Dominic Muren on the Ecosystem of Digital Manufacturing

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Two part video via


Dominic Muren:

"The current digifab ecosystem is extensive, and exciting. This excitement come from the ability to make accurate, functional, relatively cheap, multiple objects. Even more exciting, is the ability to share these objects -- the success that any maker has within an open digifab system can immediately be rolled out to as many participants as want it.

Like any ecosystem, digital fabrication can be divided and grouped into a phylogeny of individual technologies for easier undertanding. For our purposes, we will talk about:

   * Creation of a digital design
   * Translation of that digital file into something fabbable
   * Fabrication of that file, where the bytes of the file are replicated in atoms
   * Proliferation where the file or object is shared throughout the digifab community.

The following is by no means an exhaustive list, just a jumping off point. Feel free to add additional suggestions or lists in the comments.

  • Creation:
  1. 2D:Open Source: Inkscape, QCAD
  2. 2D: Proprietary: Illustrator, Autocad LT, Eagle CAD, etc.
  3. 3D: Mesh: Open Source: Blender, Wings3d, Art of Illusion
  4. 3D: Mesh: Proprietary: Rhino3d, 3DS Max, Maya, etc.
  5. 3D: Solid: Open: BRL CAD, HeeksCAD
  6. 3D: Solid: Proprietary: Solidworks, Proengineer, Solidedge, etc.
  7. 3D: Math: Open: OpenSCAD, TopMod, Sage

  • Translation:
  1. Cleanup: Open: Meshlab, Blender
  2. Unfolding: Open: Sketchup Unfolder
  3. Unfolding: Proprietary: Lamina Design, Rhino3d
  4. Toolpath Generation: Open: Skeinforge, Pleasant 3D, Sketchup Slicemodeler

  • Fabrication:
  1. 2D: Patterning: Ink: Laser Printer, Inkjet Printer
  2. 2D: Patterning: Other: CNC Embroidery, Hektor paintbot
  3. 2D: Integrating: compu-knitting machine, CNC wire bender
  4. 2D: Cutting: Knife: Vinyl cutter, Craftrobo
  5. 2D: Cutting: Router: Open PCB cutter, Shopbot, etc.
  6. 2D: Cutting: Laser: open laser engraver, cutting laser, metal cutting laser
  7. 3D: Carving: Blade: CNC router, CNC mill
  8. 3D: Carving: Hot Wire: CNC foam cutter
  9. 3D: Layer addition: Sheet: CNC router, CNC mill
  10. 3D: Layer Addition: Extrusion: Reprap, Makerbot, Stratasys
  11. 3D: Powder Prints: Ink Binder: Z Corp, etc.
  12. 3D: Powder Prints: Sintered Binder: Ceramic, Glass, Metal "prints"
  13. 3D: Powder Prints: Heat Beam: Selective laser sintering, Candyfab
  14. 3D: Light Cure: Stereolithography, Objet printer
  15. 3D: Self Assembly: Pipette Robot, DNA origami

  • Proliferation:
  1. Swap Meets:,
  2. Fabbers:, 100K Garages,,
  3. Hacktories: Too many to list. Check out for those near you."


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