David I. Weightman
Industrial Design, School of Art+Design
Digital Tools for Punk Manufacturing
The central tenet of the Punk music movement in the 1980’s was that enthusiasm and attitude were more important than musical expertise and familiarity with traditional forms of expression. Participation in music making was extended to a much wider group than hitherto and it was the forebear of the user-generated content explosion of recent years, visible now in a multitude of manifestations, (including blogs, Youtube, Facebook) that have collectively reshaped the Internet that enabled the revolution to occur in the first place.
Punk manufacturing is the same approach extended to the making, manufacture and distribution of products, often created by and for enthusiast users, niche markets or special interest groups outside traditional frameworks for manufacturing and distribution. (The term does not only apply to teenagers or aging members of the Clash, and should not be taken to have any derogatory connotations, rather it is equivalent to the current use of the term Skunk-works to describe off-site, out-of-the-box, blue-sky research units within companies.)
Accessible digital fabrication technology is seen as the next step in the user content generation explosion that has already revolutionised the music, media, graphics and publishing industries. This research project aims to identify and categorise examples of punk manufacturing enterprises that have used digital fabrication technology, with a view to determining the nature of that experience and any impediments to creation and progress. We are keen to identify opportunities to develop the use of digital tools and networks to support fledgling enterprises, for prototyping and small-scale production of objects.