Crowd manufacturing?

Does a platform already exist that lets communities of makers build open source kit and offer them up for sale, and lets buyers pre-order kit that makers can then make? If not, should we build one?

One of the things that inspired the prizes for this and next week’s livestreams was that, as I started procuring the bits for an OpenFlexure Microscope, I realised that I’ll be buying way more of certain components than I need due to minimum order numbers - so why not give some away?

I also spent a decidedly sizeable portion of Monday just finding vendors for all the bits I needed. Despite delays and customs charges, the [Pioreactor]( procurement process was 100x easier.

Could we have pooled procurement & stock control that lets us buy in bulk, then crowd sourced manufacturing that lets (for example) people who just want to print bits, print them, people who want to assemble, assemble, etc.

Could we then sell bags of bits at relatively low markup, part-assembled units with a moderate markup and fully assembled plug-in and play units with a fairly decent markup, and perhaps premium charges for expedited manufacture and/or expert QC guarantees?

I'm concerned that procurement, construction and even software setup may be too big a barrier to entry for some & I'd like to minimise any hurdles that get in the way of people with an interest in open protein from safely starting practical research.

Crowd Supply and GroupGets come to mind.

That said, maybe there’s a niche for an open science version of this group buy idea? Or a more decentralized version that’s country-specific, so that anyone can start up a local platform, buy from local vendors and distribute kits locally?

Also, while GroupGets lets makers split an order of 1000 widgets, and Crowd Supply is like a novel hardware Kickstarter with extra vetting, neither actually allow the crowd to manufacture.

Imagine you would like to build & sell 3 OpenFlexure microscopes per year. Where would you sell them?


@“Martin”#p25 There are a couple of maker marketplaces like Tindie and Lectronz. However, they don’t have pooled procurement.

I like the idea of crowdsourcing the actual manufacturing part! 3D Hubs (now known just Hubs) used to allow anyone to register their 3D printer and print parts for others at a fee. Not sure why they stopped doing that.

Yea, I think

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    pooled procurement,

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    something like Hubs so you can commission someone to build you a whole [OFM](,

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    the ability to commission a team to build you 200 OFMs

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    the ability for a maker to build 1 or two extra OFM's and offer them up for sale

  • Would all be a huge help. I'm hoping that GOSH's Open Science Shop may be able to do something like this, so [I've posted there too](

    And I’ve just found this article by GOSH’s Open Science Shop, haven’t read it all yet, but I have high hopes…