Opendesk on Demand

Introducing the Opendesk on demand drawing exporter! This is a demo of an automated online system that will allow customers to request cutting files on demand with dimensional customisations and enable makers to generate drawing files that are mastered to specific making requirements.

Give it a try! Enter your email address in the form below, choose the exact length of the Opendesk Lean desk you would like, hit go and we’ll email you the drawing files you can use to make your custom desk with a CNC machine. If you are familiar with CNC machining, you can also specify the sheet thickness of the material you would like to use, otherwise leave this at the standard thickness of 18mm. Please note: as of Dec 2016 this system has been taken offline.

Why have we done this?

A huge challenge we’ve found with open making is delivering customised files that are generated from correctly versioned content. Achieving this ensures makers build the most up to date designs and allows customers to personalise products.

Different parts interact with each other throughout a design and certain parts must change as different configurations are chosen. This interdependency between parts means that a CAD model that represents the design and used for the drawing export process must have this intelligence built in with parameterisation.

So far so good.

However, large designs with multiple parameters and customisation options mean that a design can have hundreds of thousands of different ways it can be configured. Currently we would try to generate drawing files for every possible configuration, so files can be delivered exactly when they are needed. This is highly impractical, very time consuming and limits the design options we can build into designs. Also, as soon as a slight design update occurs, the entire range of configurations must be exported again.

To make the whole process more agile and efficient, exports should occur on-demand and as requested. This means time is spent only exporting configurations that are needed and updates show in new downloads immediately. This demonstration proves that this is possible and hints at what’s to come from Opendesk in the future.

How does it work?

The form you see embedded on this page communicates a simple choice document describing the customer’s customisations or maker’s material specifications to a server hosting the Opendesk API. The server controls and queues these requests, then posts new requests to an endpoint in our API. A cloud based server that is running the Opendesk CAD workflow monitors this endpoint and as a request is posted, triggers the Opendesk export process. This process loads the requested design in to Autodesk Inventor and sets the parameters in the model before converting the 3D model in to 2D drawings ready for making. When the drawing generation process is finished, the output is emailed to the person who originally requested it.