Re: [rp-ml] milling=am?

From: Rachel Park <>
Date: Tue Jan 12 2010 - 18:54:57 EET

It's interesting, and inevitable, that this subject raises its head
again. It will rumble on for some time yet probably years rather
than weeks or months. It's the nature of an emerging industry, and
that is what we are all a part of.

Lino was absolutely right, a thread ran on the RP-ML at approximately
the same time last year, titled: [rp-ml] International Terminology
Standards. The thread was started by Terry Wohlers, in preparation for
an upcoming ASTM meeting to try to start to establish universally
accepted standards.

There are so very many variables here that it is hard to condense it
all into a concise overview, but I'll give it a go.

The term Rapid Prototyping is the one that is most recognised as a
result of its longevity. The problem with it is that "prototyping"
does not cover all of the applications of additive technology today,
for casting (Rapid Casting), tooling (Rapid Tooling) and final
production products (Rapid Manufacturing). Originally, it was used to
differentiate additive prototyping from traditional forms of creating
prototypes, but now it seems to incorporate any method of making
prototypes very quickly. This is another reason why many of the
'additive die-hards' have back away from the term!

Furthermore, there is a school of thought that "Rapid" is not correct
terminology for any additive application because the processes
themselves are relatively slow compared with other traditional and
established manufacturing processes such as milling/machining etc. The
"Rapid" was originally used to convey faster product development times
and speedier time-to-market overall.

The quest last year seemed to be for a universal umbrella term for the
additive technologies, of which 3D printing emerged as a clear
contender, along with Additive Manufacturing on the responses from the
RP_ML membership. I believe I am correct in saying that the ASTM
meeting resulted in the consensus of Additive Manufacturing.
Personally, I think that the additive processes themselves have gone
in two different directions, the higher spec machines capable of
manufacturing production parts (Additive Manufacturing), and the lower
spec machines for concept and functional models (3D Printing / Rapid

What is interesting in the latest thread is that it has been started
based on a quest for classification of additive AND subtractive
processes, with both being accepted as legitimate options.

I don't think it is about hierarchy, it is just about labelling, and
therefore clarity. Personally, I believe it is important to debate and
ultimately establish the terminology, as it is the lack of clarity
that has contributed to the slow understanding and therefore uptake of
the technologies themselves (along with other factors such as entry
level price points and patents - as discussed last week).

Hope that helps!?

Regards, Rachel

Rachel Park | RP Editorial Services
t: 07515 741188

On 12 Jan 2010, at 14:44, <> wrote:

> Perhaps RM is the best new term? At my company we use RP&M to
> describe our activities in this area.
Received on Tue Jan 12 21:13:00 2010

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