New "slot machine" workshop sign

Thanks to Axel, we have a new fun sign to greet ODC visitors:


Product outputs of the DMY Maker Lab

10June2010-115 by mattcottam.

I'm presently drafting a monster post trying to tell a story of stories about the Epicness of the DMY Maker Lab. The vibe was so intense with maker energy and fun, that at times I nearly cried with joy.

As well as the emergence of the space (see below), there were a number of product outputs which I will attempt to document as best I can. I apologise in advance for the absence of documentation and accreditation, because I do not know the creators of all objects. However I encourage them to come forward and share their files and processes.

Luis project!  by Kabelfresser.

Luis was building a light frame for the starch plastic lampshades, it subsequently evolved into a futuristic helmet that did the talking for him @ Pecha Kucha DMY.

IMG_1743 by querform.

Laser cut rings were proving a popular hit, I hope we can get some photo's of Zelda's name knuckle dusters

little lasercut lamp out of cardboard by Kabelfresser.

Mendel constructed a laser cut frame for starch plastic lighting, but we decided it was beautiful in it's own right.

11June2010-37 by mattcottam.

I was very pleased with the lightness of this lampshade. It's unfinished beta quality indicates maker process, and invites the user to finish it.

11June2010-40 by mattcottam.

Some laser cut bling

11June2010-24 by mattcottam.

I love this laser cut necklace, will try and get the source files from waag (hopefully it will be entered in the (Un) limited design competition, the same applies to the bag below.

11June2010-21 by mattcottam.

more bioplastic objects by Kabelfresser.11June2010-44 by mattcottam.Photo0332 by Kabelfresser.even more bioplastic stuff by Kabelfresser.

There was a lot of starch plastic (FKA bioplastic) iterations, at the event and more we hope to follow.

Big thanks to everybody who helped make this event rock - especially these guy's, DMY, Etsy and Becks

The DMY Maker Lab was a collaborative emergent event, created by everybody that attended. If you were a part of it, please tell your story.

We will be having a public "Decompression" on Tuesday for those interested to hear and share stories and outcomes from the event, plus exploring where next for the Open Design City

Photo credits:, and

Großbuchstaben made at Open Design City

DMY Maker Lab - A four day festival of making, 9 -13 June, Templehof


What happens when you take 200 square metres of space and the following?

A laser cutter
Some maker bots
A vinyl cutter
CNC router
Screen printing equipment
A loom

Soldering irons and electronics equipment
Wearable electronics hardwear and conductive thread
Bioplastics manufacturing station
Home made vac forming machine
Sewing machines
Embroidery machines

Ideas, inspiration, people of passion, knowledge of production, design and manufacture.


Whatever you want to bring

We're excited to find out. For 4 days we're going to be running a host of activities. Some will be planned as listed here, others will be spontaneous, shaped by what you have to bring to the party. Shaped by random events, engagement and the people within it.

The ripples of energy from this event, have already created the Open Design City ahead of itself. We're very excited to see what will happen when we actually manifest this epic 4 day festival of Making and Open Design (yes we know 9-13 is 5 days but Wednesday is a late start) in a hanger in Templehof in the middle of an International Design event.

We hope you can join us, for what promises to be a hell of a lot of fun.

A big thanks to everyone responsible for helping this Manifest. Especially DMY,, Becks Betahaus, Waag, Palomar 5, and the tentatively named Berlin Beta Collective (you know who you are).

Weekly Hands-On-Session Starting Next Thursday

Weekly Hands-On-Session at ODC.

Every thursday from 2 to 6 p.m, starting 3 june.

$$$: Donation

You are invited to get involved, to work on your projects, to play and experiment, to share your ideas and to meet people from the Berlin maker community.

Bring your tools, your materials, your curiosity and your passion. Make something happen, get something started or get something done.

Use the space, tables, basic tools and materials.

Just come along and have fun.

Open Design City Update

Forgive me for the sin of not blogging nearly enough. Being the advocates of the real world that we are, sometimes makes it a challenge to sit down at a computer and go through the process of documenting all that has happened.

The last 2 weeks have been an bustle of activity and productivity, I'll do my best to summarise for those who couldn't attend. However the best way to know what happened, is and always shall be to have been there. So we hope this inspires you tojoin in come collaborate on our next maker sprints and activities to bring this great cityscape into being.

Making the city, 13th May

A great number of people turned up and contributed constructing the emotional, physical and financial framework of the city.

Palomar5 rocked up, with autonomous spirit requiring no coaxing out of it's box. A tools cupboard was hacked together, complete with wheels, as were a range of movable storage and display solutions.

Others soon got in on the fun making arrows to point to the tools, and hustling up a range of letters to create a beautiful sign that will remain forever in beta.

People began to engage in coming up with workshops they'd like to attend and activities they'd like to participate in. A discussion we hope will continue, and one that will manifest itself in events soon to come.

There was a great energy in the air, one which we hope to recreate regularly in the space, as such activity itself movitates energises and inspires.

DMY Maker Lab preparation weekend, 15-16 May

The DMY Maker Lab is an event we haven't yet told you nearly enough about. It is the event that was intended to spawn the Open Design City in it's wake. But the pre event ripples where enough in this pool of desire for ODC to manifest.

The preparation event was part planning (not too much), and then plenty building and exploring each others processes and ideas to create seed products to allow people to engage with open design at the start of the event.

I will put a link in here soon to tell you all about this - Promise.

We are now meeting every Sunday at ODC from12.30 to continue these developments, bring food to share and come with a spirit to make, share, learn and teach.

Cook your own Wallet workshop, 20th May

In response to an experiment to see if we could stitch bioplastic, demand for bioplastic wallets quickly escalated in Betahaus last week. Rather than go into production we thought we'd give interested parties the opportunity to make their own and raise some donations for ODC. Peter Bihrs write up of the event can be found here.

After materials, 60 Euros was raised from the 7 participants, which we think is a respectable start. Plus 3 participants got to take away their very own, individual, tailor made beta project.

We hope they'll keep reiterating their products, and continue to enjoy the pleasures of personalised manufacturing.

All in a good start. There is much to do, and more to report.

Please join in the discussion on things to make and do @

Emergence of Open Design and Manufacturing

For a cultural plane of reference, for those who wish to familiarise themselves with Open Design, and therefore some of the intrinsic goals and objectives of the city, this article from Michel Bauwens is a great starting point.

"This is not an utopia, but the very necessity for the survival of our planet.
Indeed, we only do two things wrong, and we have to reverse them:
We think that nature is infinite, which is false, and so we practice a pseudo-abundance which destroys the planet. We think that intellectual and cultural goods should be made artificially scarce, thereby crippling the sharing of innovations.   If we can overturn both, i.e. combining a recognition of the real scarcity of physical goods with the real abundance of immaterial goods, we have a new and   sustainable civilization, based on peer to peer principles."

The conclusion below, offers a stark position, but one that I believe is valid, however I believe a world in Beta is the closest we can get to Utopia, as it recognises that all we can ever do is try to improve, there are no absolutes, there is no uniform perfection - in fact such a notion leads to cultural fascism.

Thanks @dominikwind for the link

How to fund the ODC

Last thursday, we gathered to think about longterm funding for the ODC. There were very different perspectives on the matter but one thing quickly became evident: money loves passion. During the discussion, we always tried to remind ourselves of the reasons behind the ODC. The most important aspect we had to focus on was staring us into our faces: the people.

Even during the introduction, it was obvious that ODC wasn't just about space, but about a community. Hence, the open design city didn't just need a space, materials, tools and a website; it also needed its citizens (image: odc needs). It wasn't just a physical space, but a mental one as well. As such, there were different opinions about the different opportunities for space use (and ways to monetize them). It was quite clear, however, that there were many ways to contribute beside money (image: use of space).

To the ODC citizen, it seemed unnatural to start out by forming a legal entity and artificially shaping the space in a meeting. It's the people who shape systems, create rules and guidelines, build communities and create spaces based on experience.  We had lots of that present: people from Betahaus and Palomar5, various artists, tinkerers, researchers... There were already insights from past experiences which could be used as a foundation (image: odc foundation).

That's why everyone agreed to let the ODC develop naturally for the first few months to see what kind of space use, community and legal entity would evolve naturally. While watching one's own activities at ODC, one might also do some research and look at similar "hackerspaces" around the world. At the same time, we realized that the space itself had needs and that the formation of any kind of structure would require a group of people to support the activities of / within the ODC. These poor bastards would probably not have all the fun it would bring to realize projects within ODC. On the other hand, they might just have the best project: to support and improve the ODC.

That would also mean worrying about money (and as we know that pretty often kills creativity). As worrying goes, the elephant in the room was pink and had bold red letters on the left side (i didn't get to see the right side), which read: "how do we get outside money?" (image: odc community)

The betahaus and palomar5 experiences showed that the interplay of various roles within such a setting may open up perspectives to "traditional" organizations which might be happy to pay for this insight. So the rather obvious answer was: doing workshops and consulting others. This funding model reaffirmed the need for administrative roles within ODC (which in turn led to a discussion about hierarchy and a socio-political discourse on existentialsti- oh, just forget about it).

While thinking about "outside" money, we also addressed the issue of "inside" money, which mainly referred to donations. Come to think of it, have you donated yet? (And if you haven't... why haven't you, you cheap bastard? Oh, come on, just fork up a euro or two already. Save the ciggies and give us the money instead.) We identified "making donating more fun and attractive" as one possible future project. We had some ideas on the spot - just add yours as a comment. We'll collect them in the space.

Strange enough, donating seemed a concept that was preferred over membership or fees for use by almost everyone. Presumably, paying to be allowed into the ODC cheapened the experience. To some, the ODC is "a dream come true", wherein there is transparency and exchange about the environment and the processes. Knowledge gained is to be collected, documented and shared. The way to monetize it is to be open about costs and the value that is created. (image: odc monetization)

That being said, we actually really talked juuuust a bit about actual funding models. Of course, we could use crowd funding (kickstarter anyone?), beg on hands and knees for rich sponsors, give workshops, raise member fees, establish a time or space use model, apply for research funding and federal grants or try to monetize the experience by creating a design publishing house. We did not go much into detail about THAT stuff... which is why we need YOU to sign up for the next session. Since it was generally agreed  that ODC should evolve the next two months, we will need to find a model to finance this initial start period. Join us this week to get to the heart of the matter!

Here is a doodle link - just mark time and date that is most convenient.

[gallery order="DESC"]

Cook your own Wallet

So here it is, a little delayed. How to cook your own wallet. A recipe in parts, a process of creation that took a huge holiday right in the middle.

We're presently documenting our process at the moment, it's like tracing back events through history to identify the butterfly that caused the hurricane. However, to give you the heavily abridged version.

Jay and Chris and Mendel play with Bioplastic at an Open Design Maker Event @ Betahaus which also produced, and and ultimately the DMY Maker Lab (link to follow) and (it's amazing what you can make with a bit of concentrated chaotic energy, passion and a good time).

Chris produces some lovely sheet using the following recipe.

7 Cups Water (in this instance it's a cheap disposable plastic cup)
1 Cup 10% Acidity Vinegar
1.5 Cups Starch
1/2 Cup Glycerine
1 Sachet Gelatine

Heat in a saucepan, stirring until whole mix has turned into a gunky mess.
Add colour
Mix colour
Pour onto a smooth surface and spread out.

It's sticky so he rubs starch into the material

Note: For this process we didn't do the following, however we find that it does help.
Rub starch into the smooth surface before pouring - makes removal easier.

Material sits doing nothing for months, except being handled and touched and haptically admired.

Jay and Chris help found and move into Open Design City

Whilst Chris makes a mold for a bioplastic laptop bag, Jay begins trying to sew a bioplastic cushion in the shape of a man. It doesn't work.

Jay wonders what to do with waste material. Chris show's him how to sew properly.

Jay draws around credit card, marking out 3 sections (one slightly smaller than the others due to lack of material. (see pic)

Then folds material and sews lines. For a course on Sewing visit here. Of course our process was somewhat different along the lines of - put the foot down, put the material in, see what happens. But we all learn differently I guess.

Pattern should be clear from picture below.

Wallet is now finished.


Oh shit it's on Boing Boing


For those of you who would like  to learn from our chaos, please drop into Open Design City, this Thursday at 7.00



ODC Letter Competition

Yesterday we had little letter competition. All together we created the logo for Open Design City, not using pixels while sitting in front of a computer screen, but instead using several tools, machines and materials like vacuum formed plastic, hot glue, some clothespins, candle wax, broadloom, and lots of other stuff. It was fun and a good implementation of the open design process. Thanks for the great contribution!

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ODC is open Monday–Friday from
10–19h (betahaus rates apply)

Free and open DIY nights:
Every Monday from 19h.

Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20
10969 Berlin