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Title: 3D printing in the commons : knowledge and the nature of digital and physical resources
Author: Garmulewicz, Alysia
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 2039
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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3D printers are a type of digital fabrication tool being used by communities committed to shared software, hardware, and digital designs. This shared digital knowledge can be understood as an emerging common resource for the fabrication of physical goods and services. Yet the knowledge associated with physical resources used in 3D printing is less understood. This thesis explores what factors enable or prevent knowledge about physical materials entering the commons. 3D printing, with its particular configuration of digital and physical goods, offers a unique angle to advance the field of commons scholarship. This thesis elaborates the use of commons theory for traversing the boundary between knowledge associated with physical materials and digital content from the perspective of 3D printer users. Particular contributions are made to the branch of knowledge commons theory: notably, how design rules in technological systems can be used to theorise boundaries; how differentiating between the nature of underlying resources can help explain the inclusion of knowledge in the commons; and, how patterns of user engagement with types of knowledge in the commons can be studied over time. To develop these contributions I employ theory on the design rules of technological architecture, and use insights from the study of peer production in online communities. Empirical data comes from a qualitative study of users of Fab Labs, community workshops for digital fabrication, as well as from a quantitative study of the online user forum for the Ultimaker 3D printer.
Supervisor: Rayner, Steve ; Reed-Tsochas, Felix Sponsor: Rhodes Trust ; Said Foundation ; Green Templeton College
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Three-dimensional printing ; Open source software ; Design and technology ; Business enterprises--Technological innovations