(Ultimate List of Acronyms)


What is the difference between PEEK, PAEK, PEKK? What is PLLA?

What is MIM and PM, and why is it mentioned in the context of Additive?

What is PDMS and THREAD? 

You can find some additional processes / materials explained below:

Where would Additive be without the contrast of Subtractive, and other, more traditional production methods?

If you’re looking for a specific AM process, check 3D PULA.

For any file / software related queries, 3D FULA might be of help.

3D Printing, Explained.

The Most Comprehensive List of Additive Manufacturing Terms. Your AM Glossary.
— Uncle Google

Hvítserkur, Vatnsnesvegur, Iceland © HD Grzywnowicz, 2017



ABS = Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene 

ABS/PC = ABS and PolyCarbonate Blend

ASA = Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate


BMI = Building Information Modeling

BPA = Bisphenol-A (PSF)

 monomer used in production of some PolyCarbonates



CNC = Computer Numerical Control

machining process using computer-controlled tools to machine tool the parts.

CPE - CoPolyEster

chemically resistant and tough material demonstrating good dimensional stability. It is a preferred choice for both functional prototypes and mechanical parts. While both CPE and CPE+ provide similar performance characteristics, CPE+ provides the added benefit of higher temperature resistance and increased impact strength.


DDM = Direct Digital Manufacturing

 the additive fabrication directly from a CAD file, without tooling, moulding and machining; 3D printing.

DI = De-Ionised (Water)

DPM = Dipropylene Glycol Methyl Ether


EPDM = rubber


in the context of additive, this could refer to two-part EPX81 3D printable material.


FPU = Flexible Poly Urethane


organic compound of the heterocyclic aromatic series characterized by a ring structure composed of one oxygen atom and four carbon atoms. The simplest member of the furan family is furan itself, a colourless, volatile, and somewhat toxic liquid that boils at 31.36° C (88.45° F). Chemical composition C4H4O.

In the context of Additive, fast-drying no bake furan is often used as binding agent for sand printing machines, to directly 3D print cores and moulds for sand casting.


GF = Glass Fibre

additive material made of thin strands of glass, used in creation very strong and relatively lightweight composites known as FRP (Fibre-Reinforced Polymers).

Composites created with Glass Fibres (GRP, Glass-Reinforced Plastics) are not as strong or rigid as the ones creates with equally popular Carbon Fibre (CF), but are much cheaper to manufacturing. GRP is commonly referred to as Fibreglass.


HCR = High Consistency Rubber

 one of the oldest materials producing silicone rubber parts via Injection Moulding (IM)

HDPE = High Density Poly Ethylene, RIC level 2 

called alkathene or polythene when used for pipes.

HIPS = High Impact PolyStyrene

HSE = Health and Safety Executive

HTV = High Temperature Vulcanisation

high temperature curing rubbers for Injection Moulding (IM).


IM = Injection Moulding

IPA = Isopropyl Alcohol, Isopropanol; ALCOHOL C₃H₈O

colourless, and flammable liquid with strong odour, often used in washing systems; unlike stronger solvents like acetone (CH₃)₂CO, IPA is more practical solution for removing the uncured resin residue from SLA/DLP parts as it doesn't penetrate parts as aggressively.




LDPE = Low density Poly Ethylene, RIC level 4

LIM = Liquid Injection Moulding

LSR = Liquid Silicone Rubber

 liquid form of HTV; used in Injection Moulding


MIM = Metal Injection Moulding

can also refer to: Micro Injection Moulding

MSDS = Material Safety Data Sheet



NBR = Nitrile Butadiene Rubber


P (a-d)

PA = PolyAmideS

commonly known as Nylons, semicrystalline plastic. Most common variants used in Additive Manufacturing are PA12 (example: EOS PA2200)  biodegradable PA11 (example: EOS PA1102), PA6.

Example: Rilsan® Invent Natural by Arkema.

PBT = PolyButylene Terephtalate

PC = Poly Carbonate(s), RIC level 7 ♹

clear thermoplastics that can be easily machine worked, thermoformed and injection moulded.

PCL = Poly Capro Lactone

PDMS =Polydimethylsiloxane [(CH3)2SiO]n

also known as silicon oil or dimethicone, it is most widely used mineral organic polymer in siloxane (“silicone”) elastomers. Optically clear, inert, non-toxic and non-flammable, FDA-approved for cosmetic and even medical use.

In context of 3D Printers, often used as a non-stick coating of resin vats and build trays (example: Formlabs' Form2 SLA printer)

PDVF = Polyvinylidene fluoride

semi-crystalline, self-extinguishing thermoplastic resistant to many harsh chemicals. Discovered in Japan in 1969 by Dr Heijji Kawai. Suitable for injection moulding, compression moulding and hot moulding, recently it started to appear as specialised filament for industrial applications for FDM/FFF systems. 

P (e-l)

PEBA = Polyether Block Amide

Elastomeric polymer; other 3D printable elastomers include TPE and TPU.

PEI = Poly Ether Imide

stong heat and impact resistant plastic, cheaper alternative to PEEK with slightly decreased properties; suitable for CNC and injection moulding

PEEK = PolyEther Ether Ketone

semicrystalline high-temperature resistant thermoplastic with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties.

PEKK = Polyether ketone ketone

PET = Poly ethylene terephthalate, RIC level 1  ♳

PETG = Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol

PF = Phenol Formaldehyde

PHA = poly hydroxy alkanoate

PLA = PolyLACTIDE; Poly lactic Acid ♹

starch-derived polyester (NOT acid)

PLLA = Poly-L-Lactic Acid; Poly-L-Lactide


PLA/PHA = Polylactide and polyhydroxyalkanoate blend

blend of bio-polyesters suitable for desktop 3D printing. PHA additive counteracts brittleness of PLA, resulting in slightly stronger parts. First developed by Dutch company ColorFabb, sister company of Helian Polymers.

P (m-p)

PM = Powder Metallurgy

PMMA = Poly Methyl Meth Acrylate

relatively brittle translucent plastic, better known under the brand name 'Acrylic Glass', 'Perspex', 'Plexiglass', 'Acrylite', 'Lucite'; suitable for CNC machining and Laser Cutting.

On occasion available as 3D printable material in either powder or filament form.

POM = PolyOxyMethylene

engineering thermoplastic, also known as acetalpolyacetal, and polyformaldehyde, characterised by high stiffness, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability.

PP = Poly Propylene, RIC level 5 ♷

PPE = Personal Protection Equipment

gloves, masks, ear protection, aprons, etc.

PPU = Post Processing Unit

PPSF/PPSU = Poly Phenyl Sulphone

high performance polymer characterised by excellent thermal stability. CNC machinable.


PS = Poly Styrene, RIC level 6 ♸

PSF -> see ↑BPA.

PSU = PolySulphone

corrosion resistant and sterilizable in autoclaves, suitable for CNC machining; more information.

PTFE = Poly tetra fluoro ethylene

also known under the brand name Teflon; chemical, temperature and flame resistant synthetic fluoropolymer. CNC machinable.

PU = Poly Urethane

PVA = Poly Vinyl Alcohol

water-soluble compound commonly used as support material for dual extrusion 3D printing systems, with relatively low print temperature (180-200°C) ; easily dissolved in cold water.

PVB = Poly Vinyl Butyral


PVC = Poly Vinyl Chloride, RIC level 3 ♵

chemical, corrosion and flame resistant, suitable for CNC and Laser Cutting.


PVDF = Poly-vinyli-dene Fluoride

tough semi-crystalline fluoropolymer with excellent resistance to a broad range of chemicals, including automotive fluids, halogenated hydrocarbons, alcohols, acids and bases. Non-hygroscopic, inherently UV resistant, with abrasion resistance similar to nylons. Relatively new material to 3D printing, produced in the form of pellets for filament extrusion.

Example material: Kynar® by Arkema.

PXFL = Portable X-ray Fluorescence

useful method for surface sampling’ particularly helpful for identifying metal powder residues or potential contamination areas in Additive Manufacturing plants handling fine metal powders.



RIC = Resin Identification Code ♺

RP = Rapid Prototyping


RSP = Rapid Solidification Process

part of the powder atomisation process in metallurgy, in which droplets of molten metal are cooled rapidly over the heatsink. Widely used in order to create pulverised metal powders of various alloys for Additive Manufacturing (powder-bed or DED), or Powder Metallurgy applications.

Example process: Nanoval Process.

Example machine: The Blue Power Atomiser AU1000.


SC = Sand Casting

SMC = Sand Moulded Casting

SBR = Styrene Butadiene Rubber

synthetic rubber of good resilience & tensile strength but poor oil and ozone resistance;

SR = Silicone Rubber

 an elastomer retaining properties through wide temperature range


TCP = TriCalcium Phosphate

biocompatible, bioresorbable and osteoconductive material; used in regenerative medicine as bone replacement. 3D printable as β-TCP based ceramic powder.

Example material: LithaBone TCP 300 by Lithoz.

TDS = Technical Data Sheet

TPE = Thermoplastic Elastomer

TPO = ThermoPlastic (Poly)Olefin

TPR = ThermoPlastic rubber

another name for ↑TPE; considered premium material




Ultem = type of PEI