Special Session on Re-Distributed Manufacturing at CIRP Conference

A special session entitled “Re-distributed Manufacturing – Pathway to Impact, UK and Global Perspectives” has been proposed for the 50th CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems to be held May 3-5 2017 in Taichung City, Taiwan. Those interested in submitting a paper to the special session can find the Call for Papers here. Abstracts are due by 15 November 2016, with full papers due by 30 December 2016.

Material Makespaces and the Circular Economy workshop in London

Join 3D printing and other digital fabrication companies, makers, and researchers on November 9th at Fab Lab London to explore how to gather data about materials in makespaces, and how this data can help you source and cycle materials.  We will be unveiling our open source universal testing machine that can measure mechanical properties of materials, and inviting you to use it and make one of your own. RSVP by emailing RSVP: Alysia Garmulewicz.

The workshop is a joint collaboration between the University of Oxford Department of Engineering, Fab Lab London, Wevolver, and the Ethical Filament Foundation. The workshop is part of the research program of Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing run by the Royal College of Arts and supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It can be accessed as an open mic session that is part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival.materialmakespaces_finalagenda

3D printing and circular economy

Following our earlier post about our paper being accepted, we’re pleased to see that Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agendais now online in pre-publication format. If you haven’t taken a look at it yet, maybe you should do now?

Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda

Mélanie Despeisse, Martin Baumers, Phil Brown, Fiona Charnley, Simon Ford, Alysia Garmulewicz, Scott Knowles, Tim Minshall, Letizia Mortara, Felix Reed-Tsochas and Jonathan Rowley


The circular economy (CE) aims to radically improve resource efficiency by eliminating the concept of waste and leading to a shift away from the linear take-make-waste model. In a CE, resources are flowing in a circular manner either in a biocycle (biomass) or technocycle (inorganic materials). While early studies indicate that 3D printing (3DP) holds substantial promise for sustainability and the creation of a CE, there is no guarantee that it will do so. There is great uncertainty regarding whether the current trajectory of 3DP adoption is creating more circular material flows or if it is leading to an alternative scenario in which less eco-efficient localised production, demands for customised goods, and a higher rate of product obsolescence combine to bring about increased resource consumption. It is critical that CE principles are embedded into the new manufacturing system before the adoption of 3DP reaches a critical inflection point in which negative practices become entrenched. This paper, authored by both academic and industry experts, proposes a research agenda to determine enablers and barriers for 3DP to achieve a CE. We explore the two following overarching questions to discover what specific issues they entail: (1) How can a more distributed manufacturing system based on 3DP create a circular economy of closed-loop material flows? (2) What are the barriers to a circular 3D printing economy? We specifically examine six areas—design, supply chains, information flows, entrepreneurship, business models and education—with the aim of formulating a research agenda to enable 3DP to reach its full potential for a CE.

[Image source: Mélanie Despeisse]