3D Printing 'Legend' Sanjay Mortimer Dies, Prompting Flood of Tributes

3D printing pioneer Sanjay Mortimer has died, according to the company he co-founded.

Mortimer's cause of death and his age were not specified. He was born in 1989, meaning he was in his early thirties when he died.

Mortimer was a well-known figure in the 3D printing community, and a number of specialist news outlets and companies expressed sadness at his death.

3D printing is a manufacturing process where a three dimensional object is created from a digital file using a machine called a 3D printer.

The technology has been in development since the 1980s. Financial website Investopedia notes that while it has not yet been adopted as a method of mass production on a global scale, it has the potential to disrupt manufacturing industries.

3D printing has been used as a way for companies to rapidly produce models or prototypes of products. Outside of industry, it has also amassed a community of hobbyists who 3D-print things for fun.

Mortimer was one of the founding directors of E3D, a U.K.-based 3D printing company that supplies 3D printing components.

He and a group of friends took up 3D printing up as a hobby in 2012, but soon turned it into a business when they built a 3D printing component that proved popular to online buyers.

In a statement published online on Wednesday, E3D called Mortimer "a legend in our industry."

"Sanjay's team will deliver on our vision of changing the way humanity manufactures goods," the company said.

The 3D Printing Industry media company called Mortimer "an incredibly well-loved and inspirational leader."

3D printing company Matter Hackers said Mortimer had a "warm personality, contagious energy, and sense of humor."

Matt Stultz, head of community for the 3D printing company Prusa3D, tweeted: "Sanjay was an incredible person and I will miss him dearly."

MicroSwiss, a U.S. manufacturer of 3D printing parts, tweeted that the industry had "lost a very bright and talented man."

3D printers work by laying down successive layers of material on top of one another until the final object is created. It's called an additive process, as opposed to a subtractive process such as using a milling machine to hollow out a solid chunk of metal.

A 3D printer will melt its printing material, such as a plastic resin, before "printing" it out through a nozzle. The material then hardens in place.

Examples of industries in which 3D printing may be used include consumer products like eyewear and furniture, dental and other medical products, prosthetics, and architecture.

U.S. inventor Chuck Hull is credited as being one of the fathers of modern 3D printing, patenting the process of stereolithography—a popular 3D printing technique—in the 1980s.

Sanjay Mortimer
A photo of Sanjay Mortimer, who was described as a "legend" by E3D. E3D