I'd like to introduce my new friend Charlie. He has been working with SketchUp and digital fabrication in school and has come up with a pretty interesting project and design competition. Rather than paraphrase, I thought it would be great to let Charlie share his project here:
I’m working on my architecture graduate thesis over at Ball State University on the subject of open source design and sharing. What I love about it is how digital fabrication and open source knowledge sharing gives production power to the people, and enables every single person who has access to a computer the power to design and build their world. My first big project that is drawing from that maker mentality and searching for designers and hackers to create something to attach to the Grid Wall in a competition!
The idea for the Grid Wall, pictured above, comes from historic home DIY craft projects such as adding built-in cabinets, shelves, or seating into the walls. Most homes today don’t have the thickness necessary to be able to dig into the wall, and there are many people living in rented spaces that can’t do any permanent construction. The Grid Wall gives you that thickness that allows you to configure the spaces in your home to make them more personal and livable. As Christopher Alexander has stated in A Pattern Language, the area in a home where the furniture, possessions, and activities take place are 2-3 feet away from the walls.
Notice the plywood pegs that keep the pieces firmly together inside the wall. The wood is slotted every 4 inches to make the heights configurable to different situations. The whole system only takes about 30 an hour to dissemble and reassemble in a different locations, and it can be flat-packed to easily move from one location to another.
The Grid Wall also makes a DIY craft project of this scale easy, because all you need is a CNC mill from a Hacker Space and a hammer. All of the pieces fit together without any screws or glues; they are pinned with plywood cut pegs that come with the cut sheet.
Here are a few examples of “components” that attach to the wall; all of which are made on a CNC mill. You can see a chair component, table top, overhanging shelf and bookshelves. Most of the components are attached with ¼” nuts and bolts. This whole configuration would be great for a workspace along the wall of a larger room, like an office or living room.
What would you design for the Grid Wall? Sleeping areas? Workspaces in a garage? Kitchen counter with cabinets? Entertainment system? The beauty of open source design is that people bring their own culture and talents to a project. Eventually, there is a diverse ecosystem of designs that are available for anyone to download for free and adapt or build. All of the design submitted will be free to download from OSBuilt.org.
Check out the Sketchup models, competition rules and submissions here. Some of the winning entries will be built in April for a university presentation at Ball State University, and there will be a thesis book written about the projects. I’m also continuing to buy plywood and make prototypes, so if you’d like to support the development of the project, Go Fund Me here! Leave some feedback and start hacking!