Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Open Source Off Site Construction

I love the idea of Open Source off-site construction. I have just been reminded about it today from seeing various posts about the site http://wikihouse.cc/. This doesn't seem to contain any real useful information at the moment however...

Similar to the way that software developers build their skills in their free time and add projects to their CVs, this seems a great way for various designers, engineers and other construction proffesionals to get experience, help others and develop professionally. Collaborative building development could start off with someone starting a project idea off, even if it's just a cool Garden shed that is energy self sufficient by creating some basic drawings and a project outline. One or two draughtmen could sign on to do the initial drawings, sketchup might suffice but I think something like Inventor or old school AutoCad would be better for this type of drawing. Others could then check these drawings out from the sites source control, make changes, add other drawings etc...

People could create bills of materials, retailers could sign up to help people source the materials and various other service providers could sign up for things like electrical work, plumbing and groundwork so anyone wishing to implement the project could find help. 

I am sure people are already trying this initiative already but it would be great to have a large centralised site that takes off. Whether it will or not is another question. My only fear of this idea is that you will end up with 90% of people who are just creating barmy drawings in sketchup and 10% of other technical members. It would be great if someone like Autodesk started an initiative, they have their Vault technology which is a form of source control and they could even release a free Autodesk Inventor Lite for budding designers and students... I noticed that the wikihouse is currently using Sketchup drawings and they even have built (or someone has) a plugin that can create CNC drawings from the sketchup model. On another point, did you know that Sketchups Plugin language is Ruby? :-)

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