What's in a Name?

From: Yakov Horenstein (Electon)
Date: Friday, January 6, 1995

From: Yakov Horenstein (Electon)
To: RP-ML
Date: Friday, January 6, 1995
Subject: What's in a Name?
Geoff Smith-Moritz (RPREPORT@aol.com) wrote:
> I am afraid that all of this hoo-haw about a new name for rapid 
> prototyping is a waste of effort.
     Thus sayeth the defeatist King. There happen to be people who think 
otherwise, and while I agree that it's probably a losing battle at this 
stage trying to get the name changed, I think Geoff misses the point. 
Whatever name you use to describe RP is probably good if you know what 
you're talking about. The motive for my original posting was twofold:
a) to stimulate discussion on an otherwise sleepy mailing list, and
b) to use this subject as a means for accentuating the debate on what the 
RP community perceives as the strengths and weaknesses of this 
technology, and the direction in which we want it to go. 
     Forcing yourself to define a subject brings your ideas into sharper focus, 
which can't be bad for a young and developing technology such as ours. 
I think both these points have been amply justified by the responses. 

> Sure other names might be better (although I don't really think any of 
> the above have any real panache).
     Journalist's answer. The search for "panache" is how we got to RP, which
I think most of us would agree is inadequate. 

> Stereolithography, LOM, SLS, SGC, FDM et al, will simply join
> investment-casting, machining, die-casting, and N/C milling, as 
> different ways to make things.
     You're right, and that's just the point. What subject heading will 
stereolithography et al be under? Prototyping? It doesn't make any sense 
because certain N/C milling machines can also make prototypes quickly 
yet those aren't the technologies we're discussing. 

> Calling pre-production versions of parts "prototypes" isnt' that bad. 
     I agree with you here too, although limiting one's perception to prototypes 
means that it's going to be an uphill stuggle, when RP machines eventually
become capable of producing production quality parts, to convince anyone 
that these are not prototypes unless we change the name of the technology.
     
One more point. At worst couldn't we just call it Prototyping, and drop 
the "Rapid"? That way we don't have to start from zero.
     What do y'all think?
Yakov


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