The Millennial Project 2.0

The Enclosure Profiles project is an example of one of the seemingly minor types of projects of the Open Source Everything Project that could have unexpectedly broad impact from it’s otherwise simple idea –a ‘trimtab’ concept as Buckminster Fuller would have called it. It’s also a prime example of the kind of logic particular to Post-Industrial design.

Enclosure Profiles are a collection of standardized extrusion profiles of Open Source design that would be intended to facilitate the very easy creation of other Open Source electronics and appliances. Each profile –usually of some rectangular– would form a tubular shape which includes a series of interior grooves that can be used to host circuit boards mounted parallel wthin the profile section threaded standoff rods, and set-screws as well as other items. (perpendicular mounting of circuit boards would be done by notching these grooves, by using parallel stand-offs, or bolt-on tabs that fit the parallel grooves), The exterior surface of the extrusion would generally be flat and matt-textured but may also include corrugations, a series of heat-sink fins, or stand-off ‘leg’ protrusions. Small profiles would be intended to be monolithic, extruded as a sigle piece. Larger profiles would be made by combining several smaller extrusions; corner and end-side extrusions along with flat side extrusions that interlock along flush edge grooves and inside flanges that can be holed and bolted together to tie them tightly together into one tubular shape. The enclosure profiles would likely be made of aluminum but could also be made of plastic or even milled and laminated wood. They are also ‘fabbable’ using very simple digital models.

These tubular forms would be used as clean, simple, and tough enclosures by cutting the tubular extrusion to length, cleaning their ends, notching the inner grooves at the open ends of the tube or milling an inset along the profile edge, and then mounting flush flat plates back and front within the open ends using set screws. The end plates could be cut with various openings and mounting points and may use many kinds of flat sheet materials; alloys, plastics, and wood. Sections of profile of common dimensions but slightly different features could also be stacked together to form more complex enclosures. For instance, using three sections of profile, one main section between two matching short ones with leg profile protrusions, one can create a cabinet with four legs. Similarly, one might have sections with heat-sink fins between those without. One might also use sections of matching dimensions but different materials, such as flanking a main body section made of wood with ends of aluminum. Such variations would be endless.

Using these Enclosure Profiles makers of Open Source electronics and appliances would be able to provide simple but very attractive and durable cases and enclosures without a lot of elaborate finishing work, making these devices as good in apparent physical quality as factory-made products without adding much to their fabrication labor. This is key to making Post-Industrial artifacts made-on-demand competitive with factory products that can amortize high finishing overhead over large production runs. The enclosure profiles could be made, bought, and stocked like lumber for on-demand use. And they could be used for everything from small electronics and computers to major appliances. Furniture uses, such as shelving systems and cabinet legs, are another possibility as well as the inclusion of flanges and protrusions supporting wall mounting, frame mounting, attachment to T-slot framing as used in the Utilihab building system, and many other features are possible. This is not an entirely new concept. Many electronics devices today are made with extruded profile cases, though they’re usually relatively small and no attempt has been made to date to standardize on these profiles or to make their shapes Open Source and open to any number of designers and manufacturers. Thus opened-up for innovation, a new small industry could evolve based on these profiles –a logical direct extension of UtiliHab industry.

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