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 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?