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By sorting through branding, media hype, and the confusing array of new low cost technologies, some clarity can be found and direction for those of us who use these technologies for product development.

Additive Manufacturing

The first place to start is to recognize that we are talking about additive manufacturing technologies. Taking a part definition and adding material through a variety of methods to make a physical part. In almost every case, you build a part by adding thin layers of material one on top of another. The additive process differentiates this type of manufacturing from molding, forming, and machining – all of which remove or shape material.

The advantage of additive manufacturing is that you have very few constraints on the shape of your final part and there is no tooling, no programming, and very little manual interaction with the process. This has huge advantages over the traditional manufacturing methods when it comes to speed. Although you pay a price in strength, material selection, and surface finish, you can get parts quickly without a lot of effort.

Rapid Prototyping

Additive manufacturing took off in the late 80’s because it allowed engineers to make prototypes of their parts quickly and easily. Rapidly. And that is why for almost twenty years, most people who use additive manufacturing refer to it as rapid prototyping. And to this day, most of the users of additive manufacturing use it for making prototypes as part of their product development process. RP sounds better than AM, and better describes what you use the technology for rather than the technology. So that name took off and has stuck.
Other Names, Other Uses

As the technology got better, and especially as the materials got better, people started using additive manufacturing for other uses beyond making prototypes. And, as is the way of companies that are trying to sell stuff, the manufacturers starting coining new names for the applications as users come up with them:

Rapid Patterns: making a part that will be used as a pattern in a downstream manufacturing process. This is very common with jewelry in that the pattern is used in a lost-wax process for casting. It is also used a lot with soft tooling, where the pattern is used to make a negative mold out of a soft rubber material.
Rapid Tooling: Making fixtures and molds using additive manufacturing. Tools can be used as patterns for forming, patterns for casting, or even for making molds for injection molding.
Direct Digital Manufacturing: This is one of my favorite names and abbreviations – DDM. The difference here is that the additive manufacturing process is used to make a final product, not just a prototype.
Rapid Manufacturing: The same as Direct Digital Manufacturing, but without the alliteration.
Electronics application

3d printing applications in electronics including circuit board printing, gaming consoles design, and design of other electronic goods constitutes largest application sector of 3D printing followed by automotive, industrial, medical, aerospace, and others. With the advancements in technologies, new printing material development, evolution in design software, and 3D scanning devices, the use of 3D printing in these applications is further likely to develop. 3d printing electronic components

3D Printing

According to Wikipedia the term 3D Printing was invented at MIT in 1995 when someone used an inkjet printing head to “print” a binder on to a bed of powder. They used a printer to do their additive manufacturing, and used the term 3D Printing object gallery to describe it. By the way, they went on to form ZCorp, the second most popular additive manufacturing process in the world. 3d printing services Orissa, Jharkhand,West Bengal,Bihar,andhrapradesh india

Even though it started being used to refer to an inkjet printing based approach, the name spread over time. The term really caught on because it is so descriptive. Additive Manufacturing, and even Rapid Prototyping, do not make a lot of sense to non-engineers. 3D Printing makes sense immediately to pretty much anyone.

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