This post is proud to have been syndicated to the Ponoko blog.
Both Alan at Thingiverse and the team at Makerbot have been blogging most prolifically and interestingly on all things open design, including:
1. What the implications are for standards - will we be able to update mechanical standards like snapfits and screwcaps with simply a software update or patch?
2. Re-using CNC or laser cut offcuts - Get your screenprinter pal round for a drink and subtly direct him towards those annoyingly surplus squares of technoply.
[caption id="attachment_4030" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Makerbot's offcut screenprints. Image via Makerbot's Flickrstream"][/caption]
Now, I know what you're saying: "I'm not cool enough to be friends with a screenprinter, or indeed someone who does screenprinting!". Well, maybe you could work some patterns or artwork into the waste areas of your lasercutting file as a starter, using a Creative Commons image search as a starter, or perhaps using Context Free you could make variable design for each batch..
3. The natural link between personal fabrication and Long Tail economics:
"The argument that personal fabrication cannot compete with big production hinges on the notion that most people don’t need low-volume objects ... But really, practically everyone does." blogs