3D Printing needs a new name

3D printing is a hot topic in the science and news world right now.  A few years ago, in some laboratory, a new process was born.  Like any new baby, this process needed a name.  What could we call it?  Prototyping? Manufacturing? Printing?

How do we properly convey in a name what this process entails?  According to Wikipedia, this is the definition of 3D Printing:

3D printing[1] is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes.


But the definition of printing is:

Printing is a process for reproducing text and images, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing.


Can you see the drastic difference here?

#1 – In printing we are reproducing an image.  In 3D printing we are creating the image and then producing it.

#2 – Printing is considered manufacturing, whereas 3D printing is considered a one off process.

I couldn’t find any stats on printing companies owning 3D printers, but it certainly is not common practice for a printer to have one under their roof.  Could it ever be considered manufacturing?  Should it even be considered printing?

Working in the printing industry, I all to often hear of 3D printing.  Very few applications have arisen when it may be needed.

One last note/thought though – a hot item here at Print 13 this year was the SCODIX coater – and for those of you familiar, this isn’t that far off from the 3D printing process – would you agree?


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