Right now, our friends Anne Filson and Gary Rohrbacher (AtFAB), are undertaking a Kickstarter campaign (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/filson-rohrbacher/furniture-fabbed-locally) that will grow and promote small-shop digital fabrication. Anne and Gary are longtime users and promoters of 100kGarages. More importantly, they are evangelists for distributed manufacturing – for using power of digital fabrication to get production back into communities, to make stuff close to where it is going to be used. Anne and Gary believe the time is right to start reaching out to the world and communicating about the way technology now empowers a new way of making things that can be environmentally friendly, that can support people doing appealing work, and that can put good production work into our communities. It is our opportunity. Consider supporting their project – not just with funding, but by spreading the word, talking it up, telling your friends, explaining to people how it is going to work.
Think about it too. Re-establishing small-shop production faces many challenges. Our digital fabrication technology increasingly makes it possible for small shops to compete. High quality products can be made. Small and custom batches can be practical. Small shops can have the advantage of agility and low overhead. Capital investment is relatively low; thus business is not driven by investors.
But it is not like magic. There are a lot of things we need to figure out – and we have the challenge of how to make it work well enough to support the design and making of products and while providing exhilaration to customers. Anne and Gary are grappling with these challenges – assuring quality in distributed production; creating pricing margins that really support the work; all the while making attractive and competitive products. Have a look at what they have done, how they are taking these challenges on. Talk and communicate about it. Ask questions. Help us all figure out how to make this important revolution in how we make things, happen.