Ramp it up!

3D printed wheelchair ramp

3D printed wheelchair ramp

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The 3D printing by hacktivist Raul Krauthausen of a wheelchair access ramp, is part of social production within commons based peer production (CBPP). The relationship between the physical and the digital in this occurs through the sharing of the files under Creative Commons licensing

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The platform Thingiverse is part of Makerbot which describes itself as ‘a thriving design community for discovering, making and sharing 3D printable things’ 2016 Makerbot(R).Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 12.02.18

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Described by Kostakis as being ‘to highlight the potential of new modes of social production which…might be transcendent to the dominant system’, (2013) p.173
The creative commons attribution share alike licensing allows commercial usage provided appropriate credit has been given.

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The example of the ramp and other adaptations have not been mass-produced at a level which brings the costs down under economies of scale and so remain exclusive under traditional capitalist structures. Lipson and Kurman describe how ‘3D printing technologies ease the tyranny of economies of scale’ (2013)p.24Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 12.03.02
CBPP allows 3D printing processes to be part of business models where smaller scale localised energy production supports sustainable development and reduced resource consumption. Producing elements of digital city infrastructure in the new paradigm where materials can be recycled as part of manufacturing and development could overcome the built in obsolescence which is a limit to sustainability. These views are supported where Lipson(2013) suggests ‘3D manufacturing could enable companies to make products locally, near their customers’ (p.202). This approach can also reduce un-necessary overproduction and waste.





Kostakis, V., 2013. At the Turning Point of the Current Techno-Economic Paradigm: Commons-Based Peer Production, Desktop Manufacturing and the Role of Civil Society in the Perezian Framework. tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 11(1), pp.173–190.

tripleC 11(1): 173-190, 2013 http://www.triple-c.at
Lipson, H.,Lipson, H. & Kurman, M., 2013 Fabricated: the new world of 3D printing, Indianapolis John Wiley

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