A few weeks ago, I released the VRHackspace video, outlining the idea for a completely virtual reality hackerspace, where people could hangout and collaborate on projects.
One of the key aspects to this is the idea of creating a global factory made up of various machines, such as 3D printers, mills, laser cutters and more, meaning ideas born in the space can be brought into the physical world, regardless of whether you own the necessary machinery yourself.
This video is to announce the development of Machine Share, a platform that aims to fill that role.
WHAT IS IT?
Machine Share will connect those who have machines, with those who need to use them for their projects and prototypes. The concept is to eliminate the need for expensive services, and let makers, hackers and tinkerers interact directly to realize their ideas.
People could work together locally or remotely, it's all up to the machine owners preferences.
WHO IS IT FOR?
This is for people who like to make stuff, but don't have the money or access to the specialized tools to create their ideas. It provides an alternative to using professional services that usually are expensive, or have limits for one-off prototypes and short runs.
On the other side of that there are the machine owners, who will be able to help other makers, and earn extra money from their equipment when it's not being used by them.
I'm talking about machines that help makers create ideas and prototypes, so that'd include all the various types of 3D printers, CNC routers and mills, large format printers, screen printing machines, laser cutters and engravers, pick and place machines for circuit design and probably more specialized machines that few people own.
Stage 1. Create a simple directory site kinda like Craigslist where people with machines available can advertise. Then those who need to use them can contact the owners directly and work out project, payment and delivery details between themselves.
Stage 2. A slightly more complex system where project file uploads, bitcoin payments, and ratings etc are handled by the system itself. Maybe a bidding system could also be introduced.
Stage 3. The longer term plan will be to distribute the project, so that payments, escrow, ratings and user interactions are handled automatically, in a P2P way.
This would be one of the layers that will plug into the VRHackspace, along with other virtual collaborative tools, so designs could be viewed and modified in 3D space, and sent directly to this network of machines.
I recently set up http://MachineShare.org to register peoples interest. You can also follow the project on twitter @MachineShare
Please share this video if you know anyone who may be interested. If you've got any ideas or feedback, leave them below or on twitter. If you want to help with this open source project, get in touch too. Thanks for watching.