It is an interesting question, but kind of outside the scope of this forum. You should conduct a study on Additive Manufacturing History. There are many textbooks on the subject. In general, I believe the first patent described it as Rapid Prototyping using plastics(late ~1970s). Metal Additive was not introduced until early ~1990s. I believe it was originally researched at Wake Forest and MIT, but there were probably other institutions and corporations researching this in parallel as well.
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