Open Manufacturing Value Stream

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Graphic by Reto Stauss at

Commentary at


"I roughly outlined the participants and their connections in this kind of economy.

  • user: chooses from offerings from local producers like SMBs or fab labs. If a product does not fit his needs, he may suggest improvements. Or he finds an appropriate open design and gets it produced from a local manufacturer. He is connected with the manufacturer on equal footing.
  • diy'er: gets an open design and produces the product for his own need. Gets semi-produced products from local manufacturers (like boards, glas plates, metal profiles, sheets or tubes, screws, nails, ...). May do it in workshops and may also be a tinkerer or be part of a developer community.
  • SMB: small collectives produces (semi-finished) products based on the needs of the region. May use fab labs or open workshops. May loosely couple with other manufacturers to offer products they could not produce on their own. E.g. a plumber and a carpenter build solar collectors.
  • fab labs / open workshops: open production facilities equipped with a wide range of production means. May be used from diy'er, SMB or production communities. May have designers "in residence" which offer design services for users.

production communities: intentional or temporary communities producing for their own need or demand of their region. May also refine existing or develop new designs. For instance OSE.

  • tinkerer: develops on his own innovative solutions for specific problems. May publish his designs to get appreciation (rather than trying to make money by patenting it what most often fails).
  • designer / engineer: open design will be be free as FOSS. This is not bad news for designers when you look at software (kind of design of virtual products): nearly no open source software developer makes directly money from his contributions but the motivation is based on benefits in a wider sense. And more and more crowd-funded projects emerge (for instance see Kickstarter and similar platforms).
  • design communities: For instance"