Category Assignment Dispute (CAD ...)

From: Joe Mooring (DTM Corporation)
Date: Wednesday, January 11, 1995

From: Joe Mooring (DTM  Corporation)
Date: Wednesday, January 11, 1995
Subject: Category Assignment Dispute (CAD ...)
     While trying to ignore the discussion of naming conventions, I unexpectedly
find myself thinking about it more than I should.  Furthermore, I feel
compelled to enter the discussion.  So much for the "head in the sand"
     As a preface, I believe the term "Rapid Prototyping" is inaccurate, subject
to interpretation, misleading, and limiting.  Putting these issues aside,
it's a marvelous description.

1.  Historical Perspective
     A descriptive categorization of RP should not be limited to the specifics
of yesterday or today.  We should allow room for tomorrow as well.  
     Will RP always be additive? Or perhaps a hybrid of additive and
subtractive, as some are today?  Or will there be another subtractive
method that is unique in its approach?
     Will RP ever be truly freeform?  Or will there always be limitations?
     Will RP always rely on a 2-dimensional layered approach to create the end
item?  Or will other approaches prove to be effective as well?
     Will RP ever be truly automated?  Or will it always require some form of
human intervention?
     Will RP be limited to visual models, engineering test models, and patterns?
 Or will they be able to create true prototypes, tooling, and production

>From a historical perspective, because of these questions and others, I
believe we need to search for the lowest common denominator in

2.  What is it?

Methodology - sometimes
Attitude - often
Intelligence - hopefully
Process - safe bet

3.  What does it do?

     What do these processes do?  They manufacture, construct, build, or
fabricate  3-dimensional objects that you can hold in your hand.  It's not
imaging.  It's not virtual.  It's real.
     Manufacturing - may imply mass production or creation of production items
Construction - may imply architectural endeavor
Building - may imply architectural endeavor
Fabrication - safe bet

4.  How is it different

     Compared to traditional fabrication processes, RP is an alternative. 
Although this may be the lowest common common denominator, I don't think
"alternative" is decriptive enough.
     Many elements of today's RP processes are already distinct fabrication
processes in their own right.  Today's RP processes integrate laser
cutting, thermal bonding, extrusion, chemical bonding, subtractive
machining, sintering, etc.
     In terms of yesterday and today, RP is a hybrid of traditional
manufacturing processes.  Will future processes also rely on existing
processes?  I believe they will, at least to some extent.

5.  Summary

What is it?           Process
What does it do?      Fabrication
How is it different?  Hybridized

Lowest Common Denominator:  Hybridized Fabrication Process

     A little dry.  The pundits and marketing folks (correction: 
pundits/marketing folks) will need to add a little zing to this, and that
usually relates to benefits like quality improvement, cost reduction, and
cycle compression.  So how about ...

Super Hybridized Fabrication Process

Brock - please add these (HFP and SHFP) to your list.  I'd like to ensure
that they get at least one vote.

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