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Appropriating Digital Fabrication Technologies — A comparative study of two 3D Printing Communities

  • Digital fabrication technologies have a great potential for empowering consumers to produce their own creations. However, despite the growing availability of digital fabrication technologies in shared machine shops such as FabLabs or University Labs, they are often perceived as difficult to use, especially by users with limited technological aptitude. Hence, it is not yet clear if the potentials of the technology can be made accessible to a broader public, or if they will remain limited to some form of “maker elite”. In this paper, we study the appropriation of digital fabrication on the example of the use of 3D printers in two different communities. In doing so, we analyze how users conceptualize their use of the 3D printers, what kind of contextual understanding is necessary to work with the machines, and how users document and share their knowledge. Based on our empirical findings, we identify the potentials that the machines offer to the communities, and what kind of challenges have to be overcome in their appropriation of the technology.

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Document Type:Conference Object
Author:Thomas Ludwig, Oliver Stickel, Alexander Boden, Volkmar Pipek, Volker Wulf
Parent Title (English):iConference 2015 Proceedings, Newport Beach, California, USA, March 24–27 2015
Date of first publication:2015/03/15
Keyword:knowledge management; qualitative research methods
Departments, institutes and facilities:Institut für Verbraucherinformatik (IVI)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 005 Computerprogrammierung, Programme, Daten
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 65 Management, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit / 650 Management und unterstützende Tätigkeiten
Entry in this database:2020/11/11