Yesterday, at the Autodesk conference at Makerversity, there were, along with Autodesk’s Ember, a few other interesting Maker projects on display. One of the ones that I found most fascinating and that I was not yet aware of (although Michael had mentioned them in an article on the open source InMoov robot in January) was Wevolver, an online community entirely dedicated to featuring and promoting open source projects.
Although open hardware does not necessarily mean that 3D printing is involved, most of the time, the two concepts are closely intertwined. As I soon discovered, conversing with the outspoken and straight-out enthusiastic Wevovlver co-founder Rihcard Hulskes, Wevolver is directly “wevolved” in many different 3D printing-based projects, including the InMoov robot. Richard anticipated that they are adding three more projects to their line up: the open source ANDRE cars race cars, open source ROV, and the large format, open source Gigabot 3D Printer by re:3D.
Wevolver is made up of several Makers from different backgrounds and its primary mission is to facilitate access and increase visibility to some of the world’s most interesting open source projects, some of which already have a place in open hardware and 3D printing history. These include the Ultimaker Original 3D printer, the e-NABLE Cyborg Beast prothesis, the Open Pump syringe for research (which we have often covered on 3DPI), and the crowd sourced, 3D printed Bits and Parts chair.
Listing every open source project might seem impossible and counter productive, but Wevolver’s stated mission is to empower Makers to turn ideas into reality and they built their application to be powerful, flexible, and as intuitive as possible to explore and use. Any one working at a project can publish it and find other people who want to collaborate at making it a reality.
Users can also choose their projects’ level of openness – from completely open source to closed or hidden – in order to take maximum advantage of online collaborations, working with other Makers from various backgrounds, ranging from industrial design to electronic and mechanical engineering. In other words, the concept of a FabLab… wevolved.