about the project

Open Workshop is a new way to create machinery at home using 3D printed parts and readily available materials from places such as B&Q. It allows expensive machinery to be created inexpensively, meaning that a wider range of people can access machines that otherwise would have been difficult or expensive to access.

The connectors shown offer a basis for many machines that can be printed worldwide if you have access to a 3D printer, or brought from us if you don't. Hopefully the parts and mechanisms provided will inspire the creation of workshops and maker spaces around the world. This network of designers will then be able to upload their new designs for parts and machines.

the rules

- It must use a drill as its main power supply.

- It must use 3D printed connectors and readily available parts from a hardware store.

- Must be simple to assemble and require little knowledge of woodwork and assembly to make them.

- Must be able to be made using only simple tools such as a drill and a saw.

The open design movement

Over the past few years the open design movement has grown, offering many different products and services anywhere people have access to a workshop. They are more sustainable because it is easier to share the idea, and it be created there, rather than the finished product being shipped.

A lot of them require specialist machinery, but not everybody has access to this equipment. So why can’t you use the same distributed design method to create the tools to make more open design projects? This would make specialist craft items easier to access by the public for personal use or for workshops.

Most of the open design projects follow a very simple style, laying it out very visually and not having the website detract from the parts and product itself. So we have used that style to be part of the open design family.

how my project fits into the open design family

As previously stated we wanted Open Workshop to fill the gap between open design projects. The diagram to the right shows how Open Workshop fits in.

1. Open Workshop will allow machinery to be easily made allowing a wider range of people to host workshops on Open Workshop Network.

2. If people go to the workshops hosted on Open Workshop Network and enjoy the activity, they can create a low cost alternative at home.

3. People that go to workshops hosted with Open Workshop Network and become interested in making can go to sites such as Open Structures and create things for their home and community.

4. Open designed pieces of furniture and exhibition spaces can be used to furnish and help put on Open Workshop Events.

5. The Open design style can be used to furnish and help build workshops to host Open Workshop machinery.

6. The tools made with Open Workshop can help create the more complicated parts on websites such as Open Structures, as well as allowing a wider range of people to design parts for them because they now have access to machines they wouldn't normally have access to.

Learning a hobby without open workshop


- Allows a wider range of people access to otherwise expensive machines to increase creativity and the size of the maker community.

- Gives a platform for people to share their designs building a wider sense of community and bringing people together from all round the world.

- Drills are widely accessible.

- You should only be held back by your own creativity!

Learning A Hobby with Open workshop


- Uses standardised wood lengths that can be accessed anywhere.

- Parts can be unscrewed and reused in different machines rather than the whole thing being discarded.

- More sustainable to ship the design than the machine itself.

- People are able to try machinery before they buy the expensive version so machines are just being made for no reason.


- Low cost machines for everyone.

- Saves the user money not having to buy an expensive machine.

- Allows people to start businesses they otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford to set up.

supply chain

1. The timber is cut down from forests in northern Europe by a company called Metsa Wood and is shipped to the UK where it is distributed by B&Q round the UK. Metsa Wood trees are 100 percent traceable and are grown from seed to tree specifically to be cut down so they aren't destroying natural areas. (This can change depending where the person makes an Open Workshop machine).

2. The PLA is made from cornstarch and shipped the the users home or nearest maker space.

3. The 3D printed parts are printed locally to the user being no shipping has been done reducing the environmental impact. The timber is also cut to length by hand by the user.

4. The machine is assembled by the user.

5. Product life allows for specialist machinery to be made cheaply and start business that otherwise couldn't have been started.

6. A wood length breaks so it can just be unscrewed and a new one cut and put in place.

7. A 3D printed part breaks so a new one can be printed and replaced.

8. The users get bored of the machine they are using so they can disassemble it and create a new machine using the same connectors and wood lengths.

9. The user doesn't want to create a new machine or the parts and wood are completely broken, so it is taken apart and disposed of.

10. Some of the PLA can be melted down and reused to make more 3D printing plastic.The rest of the PLA is able to biodegrade along with the wood.

11. The wood can even be burnt for energy or reused for something else.