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Open Manufacturing

Reader Bryan Bishop points us to a new initiative: "Open Manufacturing", which at the moment appears to be a watering hole for discussions about how to supercharge our space. Now then, exactly how would that be done? Their tagline:

Open Manufacturing is about bringing free and open source software development methodology and philosophy to the design and construction of the physical world.

The philosophy is to take cues from the massively successful open source software community and see if analogous solutions could work with the 3D manufacturing space.

Eric Hunting lists many void areas within the "open" portion of 3D space today in a very provocative post. Some of his key points are:

  • Makers tend to recreate existing objects instead of leveraging the tech to produce otherwise impossible objects
  • Few if any standards for modular construction exist, ensuring that most projects are unable to leverage, say, huge libraries of existing part designs
  • No repository for designs exists in the same manner as Sourceforge. (Well, one could suggest that Google's sketchup library is something like that, but it's not really like Sourceforge)
  • Little standardized documentation and instructions exist for all of the required techniques, meaning non-commercial practitioners are largely on their own

We agree with all of this, and the rest of Eric's points in his brilliant article, too. One can find bits and pieces of the necessary stuff, but it just isn't organized in the same smooth operation we find with today's open source software. Once some of these capabilities emerge, we'll soon see 3D manufacturing "in the open" take flight.

Via Google Groups and Open Manufacturing

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