3D printing process: A layer manufacturing technology in which the layers are formed by using a printhead-like device to distribute an adhesive to bond the surface of a powder in the desired shape.

Computer Aided Design (CAD): The use of computer software to allow a user to design, modify, and simulate a three-dimensional part or assembly.

Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM): The use of computers to automatically control the machinery performing various manufacturing processes.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC): A CAM technology using computers to control cutting machines such as milling machines and lathes to cut specified three-dimensional shapes. CNC has been used since the early 1970s. Prior to this, machines were controlled by prepared tapes and the process was called simply Numerical Control (NC).

functional prototype: A sample part with performance or properties representative of the final product.

hydraulic forming: The use of liquid pressure to mold material. In metal forming, the fluid pressure is used to actuate the ram for both open- and closed-die forging. In plastic molding, the molding force is created by the pressure exerted by the fluid material itself.

jig: A guide or holding fixture designed for the manufacture of a specific part.

Laminated Object Manfuacturing (LOM): A layer manufacturing technology in which a part is fabricated by assembling and bonding layers of material cut to the desired shape.

layer manufacturing: The fabrication of a part by depositing or bonding successive layers of material.

prototype: A sample of a part or product fabricated in advance of production to allow demonstration, evaluation, or testing of the product.

Rapid Manufacturing (RM): A broad term including the use of rapid prototyping, rapid tooling, and the direct use of layer manufacturing technologies to produce final products quickly.

Rapid Prototyping (RP): The speedy fabrication of sample parts for demonstration, evaluation, or testing. It typically utilizes advanced layer manufacturing technologies that can quickly generate complex three-dimensional objects directly from computer-based models devised by Computer Aided Design (CAD). This computer representation is sliced into two-dimensional layers, whose descriptions are sent to the fabrication equipment to build the part layer by layer. Rapid prototyping includes many different fabrication technologies. Stereolithography (SL), selective laser sintering (SLS), laminated object manufacturing (LOM), and fused deposition modeling (FDM) are a few examples.

Rapid Tooling (RT): The application of rapid prototyping methods to the fabrication of customized molds, dies, and tools used to produce parts.

rubber pad forming: A sheet metal forming operation for shallow parts in which a confined, pliable rubber pad attached to the press slide (ram) is forced by hydraulic pressure to become a mating die for a punch or group of punches placed on the press bed or baseplate.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): A layer manufacturing technology in which the layers are formed by using a laser to bond the surface of a bed of powder material in the desired shape.

Shape Deposition Manufacturing (SDM): A layer manufacturing technology in which the layers are deposited and shaped by CNC, with temporary material also deposited to support layers with overhanging, undercut, and separated features.

sintering: The process of bonding adjacent surfaces of particles in a powder by heating. Sintering strengthens a powder mass and usually increases density.

Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF): Processes that produce three-dimensional shapes from additive formation steps.

Stereolithography (SL): A layer manufacturing technology in which the layers are formed by using a laser to cure the surface of a bath of photo-sensitive polymer resin in the desired shape.