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Author: Subject: Open Source product development process - collaborative(s)
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[*] posted on 15-12-2016 at 18:49
Open Source product development process - collaborative(s)

I've come across many projects across many forums where people are trying to work on various tasks with the goal of creating a better product that people can openly copy themselves (or buy parts/kits to assemble). A recent thread on this forum about making a hotplate stirrer is a good example (

The problem with these projects is reaching the people who are interested and able to contribute to these projects. The thing is that there may be 100 people interested in this project (or in parts that make up the project) spread across 100 different sites with no centralized project management site for these potential contributors to see where they might help.

I know there are sites like GitHub and sourceforge which specialize in coding project but I am unaware of such a site for physical projects - if anyone knows of something such as this I think the community would be interested.

Physical Projects
In the thread I mentioned, there are probably 8-10 components which are necessary to accomplish the described task and if these could be broken down into 8-10 sub projects, that could open the door to a lot of contributors who would help as they might have a use for that component other than the final goal of the hot plate.

I think it would be great if those interested could brainstorm to figure the best way to breakdown larger projects into components and then how to label/describe the component projects and their potential applications.

Just like when a programmer uses a coding library to piece together a larger application, the same could be done for physical projects.

What needs to be done is finding people who would be willing, and competent, to work on individual projects and informing them of this goal. Once a group (larger the better - to a degree of course) is established (email mailing list would be adequate to start) then discussion could commence to decide how to structure a site and how the organization should/could best function.

As with most things, there are financial considerations when trying to perfect a component and it may be possible to use something like Kickstarter (or similar - or site/organization proprietary donation program) to fund certain projects and possibly reward some contributors who make large breakthroughs that are time consuming or "overly" intellectually challenging - basically payment or reward for successfully meeting stated project criteria.

When browsing other forums or blogs I try to keep track of people who seem to have the "invent/tinker" bug and make inspired creations. Should others find this idea worthwhile I would contact them to see if they have interest in the endeavor.

One issue with many of these projects is fabrication and the limited machinery many of plebs have access to. This network may be able to help with this as we could find others willing to help prototype some parts if they have access to equipment. Another possible avenue for everyone here is looking into your local maker-space and or hackerspaces (and similar organizations with different names).

I know I have many projects I would like to work on and could probably complete 20-70% of it but the remainders are out of my hands / over my head.

Chemistry research
This same thing could be applies to the chemistry world as it has been, in a small degree with this sub-forum - making your own equipment. It would be very interesting to have articles on synthesis procedures for various compounds in a searchable manner such as if one wanted to produce CO - then a list of different methods on how this could be done, with ratings on skill/difficulty, equipment needed, yeilds, danger level. Another interesting idea would be listing compounds that can be made from a starting material - say urea and also where urea is used in the process of other materials (this includes decomposition of materials) - forgive me if I don't know the proper terminology to describe all the processes a compound can go through to transform into another substance.

While Wiki is a fair source for seeing the potential uses for many compounds, there seems to be a lot lacking (the finer details such as difficulty, hazards, equipment necessary - possibly making it impossible for most people.. etc). A project as described above could be continual expanded over the years by people around the globe - hopefully by university/college students (and professionals of course) as a way to learn while contributing to a database of practiced and proven procedures.

I'm curious of opinions on any aspect mentioned above.
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[*] posted on 16-12-2016 at 09:23

Here is a site with instructions for open source physical projects

I've been browsing the instructables site for some time and I finally made a contribution -

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