The OpenStructures blog.

We like >

on 2015-01-19 08:47


'Seeing totally unrelated objects perfectly nestle inside of each other provides a certain kind of peace in an otherwise chaotic world.'

We couldn't agree more.

We like > Wooden railways

on 2015-01-14 09:03

Wooden railsets, different brands, all compatible!

from Wikipedia:

'A wide range of wooden trainsets, wooden trains and railway track & accessories are compatible with each other and with the best-known brands, such as Brio.'
'The most famous and one of the oldest manufactures of wooden trains is BRIO of Sweden. When they settled on a wooden track design that incorporates groves in the wood at a particular depth, width and distance apart, those dimensions became the industry standard. This industry standard, which also includes the jigsaw puzzle style connections, is technically called the Vario-System.'

'The Vario-System allows track pieces to be assembled easily in any combination as varying lengths and shapes of track can be fit together to make simple or complex layouts. Compatible accessories, such as bridges, tunnels, and buildings, all use the Vario-System allowing them to be incorporated into the layout.'

'Now many new manufactures such as Maxim, Whittle, Safari, and Maple Landmark, provide affordable and exciting trains, track, and accessories that are Vario-system compatible making them interchangeable with Thomas and BRIO.'

We like > Hacking households

on 2014-11-14 07:20


'What if everyday objects were produced the way open source software is developed?'
'Realized for the BIO 50 Biennial of Design in Slovenia, Hacking Households is a collaborative research in developing an ecosystem of evolving objects that are designed, developed, and produced democratically within open communities.'

A project by Leonardo Amico, Thibault Brevet, Coralie Gourguechon, Jesse Howard, Jure Martinec, Nataša Muševič and Tilen Sepič

We like > Engine blocks :: BIO 50

on 2014-10-14 11:30
Posted in: What we like ... .

'Vehicles have become increasingly specialized and unique, yet their mechanical essence remains largely the same. Could the future of transportation lie in a sustainable, modular mechanical solution where the main element – an engine – is adaptable in and to a variety of local contexts?

With this in mind, the team created an engine that can be removed and interchanged between different vehicles. Developed with Slovenian motorcycle company Tomos, the engine could be hacked onto a range of existing modes of transport and tools, used on one after another as the user searches the landscape.
It's a manifest that states that humans will always find ways to deal with industrial goods and waste, that planned obsolescence or design made to be not hackable or hard to understand is a danger for the system of object and the creativity of makers.'
A project by
Ricardo Carneiro, Gaspard Tiné-Berès, Tristan Kopp and Antoine Monnet.

We like > Dowel blocks

on 2014-01-13 01:55
Posted in: What we like ... .

Dowel blocks joined by doweling to create multiple shapes, fun polyester decorative plywood blocks can be joined with doweling to form various shapes – the only limit is your imagination. Holes on five sides allows the blocks to be connected three-dimensionally in an infinite number of ways."
A Ichiro design / Torafu-Architects project

We like > The flat-pack truck

on 2013-05-21 00:27
Posted in: What we like ... .


'British engineers have designed an Ikea-inspired flat-pack truck which will be shipped to developing countries to help people in remote villages transport essential supplies. British manufacturers will make the parts that will be gathered together at two locations, one in the Midlands and one in the south of England. The boxy, Lego-like truck will be shipped in pieces, stacked six to a container which could normally only carry two fully assembled vehicles."
"Our aim is to give people in the developing world an affordable means of doing for themselves what they rely on outsiders for--fetching water, distributing seed and fertiliser, carrying people and produce to market and providing access to medical help." Sir Torquil Norman

Global Vehicle Trust (GVT) has created a prototype truck to bring cheap and reliable transportation to the developing world. The aim was simple - GVT wanted to create a reliable, cost-effective, work-horse for people in the world’s most remote places. After considerable design work the 2.2 liter, diesel driven OX was born. Weighing in at 1,500kg the OX “will seat 13 people, carry eight 44 gallon oil drums” or deliver a 2,000kg payload, which ever you choose.

But to truly make the OX widely accessible, GVT took a page from modern furniture manufactures and turned the OX into a flat package for easy shipping and assembly on site. Once packed, six OXs can fit inside a single shipping container.

We like > N55 XYZ cargo bikes!

on 2013-05-03 22:10


'XYZ SPACEFRAME VEHICLES enables persons to build their own vehicles for transporting persons or goods. XYZ SPACEFRAME VEHICLES is based on a low cost, light weight, highly durable construction requiring only simple hand-held, non specialized tools to produce. With XYZ SPACEFRAME VEHICLES, N55 offers a new alternative to mass produced traditional cycle products, often made from low grade materials and not made to last or being repaired.'
N55 in collaboration with Till Wolfer and Jesper Rølund

We like > Transparant Kitchen Tools by Jesse Howard

on 2012-11-11 10:48

This family of household appliances presents a near-future scenario in which users are actively involved in producing, repairing, and modifying their own products. Each appliance is constructed from 3D-printed and CNC manufactured components based on the OpenStructures design principles, standard components, and parts salvaged from existing discarded appliances.

For each appliance, a single page manual provides building instructions as well as links to download the OS compatible 3D printed and CNC milled components and sources for finding salvageable parts. In combination with the set of tools available at Fab Labs though out the world, the manuals allow the appliances to be reproduced by nearly anyone, from nearly anywhere.

The 'Transparent Kitchen Tools' project was the graduation project of Jesse Howard 
at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam (july 2012).

We like > Elemental Chile

on 2012-06-12 10:29

Open architecture!
Just brilliant ...

We like > Contraptor / Contrapteur

on 2012-04-04 15:48

Contraptor is a DIY open source construction set for experimental personal fabrication, desktop manufacturing, prototyping and bootstrapping. Various сartesian robots can be assembled from Contraptor and used as a prototyping platform for projects such as XY plotter, mini CNC machine, 3D printer etc.
Contraptor uses several developments of the Reprap project - specifically, Stepper Motor Driver
boards v1.x and Arduino GCode Interpreter.

The Contraptor site gives detailed instructions on how to make each Contraptor part using widely available raw materials and simple hand tools to drill the standardized holes.

The main project site is here:
See also:

The contraptor project is inch based. However, a European Contraptor enthousiast has converted the Contraptor grid (inch based) to a cm based grid for his creation and applied the OS grid in doing so. The conversion was baptized Contrapteur (French for Contraptor:)