Friday, May 23, 2008

Open Source products on a grand scale

This post is proud to have been syndicated to the Ponoko Blog.

So you thought you’d seen every open design project on the web? No? Well, I did, and then I came across the Mini-650 racing yacht project.Hans Zwakenberg, of mini-650 says:

“Designing a Mini-650 racing yacht as a group effort, using the Internet as the enabling technology to bind a group of interested individuals together, is what this site is all about. As far as I know, this project is one of the very first to try and apply this development concept to the fascinating world of racing yacht design.”

Not being a naval architect, I don’t understand a lot of the downloads, but I’ll take Hans’ word for it! Then again maybe no one else could decipher them either as the project doesn’t appear to have been that active of late. Its there to be picked up.

Other notably ambitious open design projects include two cars (OScar, with a great website, and the Open Source Green Vehicle, with a perplexing one), a house and a surf kite project (Zeroprestige kite, which alas is no more, as the protagonists went onto even greater things, like starting


OScar Concept by Tiago Do Vale

OS House

Open Source House concept by Rahm Rechtschaffen

Its one thing sharing designs for lamps and furniture, but how can it be feasible on projects such as cars and boats? A similar problem faces the open source software community when they build an operating system. And similarly, the way to do it seems to be in breaking the project up into manageable chunks, not rushing, and lots and lots of discussion! But with the grandest projects come the grandest and most inspirational statements, such as this from the OScar manifesto:

" [To] build a car without engineering center, without a boss, without money, and without

borders… but with the creative help of the internet community – that is the meaning of

empowerment, the meaning of challenge, and the initial reason for the internet."

These projects are all currently at an early stage and perhaps at the best stage to get involved, although given their wide scope, also likely to branch off into new projects in the future.

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