In the course of writing thousands of articles on 3D printing, we’ve come across hundreds of companies.
These companies all have names, but after seeing so many of them it’s time to say something about them.
Names are terribly important, because they are the means by which customers and prospects remember the company. The best names are unique and evoke an image of what the company is attempting to portray. It might be an image of robustness, precision, cost-effectiveness, or something else.
Sometimes no such imagery is present, and in those cases it may be that the company is losing an opportunity. However, once set, it is extremely difficult to change a company name. It happens only very rarely because of fears the company may lose a portion of the audience they’ve perhaps spent years or decades building.
Here are some of my observations on the naming of notable 3D print companies.
Pirate3D: This company is no longer operating, but for a time it was big news. They offered an interesting desktop 3D printer, but due to circumstances and management they were unable to deliver the device and in the view of some stiffed clients, ran off with the cash. Thus “Pirate3D” was in retrospect a terrific company name.
Ultimaker: Ultimaker is one of the original desktop 3D printer companies, having been founded in 2010 at the beginning of the consumer 3D printing wave. Their name is a contraction of “Ultimate” and “Maker”, which certainly evokes a good feeling among customers and prospects. But at this point the name is a bit ironic as their market is now squarely industry and not the maker market they originally sought.
Airwolf 3D: Airwolf 3D produces powerful professional desktop 3D printers from their southern California base, and have an interesting name that you might think is derived from the wolf, a strong and powerful animal found in the mountains. But no, the company is not named for that. Instead, it’s derived from the names of the founders, Erick and Eva Wolf. There are several 3D print companies that adopt the names of their founders in some way.
Nanogrande, Nanoscribe, Sinterit, Sintratec: These company pairs represent something that’s happened since the world of 3D printing exploded in the mid-2010s: name collisions. There are so many 3D print companies these days that sometimes the names by accident end up being quite similar, and it’s often quite difficult for the public to keep them mentally separate. Sinterit and Sintratec actually produce somewhat similar SLS 3D printing equipment, as well.
MiniFactory – MyMiniFactory : These are in fact two entirely different companies. One is a London-based 3D model repository for consumers, and the other is a Finnish 3D printer manufacturer. Can you guess which is which? In fact, when you search for MiniFactory, Google gives you MyMiniFactory first!
Tinkerine: Vancouver-based Tinkerine produces desktop 3D printers targeting the education market, and I quite like their name, which seems to be a play on “Tinkering”. That’s something many 3D printer operators tend to do.
BeeVeryCreative: This Portuguese company has been making very creative desktop 3D printers for many years (See what I did there?) Their highly unusual company name immediately sends a message about their strategy. It’s literally unforgettable.
EOS: EOS GmbH is one of the largest 3D printer manufacturers, producing industrial metal and thermoplastic 3D printers used worldwide. Their name is actually an acronym, standing for Electro Optical Systems, relating to the technology used by their systems.
INTAMSYS, FUNMAT: The company with perhaps the most unpronounceable name in the industry used an acronym to form their company identifier. It stands for “INTelligent Additive Manufacturing SYStems”. Get it? I didn’t until it was explained to me by company representatives a few years ago. Interestingly, they’ve also used the same naming approach for their flagship 3D printer, the FUNMAT. Can you guess what it stands for? No? I’ll tell you: “FUNctional MATerials”, relating to their ability to 3D print high-temperature materials like PEEK quite successfully.
Xact Metal: Xact Metal is a lovely company name, as it is totally unique and easily searched for, yet conveys a sense of high precision with their play on the word “Exact”.
BuildTak: The company that makes a sticky surface for 3D printers has perhaps the perfect name. “Build” inspires confidence, and “Tak” is a play on “tack” or “tacky”, meaning “sticky”. It’s also quite unique and easily searched for. BuildTak: you know what it means.
CubiCure: CubiCure is a Vienna-based company specializing in the production of high-performance polymers for 3D printing. Their photopolymer resins are used by SLA equipment to form solid objects by being “cured” pixel by pixel (“cubes”) by a selective light engine. Their name tells you exactly what they do.
DyeMansion: This German company develops production-quality color dyes and post-processing equipment for 3D printing, specifically for SLS prints. DyeMansion’s name is a play on “Dimension”, yet tells us exactly their purpose: color dyeing. And they do it in a mansion, too.
Höganäs, Fargo 3D Printing: These companies are named after their headquarters’ locations. Höganäs produces fine metal powder for 3D printing, as well as a high-resolution metal 3D printer, while Fargo 3D Printing is a component reseller for desktop systems located in Fargo, North Dakota.
Chinese City Names: I’m not sure why, but many companies from China incorporate the name of the city they originate from. Some examples:
Nanjing Wiiking 3D Technology
Shanghai Digital Manufacturing Co
Shenzhen Hello 3D Tec
And there are countless more. Perhaps this is a way to avoid name collisions in China, where there are a vast number of companies in operation.
Esun + Esun: Did you know there are TWO Esun companies? Well, actually they are slightly different when their full name is listed:
Shenzhen Esun Industrial Co., Ltd produces a huge line of 3D printer filament materials
Shenzhen ESUN Display Co.,Ltd produces 3D scanning, 3D printing, VR/AR and other related services
However, both are commonly referred to as “Esun”, and sometimes it’s not clear which one is being referred to.
Case: Some companies use unusual approaches to the letter case in their names. Some examples, there are many more:
This is completely fine, but for writers such as myself and our team, we have to double and triple check whether we’ve got it right. Sometimes we find the companies themselves vary on practice, so what is the correct form?
Completely Fabricated: I’ve heard of a 3D print service by this name, but I am at a loss to find it, or even confirm whether it is a real thing or not. But if so, it certainly has the best possible name for a 3D print company: Completely Fabricated. Perhaps my recollection is in fact completely fabricated, too.