Re: Who coined the term "3D printing"?

From: Jim McMahon <>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2017 05:36:35 -0500


The question is "Why did someone coin the term 3D Printing?"
Print can be a noun or verb. Who cares? Printing is two dimensional term.
Let it be that. Adding 3D to it is ridiculous.

Adding an unlikely addition to a word to expand it's obvious description
seems wrong.

A three dimensional chair.
A living fish
A mobile car
A painful wound
A bright sun

An electric picture
A flat marble
An invisible pill
Dry water
3D flame
3D line
3D point

A CADD file. Can a machine convert it to an object? Will the object have
shape? An object is three dimensional in our world. Why would you say make
me a 3D object? Fabricate this object from this file makes sense. Make me a
metal object from this .STL file on this machine.

Three dimensional things have shape. So far, people have invented crude
machines to convert crude digital data into crude objects. These machines
can produce an object using a large number materials. Digital data can be
transferred to machines in many ways. The machine does two things. It must
define the arrangement of a material and process the material to be formed
in a specific way. The arrangement and process is machine controlled but
the objects final dimensions and properties are subject to human and
physical interventions that have never been defined. The object file, the
machine design and the interactions are being improved everyday.

It is grossly inadequate to use the term, 3D printers for these machines.
Computers and printing machines were invented in our generation. The making
of objects from computer files and calling it printing was the result of
generation X using terms familiar at the time. We are looking for who said
this and we should be asking why they said it. We should be wondering what
it would have been called in 1920 and then what will it be called in 2050.
The machines were invented, then they were hyped and now we must move on to
understand what we invented and how it can be useful.

History has a way of making us reflect on the past. The who, what, why and
when need to nailed down. Historians ask about the who and when.
Technologists think of the what and why? Innovators think of the what if.
Look how far we have come. Making car design forms with layers of man-made
shaped cardboard to continuous forming of objects with a number of
materials by heat or light in seconds from computer files. We can even 3D
print cookies. (LOL)

On Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM, Marshall Burns <>

> Hi RP World,
> I used to think that the term “3D printing” originated at
> MIT for describing their process that was later commercialized by Soligen
> and Z Corp. Elly Sachs wrote a paper about the process that was published
> in June 1990 with the title, “Three-Dimensional Printing: Ceramic tooling
> and parts from a CAD model.” In my 1993 book, I applied the term only to
> that technology.
> However, I have now become aware of two earlier uses of
> the term:
> * Terry Wohlers wrote an article for the May 1988 issue of
> “Computer Graphics World” with the title, “3d printing: From CADD model to
> prototype.”
> * Norman Kinzie has told me in recent correspondence that
> he coined the term and used it in the title of a document he distributed in
> early 1988 or in 1987. My records show a document by Kinzie with the title
> “introduction to: Three-Dimensional Printing” and dated June 2, 1988.
> Unfortunately, I no longer have the paper files with that document. In any
> cases, it is dated after Wohler’s article. Kinzie tells me that he has in
> his possession an earlier version of the document, dated April 27, 1988,
> and that he believes there were versions prior to that but that he cannot
> find them at this time. Since magazines usually come out in advance of
> their cover dates, it is likely that Wohler’s article was on shelves prior
> to the earliest available date of Kinzie’s document.
> According to the above, it appears that the earliest known
> use of the term “3D printing” was by Terry Wohlers. Does anyone have any
> information to either support or refute that?
> Regards,
> Marshall
Received on Fri Feb 17 2017 - 12:37:04 EET

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