3D printing: so what’s it called?

In general 3D printing is called 3D printing. But there are many other names or acronyms used for this technology.

So far I have seen:

  • Additive Manufacturing (AM) — as opposite to subtractive manufacturing (CNC and others)
  • Additive Fabrication (AF)
  • Rapid Prototyping (RP) — old term when the technology was mostly used to make.. well.. prototypes
  • Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF)
  • Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM)

I am not sure who thought of the term 3D printing. Personally I favor 3D printing simply because most people immediately have some sense on what it means.