The aim of this project is to bring the user into the manufacturing process. It intends to provide the tools for the creation of a community of involved users, who want to be the actors of their consumption. By this project I want to show the benefits of combining a global network of involved users and local production sites. The design concept facilitates the involvement of the user by splitting the object into two categories: the elements that can be found easily on the market and the elements that connect these preexisting parts. I chose to apply this concept to a bicycle. Thanks to its simple technical aspects and the joy of its use, people already have a strong relation with a bicycle: they customize it and make it their own. The elements available on the market are the equipment (seat, handles, wheels, etc.) and the tubes. I chose to focus on the design of a set of connection, parts using one material (aluminium) and one technique (casting). With this set of pieces people can build their own bicycle by using the resources found in their area. To involve the user in the manufacturing process, I designed a model that offers the user a choice to be part of the production process for other members of the community. When the user orders the connection parts, he or she can also buy the prototype that provides the sand mold for the aluminium casting. This will make him or her part of the manufacturing process: when another user wants the connection parts, they can contact him or her via the website connected to the platform. For a low price, he or she can send the prototypes to the casting workshop nearest to the other user and receive the prototype after the casting. By doing this several times, the user recoups his investment in the prototype and starts to make a small profit. One of the important points of this concept is that the consumers owns the tools of production and thus becomes a responsible actor within his own consumption.
© Design Academy Eindhoven, Photo by Femke Rijerman