categories for rp

From: michael rees (
Date: Wed Jul 02 1997 - 18:59:58 EEST

David Retallick wrote:

> "Is a rapid prototyping machine a machine tool or does it enjoy a
> category of its own?"

Dear David,

I'm of two minds about this.
1rst: rp technology are "machines" and they make "tools". from this
point of view they fit the category.

2nd: Because the possibilities of additive fabrication have not been
fully realized, I think they may find their identity in another
category. If one were able, through speed and material improvements, to
use these devices for rapid manufacture the field may shift. Or if
experiments in forming objects molecule by molecule paid off and we were
able to "grow" everything from food, to organs, to products -well
calling them machine tools would limit our conceptualization of the
machinary. This last point may seem fine lined, but language can confine
or liberate one's imagination. We don't call cars "user implemented
machine tools for rotary transportation" in part because of the human
relationship to these devices. They are part of our daily life, they are
just "cars". As rp progresses and becomes part of our daily life perhaps
we will call them "fabbers" as Marshall Burns has suggested, or
"replicators" as in science fiction. For now its just not clear what
that will be.

Suggestion: machine tools fits the bill for lack of another clear

michael rees
1212 w 8th St. Bldg B #2, 
KC, Mo 64101
816 753 3020 v 816 753 1542 f

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