Roll Your Own Open Source Joint

Duann Scott at Ponoko notes that a CNC router isn't just a way of doing the same old thing faster, but opens up entirely new ways of putting things together and possible an entirely new aesthetic. Scott points us to Flexible Stream, where you can download fifty different digital wood designs that anyone with a CNC machine can use. For free. Scott is impressed.

He writes in the Ponoko blog:

The fact Prof. Jochen Gros and Designer Friedrich Sulzer are sharing these techniques is another movement away from the pre-industrial concepts of keeping a trade secret, to stop outsiders/amateurs from making their own.

I think this is one of the most exciting products of the democratization of the tools of design, diversity. If we want the same product aesthetic all around the western world we can go to Ikea.

If we want originality, diversity and innovation, let's unleash the tools of manufacture.


Imagine; you can download joints that rival the sophistication of the best Japanese joinery in Kyoto and print them out with a computerized router. Designers can produce to order the most intricate joints we have seen in three hundred years. Combine talented designers, concepts like 100K Garages and not only does the whole design and distribution model change, but the stuff is better made than anything on the market.

If there is one prediction for the coming decade that I am sure of, it is that this kind of thinking, this kind of technology, is going to change the way things are designed, produced and sold. Mass customization will be standard, and everything from your shirt to your chaise longue will be printed out to order.

More on downloadable designs:

Ponoko + ShopBot = 100K Garages: This Changes Everything In Downloadable Design
Ponoko ID: If You Can Think Of It, They Can Design and Make It

And our website of Downloadable Designs.