Atkinson, Paul, Marshall, Justin, Unver, Ertu and Dean, Lionel Theodore (2011) I did it my way: user engagement in post industrial manufacturing. In: SIM 2011 Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing. IST Press, Leiria, Portugal, pp. 679-687. ISBN 978-989-8481-03-0

Direct digital manufacturing has brought with it a number of benefits: close to zero waste, manufacture at the point of use, less production and stockpiling and fewer carbon miles in distribution. The potential is for a huge reduction in mass-production on a global scale. However, it could be argued that such processes could create vast amounts of readily discarded, sub-standard products, increasing rather than decreasing consumption.
It is important, therefore, to create design and manufacturing systems that will allow amateur users to become closely involved in the co-creation of high quality products that have a deeper meaning to the user than mass-produced goods. This paper describes two such systems, used to create products for a public exhibition, where one of the systems was available for visitors to use. A selection of their designs were manufactured and added to the growing display.
The results were incredibly positive. Visitors felt that they had created something of real value. They had done it their way. Their relationship with their creations meant these objects would not be thoughtlessly cast aside. It would appear that Post Industrial Manufacturing Systems that allow a high level of user involvement in the co-creation of objects could hold the key to the reduction of global product consumption in a sustainable future.

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