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Naming the Latest 3-D Printing Technology

Qmed readers suggest such names as "Multi" 3-D Printing and Exponential 3D Printing.

Chris Newmarker

McAlpine University of Minnesota 3-D Printer
Researchers led by Michael McAlpine at the University of Minnesota have custom-built 3-D printers that are able to create at micron-level details using multiple materials, including living cells. (Photo by Chris Newmarker/Qmed)

Qmed recently surveyed its readers for a better name for "multi-material, multiscale" 3-D printing--which has only arisen in recent years from custom-built printers created by researchers including Michael McAlpine at the University of Minnesota.

The custom-built 3-D printers create with multiple materials from the nanoscale to the macroscale--enabling significant medical device innovation in the process. Think printers with an XYZ platform, building with multiple nozzles delivering multiple materials, and creating computer software that enables the weaving in of the various materials to take place at the micron level.

(See McAlpine and others discuss how 3-D printing innovations are enabling the latest medtech advances at MD&M Minneapolis, September 21-22, 2016. Qmed readers get 20% off with promo code Qmed16. ) 

So what would be a snazzier name for this new 3-D printing technology? (Update: Hearing about the suggestions from Qmed readers inspired McAlpine to think of a name: ?-Printing (Infinity Printing).)

Here are some of the suggestions we received from Qmed readers:

'Multi' 3-D Printing

"The future is the 3-D printing.Today, printers we don't call them with their specification: 2-D or paper Printing. "Multi" is covering all the aspects of multi."

Exponential 3D Printing

"With the wide range of available materials and scales, the number of possible outcomes is exponentially greater. Plus, the name will never become obsolete."


"Italian for mold. ... Simple name and easy to remember."


"Three M's (Can't us 3M)--and a 3D - 3MD."


"3 M's (multi, material, multiscale) and 3-D"

M3S (Pronounced 'mess')

"Self-explanatory: M-M,MS"

Multi-Variant 3-D Printing

"There is commonality within the variables."

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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