Proposal: Maker Professionals

Previously this was Fabrication & Manufacturing, which was concise and on-topic and didn't make distinctions between hobbyist or professional.

The Maker Professionals unnecessarily limits the audience to Professionals, excluding the

  • 44.2% who are Enthusiasts
  • 29.9% who are Beginners

and catering only to the 20.8% who are Experts.

There were ~20 votes for variations on Fabrication & Manufacturing and exactly 1 for Makers --- rather than arbitrarily changing this, it should have been re-opened for discussion (which I asked for previously and was rebuffed)3.

Either change it back or re-open it for discussion --- a unilateral change w/o discussion augurs against community involvement.

A further issue is that the current sub-text has a grammatical error, mis-using “like”. Where it currently has, “...using technologies like 3D printing & scanning.” it should instead say, “...using technologies such as 3D printing & scanning.”

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    I agree, Maker Professionals does not provide a communal feeling. – atrueresistance Jul 19 '13 at 17:31
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    Maker Professionals by no means describes me. I am interested in hobby fabrication and manufacturing, and also in resources for contract (professional) fabrication and manufacturing. However:I am not a professional in this area myself; I don't feel that Maker and Professional really go together to any extent; and I consider Maker pretentious and rather fringe. – Catalin D Voinescu Jul 19 '13 at 18:44
  • I've unchecked Mark Booth's previous answer and will wait for further suggestions and to see what the consensus of the community is. It might help if everyone who is concerned about the fiat report the edit of the title to the Moderators --- FWIW, I did, w/o response.... – user22356 Jul 24 '13 at 13:35
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    Thanks @WillAdams - I realised today that rather than just complaining about the name change, it would be better to provide a community response in the form of a suggestion for revising the name and description. I hope that you don't mind me hijacking your question to do this. By adding the two best options so far along with the status quo, I deprive myself of the opportunity to demonstrate my preference in exchange for seeding the debate with my opinion. – Mark Booth Jul 24 '13 at 15:25
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    What's against just "Maker"? It seems simplistic enough that it might funciton. – ian5v Jul 25 '13 at 22:02
  • “Maker” refers to a particular sub-culture which is not rigorously defined (subscribers to Make Magazine?) and fails to define what is being discussed. It excludes people who don't like that label (or labels in general). – user22356 Jul 26 '13 at 12:20
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    I agree with other statements. "Makers Professional" identifies with a certain group of people. Others outside of the Professional world would shy away thinking its for professionals only. The name should echo to anyone sharing a common interest. From professional to curiosity seekers. Hey, how about " Manufacturing and Fabrication Seekers" "People discussing the world of manufacturing and fabrication" . – Carla Holt Aug 15 '13 at 1:50
  • How about just "Makers" will do. It covers every category =) – Tan Wei Kok Aug 26 '13 at 19:37
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    It's funny because when you create a proposal it tells you to aim the name towards the leaders in whatever you are posting; not the average user. Seems so backwards. – CeeNoEvil Jul 23 '17 at 19:00


Given that Fabrication and Engineering continues to be problematical to Stack Exchange and there is still consdierable support for Digital Fabrication, I have just e-mailed Robert Cartaino to ask him to revert the name of this proposal to my preferred name of Digital Fabrication.

I admit that I have a certain bias for both Digital Fabrication and Fabrication and Manufacturing, since I came up with both of these names at different times, but putting that bias aside I strongly feel that Maker Professionals is a step in the wrong direction.


The term Maker is specifically an enthusiast term which only covers a subset of the community we are targeting (as evidenced by the lack of votes on the name suggestion of Makers).

We talk about Maker culture, Maker Community and the Maker Movement. That's where the original Personal Manufacturing proposal came from in the first place, but it was clear that there was not enough support from this community alone. That is why I slowly and steadily encouraged the expansion of this proposal to include questions outside of the original 3d printing remit of the proposal.


In my experience, in the maker community hactivism is seen as the antithesis of professionalism, so specifying professional in the site name is offputting to many of those in the in the maker community.

Not only that but not a single other stack exchange site has professional in the site name.

The site I am protem moderator on is Robotics not Robotics professionals, the site where I have my highest reputation is Programmers not Programming professionals.

The closest example I can find is Pro Webmasters, but there are also a couple of other sites named with this kind of post-hoc clarification: Android Enthusiasts and Database Administrators

Singling out this proposal for the professional treatment implies this site is unlikely to be professional enough. It's like the old joke that if a science has science in the name then it isn't a real science.

I can understand the desire for this site to have a classic double barrelled name, but I really don't think this is the way to do it.

Maker Professionals

Combine these together and you have a confusing and unprecedented clash. The second half of the name stylistically and culturally conflicts with the first half.

I worked in the mechatronic solutions and laser micro-machining industries for over a decade, so I am an example of the professional expert being targeted by this name change and it doesn't work for me. I have never once heard the term maker used in a professional context, and I have never heard people at hackspace meetings talking about their professional experience.

I want the name of this site to bring these groups together, not tear them apart.

I strongly believe that enthusiasts can learn much about precision and quality (for example) from the professional experts, but I also believe that the professionals can learn about cost reduction and novel approaches from enthusiast experts. The two communities are complementary, and that's where I want this site to go as I hope we are slowly managing with robotics.

How this was handled

I understand that some decisions about the future of a proposal have to be taken without consultation. On reflection I see that simplifying the description of this proposal will make it more accessible, but I also feel that if Great work! You're almost there! had included a comment about concerns over the name, and invited comments, then we could have sorted this out without upsetting precisely those enthusiasts and professionals who are going to make this community prosper.

While some proposals may have been derailed over choosing names in the past, here we have had a constructive, ongoing dialogue over the past year, changed name several times and eventually settled on a name which had overwhelming support from those concerned about such things.


In short, I don't think this proposal deserves to be singled out with the professional moniker, nor do I think professionals will be able to identify with the neologism Maker in the name.

Unless a more suitable name than Digital Fabrication can be suggested, I believe that we would be better off with this as the name for the community.

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    I agree 100%. There is no such thing as "Maker Professional", it doesn't even make sense. It is also weird to name the SE by the target audience, rather than the subject. I don't really believe there is much overlap between professional design engineers and hobbyists. One uses $50,000 SLS printer and design packages like Catia, the other uses Arduinos and OpenSCAD. The problem is really not just the name, there appears to be a severe lack of understanding of what the SE would be about. Regardless of the name, the intended scope of the SE almost guarantees a failed beta. – bobc Jul 20 '13 at 19:26
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    Very well said, and it reflects my views exactly. "Fabrication and Manufacturing" was ideal: clearly not 3-D printing on a RepRap Mendel, but also not just the people who do this for a living. I am interested in fabrication and manufacturing as a small business that is a paying customer for such services. The original description was something I had a keen interest in, the new title is contradictory and, inasmuch as it describes anything, it is irrelevant to me. – Catalin D Voinescu Jul 21 '13 at 16:59
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    Excellent. I think Digital Fabrication is the perfect name for this site. It really does capture the advanced manufacturing techniques I think we've all been trying to define (3D printing and scanning, modern CNC system, etc, etc.). Thanks, Mark! I made the change. – Robert Cartaino Aug 16 '13 at 13:41


  • Digital Fabrication


  • fab.stackexchange.com


Proposed Q&A site for professionals and enthusiasts who design, prototype and fabricate physical things using technologies such as 3D printing, scanning or cutting machines, and 3D CAD/CAM software.


  • This was the second most highly voted suggestion by the community in the year long debate over proposal name, and was the name the proposal had for much of the definition phase.
  • Without the additional confusion of Fabrication in the digital age, this suggestion keeps us away from the traditional machining angle.
  • The term "Digital fabrication" seems reasonably widespread and the Wikipedia page references many of the technologies this proposal refers to.
  • A google search on "Digital fabrication" currently finds over 500,000 results.
  • It doesn't suffer an implicit limit on the size of the machine.
  • Nor does it suffer an implicit limit on industrial use.


  • It may be a term less familiar to the maker and hackerspace communities, but this did not appear to be the case during definition.

Note: This answer has been made Community Wiki so it is easier for others to improve it and so that I do not gain any reputation from votes on it. I am far more interested in the truthful opinion of the community on this matter.

  • I believe that this name is the best fit for the community we are building here. It is also my personal favourite, so consider that this is the option which would have my vote, if I were able to vote on my own answer. Mark..........
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    This seems the best match for the description. It is even clearer than Fabrication and Manufacturing. I don't think the term is unfamiliar to the more amateur/enthusiast/hobbyist side of the community, and many will easily identify with it. – Catalin D Voinescu Jul 24 '13 at 15:01
  • Should there be a comma before or in printing, scanning or cutting? – user22356 Jul 24 '13 at 16:22
  • @WillAdams - No, there is no or equivalent of the oxford comma, though this and might be a good place to use an oxford comma (I normally try to avoid it if it isn't really necessary). – Mark Booth Jul 25 '13 at 10:40

It's not unusual for enthusiast and beginners to feel like they might be left out of a site labeled for serious experts or professionals. The truth is, this does not happen in actual practice. We are not checking your credentials at the door and there are no "members only" sites here. But we ARE designing a site for experts. Remember that a high-quality expert/professional site WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around!

All in all, there have not been any new directions set for the SUBSTANCE of this proposal. The real work of defining your scope happens in the beta. I'm still looking forward to intriguing discussions about fabricating with 3D printers, CNC milling machines, CAD/CAM software and sharing ideas between industry and the maker & hackerspace communities.

The "professional" labeling was deliberate. We already have a strong contingent of hobbyists and enthusiasts across the network we can reach. But there is a huge industry of professionals eagerly searching for a site like this; one based on an expert community that can repeat the success of sites like Stack Overflow. If we created a site specifically targeted — let me repeat that… "specifically targeted" — at the enthusiast and beginner hobbyist, that very large group of experts is outta here.

Incidentally, voting on naming issues has derailed more sites by infighting over minutia than I care to repeat. That's why we don't do it.

You should enjoy the site you created… and be glad that it is already well on its way to attracting some of the leading authorities in this subject space… folks who will continue to provide great answers to the questions you all want to ask.


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    Sounds like "professional" is being equated to "expert". A professional is literally someone who gets paid to do something. An expert has lots of experience with something. By using "professionals" in the title you are effectively excluding non-professional experts, such as retired professionals, people who changed fields after several years in fabrication or manufacturing, and anyone dedicating their every spare moment to something other than their job. – l0b0 Jul 20 '13 at 1:27
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    It ceased to be the site I was interested in when the name changed. No one wants an elitist atmosphere of professionals who believe that if a machine isn't built of steel, w/ an expensive spindle, costing several thousand dollars and weighing a quarter ton or more, it's a toy, not worthy of consideration --- the pros don't have the answers we need. The only thing derailing this is imposing something which the community doesn't want. – user22356 Jul 20 '13 at 2:21
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    @WillAdams: If the mere name of the proposal (not the content, just the name) is sufficient to make you not participate, were you really that dedicated to the proposal to begin with? If someone feels that "if a machine isn't built of steel, w/ an expensive spindle, costing several thousand dollars and weighing a quarter ton or more, it's a toy," then they will ignore such questions. And you can answer them. You're too focused on other people and not the actual content of the site itself. – Nicol Bolas Jul 20 '13 at 7:57
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    For a site like this, the community is the content, and if one doesn't foster community involvement, or ignores the community's input, then one is actively discouraging for the community from providing the answers which is the site's raison d'être. – user22356 Jul 20 '13 at 12:06
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    I have many questions I would ask people familiar with traditional fabrication and manufacturing (machining, injection molding etc), as well as with the newer methods (laser and waterjet cutting and such). My small business could benefit from that information. I have virtually no questions for a maker professional, as it has nothing to do with what I do. The only way I can imagine a "maker professional" is someone who runs a farm of 3-D printers and sells the resulting objects. Very niche, and I'm not interested, thank you. – Catalin D Voinescu Jul 21 '13 at 17:04
  • On top of that, the new description makes us look ignorant since it misuses like where such as should have been used. – user22356 Jul 22 '13 at 19:04
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    Say what you want, I believe Robert single-handedly changing the name to the LEAST accepted one in the community goes directly against the community spirit. I mean, it doesn't really matter what that name is, it stinks with a "I'm the f***'n moderator here, you all do as I say, I know better than all in the lot of you!" - Moderator's fiat versus community vote. – SF. Jul 25 '13 at 8:26
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    Also: I used to be a professional maker a couple years ago, working on very expensive, top-quality professional equipment of my employer. Later, I changed jobs and nowadays I'm aiming to get into amateur manufacturing by getting my own, amateur machine. I possess the expert knowledge on the subject from my previous job, but the current title of the site definitely discourages me from joining. I'd be willing to share my knowledge with these interested in obtaining it, if there was anything in it for me - but there isn't, as the site excludes my current area if interest. – SF. Jul 25 '13 at 8:32
  • Thanks for your comments @SF. but I think you are being a little harsh on Robert. I'm pretty sure that he is trying to do what he thinks is best for the site and the only way we can move forward with this is to persuade him that there is a better way, hence my opening up this question once more. As you know, the name and description is far less important than what actually happens on the launched site, and I hope that you will be there to help us to make the site one you want to be part of. – Mark Booth Jul 25 '13 at 10:13
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    @MarkBooth: I'd say the site name is quite important in giving direction to the votes - as evidenced by Electrical Engineering, where embedded programming questions, despite being explicitly allowed by the FAQ of the site, get closed as "off-topic; not related to Electrical Engineering". – SF. Jul 26 '13 at 8:02
  • @SF. I have no opinion in this matter whatsoever- I don't intend to participate in this site. However, your comments come across as heavily unprofessional. I hear what you're saying, but if you want people to take you seriously as a professional, I would advise that you word your input a little differently. I don't mean to sound rude, but the way you voiced your thoughts sounded very childish, not what I'd expect from a professional – JohnB Aug 15 '13 at 0:58
  • @JohnB: I was the machine guy. I was rarely required to smooth-talk with the customers. I'd get a project and I'd make the part and I'd make it fit despite latent material tensions, despite impossible angles and tools softer than the material. Do not confuse professionalism at manufacturing with being a masterful butt-licker. You don't need to be a soft-spoken slimeball to master CNC. – SF. Aug 16 '13 at 8:25


  • Fabrication & Manufacturing


  • fab.stackexchange.com


Proposed Q&A site for professionals and enthusiasts who design, prototype and fabricate physical things using technologies such as 3D printing, scanning or cutting machines, and 3D CAD/CAM software.


  • This was the most highly voted suggestion by the community in the year long debate over proposal name.
  • Covers both the Manufacturing and Fabrication angles of this proposal. Making it inclusive to both hobbyist & artisan fabricators and industrial & commercial manufacturers.
  • Wider scope than both Personal, Desktop and Digital suggestions.
  • It doesn't suffer an implicit limit on the size of the machine.
  • Nor does it suffer an implicit limit on industrial use.
  • Like most successful Stack Exchange sites it has a two word name which makes it easier to find using web searches.


  • It implies that the proposal covers traditional machining too, which might be considered to have had limited support during definition.

    • I believe that this is now the main reason why this option should not be the one we select.
  • It may be off-putting to our Maker & Hackerspace supporters - Although during the first third of commitment this did not appear to be the case.

Note: This answer has been made Community Wiki so that I do not gain any reputation from votes on it. I am far more interested in the truthful opinion of the community on this matter.

  • I think adding routing is worth it, since there's a distinction in the professional CNC community between milling and routing and we want to be inclusive. – user22356 Jul 24 '13 at 13:38
  • Agreed --- replacing milling and routing w/ cutting would work fine. – user22356 Jul 24 '13 at 15:43
  • @WillAdams - Ok, done. Tidying up comments now... – Mark Booth Jul 24 '13 at 15:45
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    I think this is the better name for the group. Whether you're someone working in spare space in you home or running a full job shop there's different manufacturing and fabricating techniques you can learn from others. – RJay75 Jul 30 '13 at 17:06

I just want to point out that I am relatively new to this. I would consider myself an enthusiast and NOT an expert. I am more interested in the 3D design side and not the mfg. But anyway, my point is despite the new title being "Maker Professionals" as an enthusiast I didnt even give it a second thought before joining. I feel zero discrimination; rather I feel like this would be a great place for me to become an expert through developing relationships with current pros and other amateurs who are also interested in learning.

As long as the community at large remains open to answering and hearing amateur questions and support us as we learn and evolve within this community than I think this will end up being a very productive community.

Thanks for having me!!

P.S. How do I vote for a name?

  • To vote for a name, simply click on the up-arrow next to whichever answer suggests a name which you like. – user22356 Aug 15 '13 at 11:59
  • Completely agree...to be honest, I would say that I am an super enthusiast, who wants to be a professional, and when I heard about this project, I could care less what the name actually was, I just wanted to be involved. I would definitely consider myself a Maker, even though I am also a professional, and I want to become an expert. – Geoff Burns Aug 15 '13 at 19:44


  • Maker Professionals


  • makerprofessionals.stackexchange.com


Proposed Q&A site for professionals and advanced makers who design, prototype, and fabricate physical things using technologies like 3D printing & scanning.


  • This is the name and description that Robert Cartaino, Director of Community Development for the Stack Exchange Network, moved us to during Commitment.
  • This suggestion keeps us away from the traditional machining angle.
  • It makes it clear that we want professionals to take part in our site.
  • It doesn't suffer an implicit limit on the size of the machine.
  • Nor does it suffer an implicit limit on industrial use.


Note: This answer has been made Community Wiki so it is easier for others to improve it and so that I do not gain any reputation from votes on it. I am far more interested in the truthful opinion of the community on this matter.

  • I've always felt the term "Maker" was more descriptive and more common. "Digital Fabrication", while logical, is not a phrase I've ever come across. – Brian Low Aug 3 '13 at 1:57
  • @BrianLow - Out of interest, would you self identify as a Maker Professional? If you just identify with the term Maker then you may want to consider that the term is far less commonly used outside of North America. In the UK for instance, Maker Fairs have only recently started appearing on the back of longer established Hackspaces. See my other answer for details of why I feel Maker and Professional don't fit together well. – Mark Booth Aug 5 '13 at 12:31
  • "Maker" yes, "Professional" no. At the end of the day, I will participate under either name. Looking forward to the beta! Thanks for shepherding this proposal. – Brian Low Aug 8 '13 at 1:40

Suggestion: Distributed Manufacturing

This would include 2D and 3d printing, cutting, additive manufacturing, and subtractive manufacturing, all manner of computer numerically controlled manufacturing or digital manufacturing, as well as leave room for other technologies not currently on our radar.

The reason I like this idea is it speaks to the coming transformation of manufacturing to a blend of factory, workshop, marker space, desktop, cottage, and laboratory sites of making components and products.

Maybe this is too big of an umbrella for the stack exchange model. It probably needs to be more narrow to function. But we don't seem to have critical mass for a "3d Printing" or "Digital Fabrication" site to launch.

  • I find Distributed Manufacturing even more nebulous than Digital Fabrication --- it also makes an assumption which many people wouldn't welcome, that design files would have to be suited for general consumption and would have to be shared publicly so that others could manufacture the items --- while I'm pleased to do that for most of my designs, I'm sure I'll have questions about a few designs which I'd like to keep proprietary / private. – user22356 Aug 15 '13 at 12:01

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