(3D Manufacturing Ultimate List of Acronyms) ™


Basalt Rock Formation of Hvítserkur, Vatnsnesvegur, Iceland  © HD Grzywnowicz, 2017

Basalt Rock Formation of Hvítserkur, Vatnsnesvegur, Iceland © HD Grzywnowicz, 2017

Where would Additive Manufacturing be without other manufacturing method?

What is MIM and PM, and why they matter in the context of Additive?

What is the difference between PEEK, PAEK and PEKK?

How does PLA differ from PLLA? What is PDMS and FTPE? 

Can you 3D print PEGDA?

Find the answers below.

3D Printing, Explained.

The Most Comprehensive List of Terms related to Digital Fabrication and Manufacturing; 3D Printing Vocabulary.
— #3dprintinglady #3dpl

For 3D Printing and Process related entries, visit 3D PULA™:

For any file / software related queries, 3D FULA™ can help:


ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene 

ABS/PC - ABS and PolyCarbonate Blend

A-PET - Amorphous Polyester Film

ASA - Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate


BMI - Building Information ModeLling

example software: AutoDesk Revit

BO-PET - Biaxial Oriented Polyester Film

BPA - Bisphenol-A (PSF)

temperature resistant, tough monomer used in production of some of the poly carbonates, especially clear plastics with high opacity.



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

 additive fabrication directly from a CAD file, without the use of tooling, moulding and other traditionally understood machining; 3D printing.

DIN - Deutsches Institut für Normung

German Institute for Standarisation; Berlin-based organization for standardisation established in 1917 to provide technical rules and guidelines for manufactured parts. Until present day, the institute issued over 30.000 standards for enginnered parts. More information on the institute work here. Related entries: ↓ ISO, ↓ EN, ↓ JIS.

DMT - Dimethyl terephthalate, Terephthalic Acid

an organic compound used in production of polyesters; chemical formula: C6H4(COOCH3)2.

DI - De-Ionised (Water)

DPM - Dipropylene Glycol Methyl Ether


EN - European Norm

EPDM - rubber


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


FPU - Flexible Poly Urethane

FRP - Fibre-Reinforced Polymers


an 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

an additive made of thin strands of glass, used to manufacture very strong and relatively lightweight composites known as Fibre-Reinforced Polymers (↑FRP).

GRP - Glass Reinforced Plastics

commonly referred to as Fibreglass, GRP is a collective name for composites created with Glass Fibres (GF). Less strong or rigid than plastics reinforced with Carbon Fibre (↑CF), yet significantly cheaper to manufacture.


HCL - Hydrochloric Acid

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 ♴

also known as ‘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

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; C₃H₈O.

ISO - International organisation for standariZation

also see: DIN↑ , JIS↓ 


JIS - Japanese Institute for StandariZation

related entries: ↑DIN, ISO, ↑EN.



LDPE - Low density Poly Ethylene, RIC level 4 ♶ 

LIM - Liquid Injection Moulding

LPG (LP Gas) - Liquefied petroleum gas, liquid petroleum gas

also referred to as simply propane or butane.

LSR - Liquid Silicone Rubber

 liquid form of HTV; used in Injection Moulding.


MEG - Mono-ethylene glycol


MIM - Metal Injection Moulding

can also refer to: Micro Injection Moulding

MRA - Mould Release Agent

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.


a polycarbonate and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene blend, often

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

high performance polyamide elastomer retaining its elasticity, flexibility and elastic recovery even in low temperatures; occasionally available through 3D printing bureaus offering experimental materials on certain powder bed fusion systems.

3D printable elastomers include ↓TPE and ↓TPU.

PEGDA - Poly (ethylene glycol) (n) diacrylate

long-chain, hydrophilic, crosslinking monomer. PEG-based cross-linked polymeric materials (hydrogels) are suitable carriers for drug delivery and various biomedical applications.

PEI - PolyEther 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

PES - Polyester

PET - Poly ethylene terephthalate, P RIC level 1  ♳

PETG - Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol

PF - Phenol Formaldehyde

PHA - poly hydroxy alkanoate

PLA - PolyLACTIDE; Poly lactic Acid, RIC Level 7 ♹

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 - Polysulphone(s)

a family of tough polymers stable in high temperatures; also see: ↑BPA

PSU - PolySulphone

sometimes also abbreviated to ↑PSF; a corrosion resistant thermoplastic polymer suitable for prolonged CNC machining; high temperature resistance makes it sterilisable in autoclaves; ; more information.

PTA - purified teraphtalic acid


PTFE - Poly tetra fluoro ethylene

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

PU - PolyUrethane

PV - PhotoVoltaicS

in Engineering, photovoltaics refers to energy generated by solar panels (via the so-called photovoltaic effect).

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 ♺

universal resin identification system, aimed to ease recycling and disposal of plastic parts by grouping similar resins together.

RM - Rotational Moulding, Roto Moulding

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.


SAN - Styrene-acrylonitrile resin

(C8H8)n-(C3H3N)m; used in similar applications as polystyrene (↑PS).

SBR - Styrene Butadiene Rubber

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

SBS - Styrene Butadiene Styrene

rubber thermoplastic styrene

SC - Sand Casting

SEBS - Styrene Ethylene Butadiene Styrene

rubber thermoplastic similar to ↑SBS; compared to SBS, it has higher operating temperatures and higher UV resistance.

SMC - Sand Moulded Casting

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


TPV - Thermoplastic Vulcanizate



Ultem - type of ↑PEI




XPE, XLPE - Cross-linked polyethylene

also commonly abbreviated to ↑PEX.