The term personal manufacturing encapsulates the shift from industrially mass produced consumer goods, distributed from factory to users via retailers, to the emergence of goods produced by the end user for self consumption and satisfaction. Personal manufacturing takes advantage of digital technologies to both distribute and produce goods by digitally encoding them as files that are easily shared and precisely reproduced through sophisticated computer aided manufacturing devices like CNC mills, laser cutters, circuit board plotters, and additive manufacturing machines, commonly referred to as 3D printers or rapid prototypers.
The inherent free distribution of these goods promotes the collaborative development that drives open source hardware philosophy for peer production. Complex goods designed through this philosophy make use of widely available of-the-shelf components to be assembled into an end product. This has given a platform for standardized electronic components, like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, and online 3D model repositories, like Thingiverse and the NIH 3D print exchange, to gain popularity.
Over the last three years, I've led and contributed to multiple personal manufacturing projects over a wide range of applications built on top of easily source-able electronic and mechanical components, and cheap plastic materials. The following are some examples of these projects. Click on the images to learn more.