That’s A Lot Of Building Systems

The only thing makers like more than building things is making systems to build things. [Eric Hunting] has compiled a list of these modular building systems.

You’ve certainly heard of LEGO, grid beam, and 80/20, but what about Troxes or Clickaloo? The 70 page document has a helpful index at the beginning arranged in families of similar systems followed by information about each and some helpful links.

As the well-known XKCD comic likes to point out, the issue with standards is that they tend to proliferate instead of getting adopted, so this might be a good list to check before you start to implement your brilliant spin on modular construction. It’s possible the right system is already waiting for you.

The list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start. If you do have the modular building system that will solve all the world’s problems though, by all means, send it to the tipsline!

OpenStructures Is A Modular Building System For The RepRap Age

Modular construction toys like LEGO and Meccano are great for prototyping, but they aren’t so great for large builds. OpenStructures promises to be a modular building system for projects large and small.

A series of images showing the disassembly of a short, red cabinet and its reassembly as a tall, white cabinet. The shelves are reused between both objects since they both are part of the OS Grid.

Originally conceived in 2007 by [Thomas Lommée], OpenStructures is a modern, more robust reinterpretation of Grid Beam, which was itself a reinterpretation of the earlier Living Structures. By using a common standard (PDF), parts can be reused project after project as they would with LEGO, meaning you can spend more time building and less time cutting or figuring out joints. OpenStructures parts need connection points, part diameters, or part dimensions at multiples of 20 mm to be compatible. To fulfill the spirit of the project, parts should be designed for disassembly, use recyclable materials when possible, and be Open Source.

The system seems like a great starting point for prototyping furniture or other large builds more quickly than building everything on a case-by-case basis. By including diameters for round objects as well as square and rectangular profiles, OpenStructures is a more flexible (and aesthetically pleasing?) option than Grid Beam.

A couple more options for furniture-scale modular construction are these big LEGO bricks or copper pipe.

(via Low Tech Magazine)