Carl Deckard, Inventor of Selective Laser Sintering, has died

January 9, 2020

Carl Deckard, Inventor of Selective Laser Sintering, has died
Carl Deckard, recognised as the inventor of Selective Laser Sintering, has died (Courtesy AMUG)

Carl Robert Deckard, recognised as the inventor of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), passed away on December 23, 2019. Along with SLS, Deckard is also credited with inventing the Deckard Engine as well as a number of polymers for use in Additive Manufacturing. 

With twenty-seven patents, Deckard was profiled by Fortune magazine as one of five modern technology pioneers, inducted into the Manufacturing Hall of Fame by Industry Week, and named a Master of Manufacturing by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. 

Born in Houston on June 20, 1961 Deckard attended elementary school in Michigan, Ohio, and Port Arthur, Texas. After attending junior high in Clear Lake City, he moved back to Port Arthur and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. He attended the University of Texas at Austin (UT), where he majored in Mechanical Engineering and went on to study for a Master’s degree. During a summer internship, he started to think about a new invention – a way to fabricate parts directly from drawings by using a laser to fuse together powder in the shape of the part and building up the piece, layer by layer. 

He worked with Dr Joe Beaman, a young assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering, to develop the process that became known as Selective Laser Sintering, one of the earliest and most enduring forms of Additive Manufacturing. The result of his Master’s project was an SLS plastic cube within another plastic cube and with the help of a grant from the National Science Foundation, he continued working on his invention for his PhD under the direction of Dr Beaman. 

Deckard’s graduate work was so successful that UT agreed to license the technology in 1988, said to be the first time that UT had entered into such an agreement. This started the process of Deckard transforming his invention into a commercial product. In recent years, Carl worked with his collaborators, Jim Mikulak and Vikram Devarajan, to invent new polymers, making it possible to make better quality additively manufactured 3D parts. 

Download the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 176-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Innovation and differentiation: Precious metal Additive Manufacturing in the jewellery sector
  • Unrealised potential: The story and status of Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion
  • Freemelt AB: Open source technology to explore the potential of Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion
  • In pursuit of perfection: A case study on how Bugatti and APWORKS leverage the full potential of AM
  • Facing obstacles to profitability in metal AM: An Operational Excellence perspective
  • Mass-production using PBF-LB: How laser beam measurements can help pave the way
  • Link3D’s ‘Additive Manufacturing Maturity Model’: Developing an agile and resilient supply chain
  • Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM): Binder Jetting Technology demystified
  • > More information

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