Re: [rp-ml] A public survey on terminology

From: Brock Hinzmann (
Date: Wed Aug 10 2005 - 09:22:10 EEST

I pretty much agree with Steve's logic. 3-D printer is
likely to be the easiest for the general public to
understand and to glom onto. I like the sound of SFFer
(Siffer), but explaining solid free-form fabrication takes
too long. I thought about something in regard to desktop
manufacturing, but I kept thinking desktopia or destopia,
which sounds like dystopia (the opposite of utopia). But I
would like to vote for:

to freeform
on a freeformer

Free sounds Free and you could turn it into the open
source thing. It also sounds like Reformer.

Brock H

On Tue, 09 Aug 2005 17:29:09 -0700
  Steve Baker <> wrote:
>Marshall Burns wrote:
>>In reading your message, I came "this close" to chucking
>>"fabber" and
>>switching my sites over to saying "3D printer" instead.
>>It really grabbed me
>>by the throat when you said that my terminology "stands
>>in the way of
>>popularization of the field." Ouch. If that's true, what
>>a cruel irony, and
>>something I would want to correct immediately if I become
>>convinced that
>>it's true.
>I think that we technologists have little control of the
>names people
>actually use for things.
>I don't think anything with 'rapid' or 'prototyper' is
>Some things are EXCEEDINGLY slow to build on one of these
>machines. Some
>cheap 'rapid' prototypers may be very slow indeed -
>others will be much
>faster. We should reserve our use of terms like 'fast',
>'rapid', 'slow'
>to distinguish between machines that operate at different
>speeds. You
>don't want people talking about 'a fast rapid prototyper'
>and 'a slow
>rapid prototyper' - that's just silly. Also, the first
>generation of
>these machines to hit the public's attention will be
>exceedingly sluggish
>compared to the tenth generation of them. When you have
>a machine that
>can make you something in two minutes, it'll seem stupid
>to call today's
>hour long runs "rapid".
>So 'rapid' isn't right - it's got to go.
>Also, 'prototyper' is wrong.
>These machines are CURRENTLY too slow and expensive for
>most manufacturing
>tasks - so they are mostly consigned to making prototypes
>for things that
>more conventional manufacturing will eventually produce
>in quantity. But
>when they are as cheap as an inkjet printer, and people
>are using them to
>make all sorts of things, the word 'prototype' won't make
>sense anymore.
>'fabber' - is OK I guess. I don't personally like it -
>but as a contraction
>of the word 'fabricator', it could catch on and be
>relatively meaningful.
>But we have other meanings for the word 'fabricator'.
> It's like the
>original meaning of the word 'computer' - which was 'a
>person who calculates
>things'. It's gradually changed to mean 'a machine that
>calculates things' -
>but there was a time when the term must have been
>confusing. There are
>people who currently call themselves 'fabricators' - so I
>would want to
>qualify the term: "automatic fabricator" or maybe
>"computerized fabricator".
>But just 'fabber' is OK...I guess.
>'3D printer' is the term I like best. It reflects the
>close analogy with
>2D printers. I imagine my 3D printer being connected to
>my computer via
>the same port as my 2D printer currently is. I imagine
>using it for similar
>jobs - one or two copies of something I downloaded from
>the web or made myself.
>I imagine running out of expensive plastic - just like I
>currently run out
>of horribly expensive toner.
>The actual process is kinda similar too - and inkjet
>printer is a lot like a
>plastic-squirting gizmo - except that it only works in 2D
>instead of 3.
>I could also imagine the 3D printer replacing my 2D
>printer - fabricating
>thin plastic sheets with the text and graphics deposited
>into it.
>>If you want to participate in the survey, please fill in
>>the following form:
>Term for the field of technology: 3D printing
>Verb for making something with it: Printing
>Term for machine that does it: 3D printer.
>Other comments and suggestions:
>It has been suggested that it would be easy to add a 3D
>scanner into one
>of these gizmos - then you'd have a 3D photocopier -
>maybe a 3D camera
>would take holiday snaps which you'd then print into
>little diorama's.
>---------------------------- Steve Baker
>HomeEmail: <> WorkEmail:
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