these devices as much a part of additive manufacturing as their older higher-cost predecessors? To kick off the 3D printing hardware course, I'd like to take you on a brief journey. Through the context out of which emerged the 3D desktop technology that we will cover in depth for the coming weeks. In this lecture, I will focus on what is unique about desktop 3D printing. The background that led to the rise in popularity over the past decade. How it reinvigorated the family of Industrial technologies that it emerged from. And a few of the unique factors that set it apart from other digital fabrication technologies to date. Other instructors in the 3D specialization have already pointed out this fact, but it nears repeating. 3D-printing technology has been around for a long time. 30 years have passed since Chuck Hull invented and commercialized the stereolithography or SLA process back in 1984. Scott Crump invented in the late 80s and commercialized in the 90s fused deposition modeling. The most common form of additive technology used for desktop 3D printing today. The field of additive manufacturing or AM, clusters together a number of related but distinct technologies. That center on the use of a computer-guided device to replicate a digital model in the physical world constructed from raw materials. This new paradigm reverses the traditional manufacturing processes that typically involve first constructing molds and tools. Or applying tools to cut, carve, turn, melt or otherwise subtract material from a larger context. So how about a clear, working definition of desktop 3D printing for the benefit of this course? Initially, the size factor was the key differentiator, but a more reliable gauge these days would be price. Desktop 3D printers are additive manufacturing devices typically under $5,000. Over this amount and the ownership of the machine shifts from what an individual might pay for a trusted tool up to a business-level investment. Several classes of desktop printers exist from micro or portable, to consumer, to professional. And emerging from the desktop ecosystem are benchtop and medium-format scales and price points as well. That still share a closer evolutionary link to desktop printers than industrial printers. These definitions vary from marketplace to marketplace and no doubt clear definitions will be settled by the market sooner than later. If certain elements become commodities and certain elements remain premium features. What came before desktop 3D printing? By the first decade of this millennium, there was already a firmly established place for 3D printing. In the engineering design and manufacturing toolchain. And a number of machine manufacturers and service bureaus working in the space. The technology was typically used as an intermediate rapid-prototyping stage to produce a physical sample of a part about to be manufactured. So that all the stakeholders could assess whether the design was sufficiently complete and well-designed. For the business to commit to the expenses of delivering the design to machinist, foundry or factory. At that point costly, tools molds and factory Lines within be prepared for the production of the part in quantity. But the 3D-printing machines of this era were on the whole bulky refrigerator size pieces of equipment. Costing anywhere from 60,000 to millions of dollars for a single unit. The concept of a desktop 3D printer at this time was as alien as the idea of a pocket-sized mainframe computer might have been dawn of the computer age. A pocket-sized mainframe such as the smartphone you might be using to view this course, by the way. What triggered the change? In our the reprap movement, the idea of a civilization reshaped by pervasive use of a technology like rapid prototyping had already firmly established itself in the popular imagination. Thanks to art, philosophy, television and science fiction. Dr Adrian Bowyer of the University of Bath, proposed a compelling alternative to the industrial-grade 3D printers that come before. Inspired in part from the sources I mentioned before, together with his own academic background as a mathematician and engineer exploring 3D topology. Make them simple. Make them cheap. Make them so they can self-replicate. The RepRap, or Replicating Rapid Prototyper movement, had begun. This community targeted fused deposition modeling first or FFF. The style of added manufacturing where thermoplastics are extruded onto a build plate building up to the final part layer by layer. And quickly cooling plastic by tracing outline and infill before moving up and repeating the process. This option had fewer critical moving parts than SLS and SLA. Materials were easy to get, inexpensive and much safer than other additive manufacturing materials as well. And more importantly, the base patterns for this technology were expiring. The RepRap movement aims to develop 3D-printer breeds over a series of evolutionary leaps until eventually the goal a printer self-replication will be met completely. Currently, while many of the electromechanical components can be produced. There are a number of other components such as sensors, microcontrollers and stepper motors. That are so difficult to produce using this technology that you can't do it. The participants are encouraged to source them as added parts or vitamins. As a consequence of the effort to source parts and construct each needed component. And the constant flux in models for parts and their configuration, RepRap units tend to bear the fingerprint of the builder. Let's pause here a moment and consider the following question. Is the beginning of the RepRap movement the beginning of the era of desktop 3D printers? In my opinion, sort of, with a big asterisk. While many of the key players involved with the birth of desktop 3D printing were intimately involved with or inspired by the RepRap movement. Such as Bits for Bytes in the UK, Ultimaker in the Netherlands, MakerBot on the US East Coast, and Printrbot on the US West Coast. There is a fundamental difference between the goals for participants in the RepRap movement, which still continues attracting passionate participants to this day. And the goals for those using the desktop 3D printer technology class that evolved in its wake. Self-replication and easy duplication are not requirements for desktop 3D printers in general. Desktop 3D printers target first and foremost, the strategies that reliably produce objects. Emphasis is upon printing over producing printers, but the early history brings the two approaches together. The problem that drove Zach Smith, future co-founder of MakerBot. On the journey that would lead to the creation of a MakerBot Cupcake CNC, the first affordable desktop 3D printer kit in the United States. Was that he needed a machine to help him produce RepRap 3D-printed parts. Eric de Bruijn, future co-founder of Ultimaker, was the first outside of Dr Adrian Boyer's inner circle to produce a working Darwin RepRap model from the bomb and instructions developed online. He and his co-founder set their sights on designing a machine of their own as a reaction to some of the frustrations they faced with a self-replication constraints of that first RepRap breed. Where the two approaches overlap gets us to the heart of the most significant contribution of both RepRap and desktop 3D printing to the additive manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. One we will continue to to examine in detail for the rest of this course. By drawing together a passionate, creative online community to rethink how additive technology might be reimagined from the ground up as a more affordable, more widely distributed technology platform. The RepRap movement and pioneering desktop 3D-printer manufacturers alike, were able to unlock a vast array of new contexts of use. And draw deeply on strategies from web and software development to advance these approaches more quickly and aggressively. Than their more more risk-averse industrial cousins. Many of these new potential use cases and customer bases would not have been financially possible with the higher cost of equipment materials and processes. Within the stagnating overly consolidating field of industrial additive manufacturing. And given that this activity occurred in parallel to the expiration of several of the earliest broad patents for 3D-printing technology. It was viable for these brand-new, garage-workshop, desktop-3D-printer manufacturers to identify. And grow their new market segments from a few early adopter customers in 2009. To a significant portion of the global Marketplace for additive manufacturing technology today. What's more, the quality, capabilities and reliability of the professional-desktop category in specific are reaching parity with industrial models tens and hundreds of times their cost. Leading to confusion about how these machines should be labeled. Thanks for joining me on this high-speed, highlights-only version of the story of the birth of desktop. If you are interested in the subject, there are a number of compelling resources online to explore further. You will find that the story of desktop 3D printing has been very much an Internet-era development. And most of the raw sources and data for this evolving story can be found there. Or can be mined from tools such as the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive for the files that are already down. I have shared a number of suggestions in the course materials in this module for further exploration. From the Netflix documentary Print the Legend, to a few of my favorites of the online articles that documented the rise of this new format in real time.