RE: [rp-ml] terminology and all that...

From: Steve Stewart (
Date: Thu Aug 11 2005 - 19:47:36 EEST

Ed and all,

My experience in the injection molding industry is that the same 20 people
on the street that you are talking about don't have a clue about ANY kind of
manufacturing. They've never seen an injection molding machine, and they
don't know what CNC means, either. Yet, those products are marketed all the
time, aren't they?

-Steve Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2005 8:54 AM
Subject: Re: [rp-ml] terminology and all that...

In a message dated 05-08-09 13:01:43 EDT, you write:

 So let me ask other people on here to chime in on this issue. What
terminology do you think is best in the long run for the technology that
makes physical objects automatically from a digital description and raw
materials. I suggest that we look at answers in the form of a list of three
terms, one for the field of technology, one for the verb meaning to make
something with the technology, and one for the machine that does it. So I
suppose some of the choices are:
    Rapid prototyping, rapid prototype, rapid prototyper
    RP, RP, RP device or RPer
    Desktop manufacturing, desktop manufacture,
            desktop manufacturer or DTMer
    Solid freeform fabrication, SFF, SFFer
    3-D printing, 3-D print, 3-D printer
    Digital fabrication or fabbing, fab, fabber
Dear Marshall:

Surveying ouselves is surveying the wrong people. It's preaching to the
converted or taking in each other's laundry.

Go outside and ask the first 20 people you see on the street to define any
those terms - right out of the blue. The only one they have a prayer of
getting right is 3D printing and its variants. This is not a semantic
nor one of taxonomy or technology. It's marketing 101. See, for example
and Trout, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind - written more than 20
ago and still a good summary.

Like Sheba, I loathe the very sound of the word "fab." It might have been
gear in the 60's, but it's uncoolly retro and cacophonous to my ear. I find
and its variants repellent, and more importantly - it's thoroughly
to John Q. Public. If this field is ever to progress and become meaningful
a broader audience, that's who you must reach. R.I.P. - F.A.B.

In a message dated 05-08-09 13:01:25 EDT, you write:

 But, oops, this is interesting. Looks like I misread your message, Ed.
Somehow I thought on first reading that you were suggesting taking Offset
Fabbing open source. I see now that you were just talking about making a kit
for it. Well, that's interesting too, but let me follow through on what I
thought you were talking about in the first place.

What precisely I was trying to express is that you have the pieces to attack

an interesting and existing market. If it's true that Stratasys and Z Corp
are selling a quarter to a third of their products into the educational
marketplace, that's big enough to attract a bottom feeder that can quickly
come in and
provide something well below today's entrants. It might even be the impetus

to drive those guys lower in price and substantially widen the market.

I'll leave it to others to speculate about where all this is leading 10 or
years hence. It's not that I don't speculate about tomorrow, it's just that

for me tomorrow is - well - Friday. I'm much more interested in what will
happen Friday than what will happen 10 years from Friday. Friday is almost
after all, and there's a fairly good probability I'll participate. If I
you Marshall, I'd take Friday off to speculate on what I could be selling

Open source? How does Red Hat make money? Do they? I don't follow the open
source movement closely. There are a lot of other ways of attacking the
of getting something like the above to market, though. But I leave that as
an exercise for the students.


Ed Grenda
Castle Island Co. (email)

The Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping

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