With the expansion of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling technology, designers are facing another challenge: defining the new characteristic and visual language of a CNC manufactured product.

However, there is more to this. Designing for digital manufacturing means that a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file represents the design. This new approach to product production reveals a new field of possibilities. You can now download a design from an “open making platform” like Opendesk or SketchUp and simply send it to a maker via email or make it yourself. We call this open-source designs.

A design labelled as open-source can be freely downloaded by anyone anywhere in the world and made locally by anyone having access to a CNC machine. More appealing, it can be hacked/transformed to be adapted to one’s needs or creative vision. The use of CAD facilitates the customisation of designs, adaptation of dimensions to fit a specific space and the ability to add bespoke features.

Designs available on Opendesk have to be manufactured using a 3 axes CNC machine. This tool allows you to quickly produce quality products.

However, the straightforwardness and apparent simplicity of the process should not be associated with a quick design process. There are few things to consider when designing for CNC manufacturing such as a responsible use of the material, a universality of production or a high quality file for makers.

These are some of the matters we will tackle in the following articles.

You can also refer to the Manifesto for more insights on open-making values and statements!