Open Manufacturing

Open Manufacturing is about bringing free and open source software development methodology and philosophy to the design and construction of the physical world. - The Open Manufacturing Network

Why is this h+ related? Because open manufacturing technologies can enable production and development of transhumanist technologies.

Digital Fabrication

We've had an industrial revolution. We've had a digital revolution. Now let's have a digital industrial revolution. - Neil Gershenfeld

Digital fabrication is using computer-controlled machines to turn digital designs into physical objects.

Manufacturing Technologies

3D Printing


Molecular Manufacturing

Molecular Manufacturing is the construction of nanoscale or macroscale products with atomic precision, although not necessarily atom by atom. Currently molecular manufacturing is in the realm of some laboratory curiosities, and production of anything larger than a few microns and more complex than the simplest bacterium is decades away. Methods based on scanning probes can't currently manipulate more than 10-100 atoms in a short timeframe, although DNA Origami can indirectly shape thousands of atoms into simple 3D structures.

The goal of molecular manufacturing is the construction of a nanofactory: Ideally, a self-replicating machine that is fed a variety of elements in some simple molecules and produces a wide range of products made of multiple materials and machines. There are three paths to this: Biology, scanning probe chemistry and epitaxy. The first is tried and tested, but we don't yet know how to, say, build our own customized ribosomes that build digitally-designed structures. The last two are still in an early stage: Mechanosynthesis is scientifically feasible but is outside of the industry's mainstream and is unlikely to develop soon, epitaxy has more experimental evidence and Zyvex has been working on it under a contract from DARPA.


Patterned Atomic Layer Epitaxy (PALE) consists of using a Scanning Tunneling Microscope on a Hydrogen-terminated Silicon surface to remove individual Hydroge atoms. A variety of cases can be injected into the chamber, where they deposit on the depassivated area of the surface. Silylene (SiH2), in particular, will deposit and add a new layer to the crystal on the depassivated site.

Vertical growth is simple to achieve, but 3D, moving objects can be built using the same method: Grow a bed of Germanium, then grow the Silicon structures on top, and etch away the Ge to remove the structures and machines.


Mechanosynthesis is chemical synthesis done by applying mechanical forces and constraints. Ribosmes and atomic force microscopes both do mechanosynthesis of chemical structures through completely different means. Mechanosynthesis is often synonymous with the atom by atom constructiom of crystals and other dry structures, so biological nanomanufacturing has a section of its own.

In mechanosynthesis, an AFM or some kind of nanomanipulator receives instructions from a computer or a record to mechanically move atoms or molecules from a feedstock to a workspace. Contrary to popular criticism, the nanomanipulator is not some kind of magical claw that can grab and drop atoms at will: It is a positionally-controlled, carefully engineered molecule at the end of a crystalline tip that has to be designed specifically for a small set of chemical operations. Different tooltips and mechanical pressures have to be chosen for different feedstock moieties and workspaces and combinations of those.


  • Open Hardware Initiative: Lobbying Open Source Hardware
  • Open Hardware Foundation
  • Open Pattern - Embedded Systems Engineering (OSH) - Paris, France
  • Make Magazine - promotes DIY and OSH culture
  • Adafruit (OSH electronics) - New York USA
  • Oomlout (OSH electronics) - Vancouver BC
  • Liquidware (OSH electronics) - USA
  • Modern Device Company (OSH electronics)- Rhode Island, USA
  • Evil Mad Scientist (OSH electronics)- USA
  • Traversal Technologies - U.K.
  • SparkFun Electronics - Colorado USA (e.g. Lilypad, Arduino pro and PCB design libraries)
  • NORTD (OSH + OSS multitouch) - New York USA and Austria EU















Transatmospheric Vehicles


Nuclear Imaging

  • Room temperature superconductors would allow for cheap, small MRI machines

Medical Equipment


Surgical Robots








  • It is beneficial for producers to offload manufacturing to the consumer
  • See the OSE social contract


So, once we solve the CAD thing, we can complete SKDB. And after SKDB it's just a matter of a few plugins to make TDA happenĀ :)





Roadmap for Additive Fabrication: Identifying the Future of Freeform Processing by [[]],
Sixty-five experts from academia, industry, and government attended the Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing (RAM) Workshop in March 2009 in Washington, DC. Its purpose: to develop a roadmap for research in additive manufacturing for the next 10-12 years. The effort was led by David Bourell of the University of Texas at Austin, Ming Leu of Missouri University of Science and Technology, and David Rosen of Georgia Institute of Technology. These three individuals and those attending the workshop created the roadmap. Sponsors were the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. - Wohlers Associates An impressive work weighing in at over 100 pages it covers the industry as it exists and identifies potential market and research opportunities for the next 5-10 years. - p2p Foundation

Could 3D Printing Change the World? Technologies, Potential, and Implications of Additive Manufacturing by Thomas Campbell, Christopher Williams, Olga Ivanova, Banning Garrett, et al Atlantic Council., 2011

Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques by Lisa Iwamoto, 2011
"If i had to recommend you one book about the use of digital tools in architecture, it would be this one." - Regine Debatty.







In Popular Culture

The Seed in The Diamond Age was a distributed-type molecular assembler.


  • CAD: Computer Aided Design.
  • CNC: Computing Numerical Control.
  • Extrude: In 3D printing, forcing a thermoplastic liquid to an opening onto a workspace. In general, force out a material, sometimes shaping something by forcing the material through a die.
  • G-code: The code that runs Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines.
  • Parametric: A model whose dimensions depend on adjustable parameters.
  • Bed: The workspace plate in a 3D printer or similar where objects are built.
  • ABS: Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a thermoplastic used in 3D printing.
  • RP: Rapid prototyping. Creating a prototype of an object in a few hours using a 3D printer.
  • Stepper: A motor that can only move by discrete amounts.
  • STL: (STereo Lithography). A file format that describes 3D objects by their triangulated surface. Often used as a file format for 3D printers.
  • Vitamin: A component of a 3D printer cannot yet be 3D-printed.
  • Thermoplastic: A polymer that is solid below a specific threshold temperature, and malleable above.


See Also