You Can’t Call It That – 3D Printers

A few weeks ago, Sci Show did this segment on 3D printers, and it started me thinking.

It won’t be long before 3D printers become a truly ubiquitous part of our lives, just like televisions, cars, and smart phones.  But the name “3D printer” just doesn’t sound right to me.  It reminds me of “horseless carriage.”  It’s a name that describes a thing by comparing it to another thing that is kind of similar but actually very different.

But just as the term “horseless carriage” was eventually replaced by “car,” I suspect “3D printer” will sooner or later be replaced with some new, more appropriate term.  In Star Trek, they have a machine called a “replicator.”  In the Mass Effect series, they sometimes refer to something called “micro-facturing.”  Those seem like good possibilities.

So what do you think the 3D printer will be called once we get used to having them around?

P.S.: If you’re looking for good science news, there’s no better place than Sci Show.  I often say that I don’t believe anything until I hear Hank Green say it.