This is a collection of thoughts gathered from visiting FabLab's across the globe. One of my main reserach goals is to develop methods for global collaboration with digital fabrication:
Its all about the documentation:
In order for people to build further upon the work that you create, they need to access it. So share your CAD files, machine settings, photos, screenshots and which materials you use.
Think about how people perceive the knowledge that you share. What is the first thing people see when they open your CAD file? In which sequence does your photos tell the clearest story? Which information is superfluous? Too much information means no information.
Be prepared to accept the unexpected:
The golden rule of improv theatre is too accept whatever happens on stage. Otherwise the flow will get blocked when plot expectations don’t come through. Collaborative projects work the best when you open up for unexpected outcomes. If you have a very specific goal with a specific methodology, you will probably be better of paying people to execute your plans with you.
Finish your projects:
If you would like people to build further upon your work, it helps a lot if bring your work up to a specific goal and finish your documentation. Unfinished projects have a hard time being adopted in society.
Be like a sponge:
Before you start something from scratch, check if you can build on top of the work of others instead. The more inspiration and knowledge sources you absorb, they better creations you can expel. Embrace your sources and be generous with your credits.
Nobody likes a grumpy face, and play is the best way to learn. Don’t be afraid to try out or propose silly ideas, it might lead to something spectacular. When you fail, document your failure so other people can learn from it too. Things that go wrong is comical, and humour brings about the best atmosphere.
More info about my research into personal manufactring, global collaboration and open design here.