As the world slowly fills with advanced personal and commercial manufacturing equipment, we're starting to see the emergence of systems to make the resulting manufactured objects fit together in organized ways. Projects such as SKDB and MakerBeam hope to help us locate and assemble independently designed objects.
Another project in this area is OpenStructures:
The OS (OpenStructures) project explores the possibility of a modular construction model where everyone designs for everyone on the basis of one shared geometrical grid. It initiates a kind of collaborative Meccano to which everybody can contribute parts, components and structures.
The concept is a simple 4x4cm grid into which "parts" are mapped. The parts can then be assembled into "components", which in turn are combined into "structures" and "superstructures".
It's not just a concept; OpenStructures has in fact already established a database of Parts, Components and Structures. Their database permits sophisticated searches as well as designer contributions with the opportunity for sales of physical items. You can download the 3D file, of course. There's even a QRCode for each item.
While the service seems oriented around the physical aspects, the 3D designs are what interest us, and the concept of combining objects together to make more complex structures.
Will OpenStructures succeed? Is it better than SKDB or other initiatives? Time will tell.