CAD Solutions for Open Making

Open Making faces the very unique challenge of a clear disconnection between designer and manufacturer. The traditional recipe of production requires designer and manufacturer to be situated under the same roof working cohesively, or at the very least, working with a well-established relationship between both designer and maker with a clear understanding of one another’s peculiar working habits. This arrangement is not possible with the Open Making movement, as designers and makers may have never met and could even be on the other side of the world from one another.

Within the Open Making community there are many Designers working with many different CAD packages and many Makers working with many CAM packages for CNC. To further complicate the matter, both these groups work with different sheet material thicknesses and varying tolerances depending on design intent or type of machine or tools used. How do we get these two groups to communicate designs efficiently in order to save timely verbal communication and manufacturing reruns, thereby facilitating open making?

Above: Open Making model

The simple answer is standardisation.

It is clear that Makers work most efficiently with CNC using standard drawings. If you have ever tried to impose any sort of standard working practice on a designer you will know this is a particularly tricky task, especially if said designer is completely disconnected from his collaborators and living in the middle of nowhere. Therefore it would appear the best solution is to process the work from each designer into a standard form that all makers within the community can familiarise themselves with. Better still, if this standardisation process can be automated, it will save everybody a lot of time and hassle.

As Open Making grows perhaps standardisation can be achieved in the design phase cutting the need for this intermediary processing stage. Maybe even CAD packages of the future will include open making templates and tools for self-publishing to the growing open making community.

Harry is a Community Contributor at Opendesk. He’s currently based in Bogota, Columbia and works on refining cutting files on new designs, and writing for the blog and soon to be Field Guide.

Do you have experience with designing or making and wish to contribute to the blog? Email with your topic!