Design to the People


I came across a cool post about the MICROFACTORY MOW by DaeKyung Ahn on Core77 yesterday that really got me excited. DK’s MOW is an in-home manufacturing machine to produce products from scrap flat stock you may have lying around your house, like the brown cardboard/corrugate that lies around after the purchase of any new product. The concept relies on a community open source web-portal where users freely share/upload their custom product ideas so others can search and download the plans to their personal machine for home machining. Although it wasn’t clear to me how the machine instructions would be translated from the ideas, I can easily imagine a simple sketch pad interface on the website to translate a pattern to control code that users with basic geometry skills could master.


MOW In Action

I am really excited about empowering everyday people to explore design in their own homes with simple manufacturing tools and by utilizing waste material. (Brian discussed this in his Democratization of Design post back in January related specifically to the RepRap machine.) So many people have amazing ideas that remain dormant because they don’t have access to the tools or don’t realize how easy it can be to prototype those ideas – maybe MOW can help bridge that gap. And the open source web-portal provides an extremely low barrier to entry; you can try out existing proven designs before experimenting on your own. Or maybe you just want to turn your garbage, bound for a landfill, into something valuable.

The video captures the iterative design process and a demo of the finished prototype. Check it out:

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