Fabbing Industry

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Jarkko Moilanen :

"It refers to situation in which conventional manufacturing methods are changing mostly because of economical and technological reasons. Economically it is not efficient to transport manufactured parts across the globe, which is happening now. Instead parts could and should be produced as near as possible to final location such as new mining operation field. Same applies to spare parts to different machines. Technological reasons refers to advances in technology, which is making huge leaps for example in 3D printing. Markets will ‘demand’ for more local production and therefore conventional production and logistics are not sufficient.

Answer to demands lays in:

- Fabbing industry, which uses new technology (such as 3D printing) to satisfy new needs for example speed, locality, end-user participation in production process (by creating/modifying 3D models) and ecological values in manufacturing.

Fabbing industry does not however wreck the traditional methods or companies, at least not in the next few years. Instead Fabbing industry provides more opportunities for traditional mass production giants." (http://blog.ossoil.com/2012/02/01/fabbing-industry-laying-the-foundation/)

Benefits of Fabbing

Jarkko Moilanen :

"It enables faster prototyping. 3D printing can reduce development process significantly. It will also give more opportunities since it enables easier and faster prototyping. This means that designers can produce 2-3 options for each component if needed and all this takes same amount of time as it does with one option with traditional methods. Fabbing industry will not take over the old mass production methodology. It is not suitable for it. Fabbing is excellent for under dozen unit production.

Another window, which is enabled by fabbing industry is personalization. So far people have been able to personalize apps and interfaces in software. Now we can make almost everything unique in physical world. No more just boxy pink smart phones or other dull everyday consumer product layouts :)

Yet another extension which is possible due to fabbing industry is local spare part production. This is vital for such products which are no longer in production and still someone needs spare parts. So far it has been really expensive to get spare parts for that kind of purposes and needs, mostly because the part has been unique and handmade. Hopefully the manufacturers don’t see this opportunity as a threat, but rather as a chance to improve customer satisfaction. How? Simply by providing services through which ‘original’ spare parts can be 3D printed." (http://blog.ossoil.com/2012/02/01/fabbing-industry-laying-the-foundation/)

Fabbing Industry Ecosystem Partners

Jarkko Moilanen :

"Let’s take a closer look at the ecosystem participants.

Hardware providers

Hardware providers include 3D printer manufacturers.Obviously we would welcome all 3D printing methods to be represented in the fabbing foundation: melting or softening material to produce the layers related, e.g. selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM), liquid materials based that are cured with different technologies, i.e. stereolithography (SLA) and laminated object manufacturing (LOM) in which thin layers are cut to shape and joined together (i.e. paper, polymer, metal).

This would also include other ’3D’ oriented manufacturing device vendors such as CNC machine and laser cutter industry. Reason to include so called ‘old skool’ methods is practical. 3D printing is not the most efficient or even practical method in all cases. In some cases CNC production would make more sense. Yet all the above use 3D models and therefore it would make sense to work together. Ideally this would result to situation where industry designer can model by model choose from 3D design application which kind of rapid production method should be used. Selection would range from different 3D printers to laser cutters.

Software providers

Manufacturing always includes modelling. Items that will be produces by industry (car parts, tools, engines, etc) are commonly modeled with some sort of CAD applications. In some cases applications might not be manufacturing industry-driven such as CAD, but more like general modelling tools such as Blender, 3DS Max etc. All of these software providers would be part of this ecosystem. Inviting them as partners will possibly lead to situation where we have ‘Print 3D’ button in different applications. Furthermore, those applications would be compatible with multiple different 3D printers, CNC machines and laser cutters. Integration and service providers

Integration and service providers (ISP) are companies which create systems out the products based on the work in this ecosystem. Those systems are used by smaller for example manufacturing companies (industry) for whom setting up own ’3D printer farms’ or ‘fabbing farms’ with different ‘output’ devices are not cost effective. ISPs also help manufacturing industry to adapt to changes in development and production, which are caused by this transition in manufacturing.

FOSS community

Since the joint efforts in this ecosystem are Open Source, it would naturally contain FOSS community. Reader must understand that community is not something that is ‘an island’, instead it is all around the ecosystem. This is because community members (developers and others) contribute to different parts: hardware, processes, documentation, activities, software among other things. The community must be given equal opportunity to participate in decision making when ever possible. Inviting FOSS community would result to large amount of ‘free’ force in multiple areas such as testing, coding, identifying features, hardware development, feedback and marketing. Examples of successful FOSS community engagement can easily be found in traditional software industry.

Industry consumers

This partner contains all those companies which need prototyping, CNC based part manufacturing, 3D printing and alike services. Examples of these companies and specialists could be car manufacturers, tool developing companies, architects, designers, mining equipment manufacturers…well practically every company which normally creates masses of different equipment. More concrete examples of these would be for example Sandvik and Cargotec. These giants can still mass produce devices in traditional methods. They can use fabbing industry in prototyping and also in spare part production. Of course the latter requires that such companies establish local ‘printing farms’ around the most obvious larger clients or areas such as mining sites and big cities. That is possible only if we have common printer management." (http://blog.ossoil.com/2012/02/01/fabbing-industry-laying-the-foundation/)


Proposal for a Fabbing Foundation

Jarkko Moilanen :

"Acts as liaison between ecosystem partners, takes actively part in ecosystem service and community maintenance and development, enforces partners’ rights and is an umbrella for the joint efforts. In brief protects and supports Fabbing related development. Foundation staff are not supposed to take anyone’s side or stand. They are neutral party and if needed act as ‘peacemaker’ between rivaling parties. Foundation is also a neutral spokesperson for Fabbing industry. Goals & benefits

Working together in the spirit of Open Source towards shared goals in this area would benefit all participants. Keep in mind that using Open Source as driving force does not equal revealing or opening everything.

Here’s some key benefits that can easily be identified:

1. Shared code base for printer management – job and spooling

2. Shared drivers for different devices – can be developed by some but will be shared for all to use (bundled to printer management software).

3. More testing force for components – given enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow

4. 3D modelling applications could the integrated to 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters and other ’3D output devices’ more easily and thus make development more efficient.

5. Partners can if they will define at least de facto stardards to be used in this industry

6. Define public and unified APIs for integrating hardware and software to other systems such as production.

7. Ecosystems partners can form strategic partnerships more easily when working together networks different participants.

8. Enable adaptation to future component development and production methods." (http://blog.ossoil.com/2012/02/01/fabbing-industry-laying-the-foundation/)

More Information

  1. Fabbing
  2. See for more extensive treatment: Personal Fabricators