Let’s Coin a Phrase for 3-D Printers

Could we please coin another name for 3-D (3-Dimensional or 3-Dimension) printers? I mentioned 3-D printing to my wife, and she shuddered at the term. I agreed with her that it’s a poor name for conjuring a mental image of what a 3-D printer is. This dissonance could stem from the concept etched into our minds that printers print words on a page, strictly 2-D. And so how can a 2-D device produce something 3-D? (Of course, the answer is, it prints 2-D upon 2-D upon 2-D, eventually building up a stack of 2-D shapes, making it 3-D.)

In my quest to find 3d-printera better name, I did a bit of research and found that there are indeed different names for 3-D printing. Those names include:

  • additive manufacturing
  • rapid prototyping
  • stereolighography
  • architectural modelingIs that the best we can do? Additive manufacturing? Isn’t most of manufacturing comprised of adding parts together to make a whole, no matter what the widget being manufactured? Remember, 3-D printers are going to available for a low price at Best Buy or Target at some point in the not-too-distant future. Those store chains will want a name that’s more catchy for their aisle content signs.

    Personally, I like the term digital extruders. Yes, I understand it’s not a process of extrusion. But extruding digitally gives me a much better mental picture. Any other ideas out there? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

By the way, I’m close to starting my countdown to the publication of Dominion. It’s coming in November 2016.

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