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

From: Bathsheba Grossman (
Date: Wed Aug 10 2005 - 22:30:11 EEST

On Wed, 10 Aug 2005, Miller, Michael W wrote:
> Why not 3D Fabber?

Seems redundant; how's that different from a 2D fabber?

I've said it before & no doubt I'll say it again: "fab" sounds really
bad to me. The strong 60's connotation is hopelessly out of key with
all that is sexy about the field, and the secondary association with
existing manufacturing methods doesn't help a bit.

"3D printing" remains my choice for the cocktail-party explanation.
It's what people can understand quickly. They don't have to learn any
new words; I don't have to spell anything out. It makes them feel
like they could do it too if they wanted, since they already have a 2D
printer. I think people like that it expands a category that already
exists in their minds, but in an unexpected direction.

For the verb I like "print" or "build". "Make" is great too. I've
noticed that jewelers who run Matrix tend to use "grow", and while
it's not my own first choice, I'm OK with it. These are easy words
that work perfectly well...I don't see that any neologism is called

For the machine, "3D printer" seems serviceable to me. If there are
several of them and disambiguation is required, I'm likely to use "wax
printer" or "metal printer" or "ZCorp printer". It's pretty much the
same way I tell my HP black-and-white printer from my Canon photo
printer from the silver-halide machine down at the print shop, back in

For the objects, perhaps you're detecting a theme here, but again I'm
likely to stick with simple words like "print" and "part",
disambiguated if necessary by reference to the material, brand name,
subject, or whatever other characteristic is important in context.
E.g., "wax print", "metal piece", "Invision part", "snow sculpture
model". For a group of parts built at one time on the same machine,
I'll use the collective "build" or "batch". Again, I feel like
there's plenty of vocabulary already in place.

I feel like the use of existing vocabulary reinforces that what's
important about the parts is not that they're RP'ed, but their own
nature: that they're useful, beautiful, unlikely, customized, publicly
available, or whatever the selling point may be. After all, it's the
parts themselves that we're envisioning a larger public being
interested in, not the technology that makes them.

> > Term for the field of technology: Layered manufacturing

Descriptive, but too many syllables for my money.


Bathsheba Grossman                                          (831)429-8224
Sculpting geometry                            
Laser etched proteins                    

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