Open Design

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= Open design is the application of Open Source methods to the creation of physical products, machines and systems.


By the Open Hardware Foundation:

"Open Design hardware is hardware in which enough detailed documentation is provided that a functionally compatible device could be created by a third party. It is not at all uncommon for the programmer's guides for a microcontroller to have complete instruction encoding formats, memory maps, block diagrams of the processor core, and other technical details that would make it possible to reproduce a compatible microcontroller. Open Design hardware allows you to see what was implemented and what it should do, but still keeps the finer details of how it was implemented closed." (

By designer Ronen Kadushin:

"The idea is to find a new logical method how design could be working, using open source software as a working model. His designs are two dimensional "cutout" represented as digital information. It relies on the internet's communication resources, to publish, distribute, and copy the designs under a CreativeCommons deed. Coupled with the flexibility of CNC production methods and their broad availability due to new enablers like, all technically conforming designs are continuously available for production, in any number, with no tooling investment, anywhere and by anyone." (


From the Wikipedia article at

"Open Design is a term that applies to the investigation and potential of open source and the collaborative nature of the internet to create physical objects. People apply their skills and time to projects for the common good, perhaps where funding or commercial interest is lacking.

The Open Design Movement is currently fairly nascent but holds great potential for the future in developing products and physical systems. There are certain barriers to overcome for open design when compared to software development where there are mature and widely used tools available and the duplication and distribution of code cost next to nothing. Creating, testing and modifying physical designs is not quite so straightforward because of the effort and time required to create the physical artifact."


  1. Global Village Construction Set
  2. Open Micromanufacturing and Nanomanufacturing Equipment
  3. Whirlwind Wheelchair
  4. Instructables
  5. Design Break
  6. Open Design
  7. Open Source Velomobile
  8. The OSCar] open source car project
  9. OSGV
  10. Ronja
  11. Design 21
  12. Anansi Spaceworks is applying the principles of open source to the colonisation of space.

More Information

The Open Design FAQ is at

Open collaborative design page at

For related concepts, see Open Hardware, Open Source Hardware, Open Cores, Open P2P Communities, Open Peer to Peer Design.


The Open Design Foundation is at

Open Design organisations: ThinkCycle, DesignBreak, Open Design Alliance


Massimo Menichinelli's Italian Master's thesis is translated serially on the Open P2P Design blog.

Episodes of Collective Invention, by Peter B. Meyer, August 2003: An article on several historical examples of what could be called "open design.


The Open Design tag at Delicious, maintained by Sam Rose, at