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

From: Charles Overy (
Date: Fri Aug 12 2005 - 05:03:29 EEST


I have to jump in here to say that I don't think there is going to be an
overarching word for the technology. It really depends on the industry. We
are moving to "3D printing" from RP because RP means nothing to architects.
Plus I thought that "3D - Printing" was somehow linked to the Z corp
technology that we use.

We also use the terms rapid modeling, rapid modelmaking and digital
modelmaking when we are talking about integrating 3D printing with CNC and
other techniques to make a model faster than it can be made with tradtional
methods. The key here is that modelmaking is something that architects

I would imagine that if you are making short run parts that rapid
manufacturing is pretty good, particularly if there are significant post
processing stages that the part still needs to go through or if you are
using "3D printing" to make a mold or lost "wax"

For industrial design, I would think Rapid Prototyping works pretty well
although I am no expert here.

The overall class of machines... I just go with additive fabrication.....
says it all to me. If that means it is FAB to you, fine. It sounds silly
to me but then I try not to put to many entries into my LOA (list of

Best wishes to all and welcome back to many

Charles Overy
Director, LGM

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On
> Behalf Of
> Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2005 8:54 AM
> To:;
> 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 of
> 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 problem,
> nor one of taxonomy or technology. It's marketing 101. See, for
> example Ries
> and Trout, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind - written more
> than 20 years
> 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 it
> and its variants repellent, and more importantly - it's
> thoroughly meaningless
> to John Q. Public. If this field is ever to progress and become
> meaningful to
> 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 20
> 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 here,
> after all, and there's a fairly good probability I'll
> participate. If I were
> you Marshall, I'd take Friday off to speculate on what I could
> be selling by
> Saturday.
> 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 problem
> of getting something like the above to market, though. But I
> leave that as
> an exercise for the students.
> Regards,
> Ed
> Ed Grenda
> Castle Island Co.
> (email)
> The Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping

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