Tag Archives: parametric

AtFAB – Open Source Furniture

AtFAB is hoping that you will think about having your next table, chair or shelf cut out on a CNC machine.

Their furniture is licensed under a Creative Commons non-commercial license, so you can do whatever you want with it as long as you don’t sell it. If you want to sell it, they seem open to the idea of giving you an individual commercial license.

Balancing openness with the inherent need to pay for hardware development is tricky. For example, AtFAB will give you the DXF files for the furniture, but only after you exchange a couple emails and sign up for their mailing list. That seems fair, especially considering they have a nifty little app that lets you change some of the parameters in the files before you download them. You can stretch the chair out into a bench or adjust the cutlines to account for different material thicknesses.

Open design has been around just as long as open hardware, and the two have a lot of overlap since you need something physical to design on. That being said, I’m split on whether or not it makes any sense to “design” open hardware. On the one hand it never hurts to make something look prettier. On the other hand, open source designs tend to be utilitarian (because they tend to be cheap and require as few manufacturing steps as possible) so trying to “design” them starts to look an awful lot like trying too hard. An angular little chair is still an angular little chair after you paint an orange stripe on it.

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Printable Folding Construction Demonstrated With Robots

Sometimes you just can’t get from where you are, to where you want to be, in one step. For example, open hardware tends to work with stock materials, which means flat sheet is popular. It’s usually cheaper to obtain and work than a large block of the same material. But there aren’t very many ways to use a flat sheet if it stays a flat sheet. A couple popular ways to fold a flat sheet into a useful volume are illustrated.

Folding box by YanaPonoko. Thingiverse #17659

Parametric Flex Box by Juerd. Thingiverse #17327

Can this folding idea be taken even farther? For example, can we fold flat surfaces not just into structures, but into mechanisms as well?

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