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

From: Miller, Michael W (
Date: Thu Aug 11 2005 - 00:03:24 EEST

I guess I'm not so adverse to the term fab as you and 3D seems to be a
key descriptive. I just put the two together. Fab sounds like
something more likely to catch on with the next generation but "grow"
ranks up there too. The term print refers to a surface-based process
which better applys to current layer-additive processes, but it may not
always be so. As you've said though, 3D printer fits into the general
population's understanding much better at this point. 3D grower is not
gonna happen though.

How about meld? It most commonly refers to combining playing cards
(layered information), but it's also a combination of melt and weld or a
blend or mixture. Or maybe in the future it combines the words mend and
gelled. To meld in a melder. I melded a new bike helmet last night.
Maybe have meldsets instead of datasets.

I better add that this is all fanciful personal thought which doesn't
necessarily represent or reflect the views of my employer, the Boeing

Michael W Miller (
The Boeing Company M/C 45-17 ZB-XS29
Desk) 206-655-3289 Pgr) 416-0257 Fax) 655-0025
Rapid Product Manufacturing 655-4366 or -2262
Disclaimer: Engineer and out the other!

-----Original Message-----
From: Bathsheba Grossman []
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 12:30 PM
To: Rapid Prototyping Mail List
Subject: RE: [rp-ml] A public survey on terminology

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.

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
Sculpting geometry
Laser etched proteins

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