As the 3D printing industry has expanded, separate camps have formed over how the sector should define itself.
The terms 3D printing and additive manufacturing can, of course, both refer to the same process, while others consider the former to be more related to the maker side of the spectrum and the latter to the industrial side.
But should the AM/3DP debate be resolved once and for all under one umbrella term? Should stricter rules be applied to how these terms are used? Or should the sector just get on with it and accept that most people know what it means when using either term in whatever context.
This week, TCT attended the AMNet meeting at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry where, unsurprisingly, this debate reared its head yet again.
Robert Scudamore, Associate Director at TWI, kicked off the discussion by stating that the main issue with calling the technique additive manufacturing is that it is often mistaken by laypeople as the manufacturing of additives for food.
Additive manufacturing is the term widely used when referring to the process in an industrial context and the debate raised the point that in the industry, additive manufacturing is an established technique that is known for being advanced and highly technical.
Furthermore, the argument was raised that some believe there is a material distinction between additive manufacturing and 3D printing, in that additive manufacturing is exclusively to do with metals.
BAE Systems representatives Mike Murray and Matt Stevens stated that it can be confusing "as some people think it is to do with composites".
Nevertheless, the room felt positive that additive manufacturing is the term the industry prefers, even if it is unfamiliar to those outside of the sector.
The speakers at AMNet conceded that 3D printing is the most common umbrella term for the sector as a civilian.
Indeed, the term 3D printing was used by Barack Obama in his State of the Union Address this year, while a widely-read New Scientist piece claimed 3D printing is bringing the second industrial revolution.
Nevertheless, those who have some understanding of the technique and have seen 3D printers in action may feel that 3D printing refers more to maker-led builds and the likes of the Makerbot and 3D Systems' Cube desktop printers or the 3Doodler.
Robin Wilson of the Technology Strategy Board stated that many people believe 3D printing "is to do with toys", which amused the AMNet attendees.
Mr Scudamore added: "It's not for me to choose a name, but is 3D printing the best [term] to describe [the industry]?"
Indeed, it was touched upon that 3D printing is a term the media has grabbed hold of, while additive manufacturing does not inspire the same interest.
Democracy in action
In a bid to reach a conclusion, the group was asked to raise their hands if they preferred additive manufacturing as an umbrella term to 3D printing. The majority raised their hands.
When attendees were invited to give a show of hands in favour of 3D printing, a smaller number gave their support - but it was noted that many of these individuals had also raised their hands in favour of using additive manufacturing.
One person who agreed to 3D printing was Liverpool University's Chris Sutcliffe, who stated: "I don't care what it's called, but ambivalence says that 3D printing is ok."
He then held his mobile up as an example. "Look at my phone. But is it a smartphone? Is it a cell phone? We know what it is but it has many names."
Jason Jones of De Montfort University added: "We use both terms and we have to live with them both for the time being. This argument will resurface for at least a decade."
So it seems that although the industry prefers additive manufacturing as the main umbrella term for the technique, 3D printing has already stirred up so much media interest that it cannot be disassociated with developments at either the maker or the industrial end of the spectrum. And it seems this is not the final time the debate will be revisited regardless of this fact.