Design to order
Open Source and crowd-sourced design
What Ponoko say:
"The post-industrial revolution is changing the way products are created, traded and distributed. Now everyone can engage in the manufacturing process through their PCs - bringing personal manufacturing of individualized products to the masses. Ponoko is the world's first personal manufacturing platform. It's the online space for a community of creators and consumers to use a global network of digital manufacturing hardware to co-create, make and trade individualized product ideas on demand. The ponoko.com marketplace connects creators, consumers, digital manufacturing hardware and service providers to promote, make and trade products on Ponoko and social networking websites."
Atilano González-Pérez describes this development, thus:
- centralised design in the industrial era, with very constrained choices for designers, and limited choices for the consumer
- a decentralised design phase, where the designer no longer designs, but creates the possibility for design for others, thereby also limiting their possibilities, and also localised in corporate sites
- fully distributed design, by the user, who is also able to have the product produced, without leaving her/his desktop.
These non-standard means of manufacturing and new material processes present an exciting array of opportunities. However, it also raises questions for designers and makers about the kind of objects we are able to make and whether we should do so merely because we can?