OpenBeam in South Africa - and the awesomeness that is Open Source Hardware

Presently I am sitting by my gate at Boston Logan Airport - homeward bound from the awesome Open Hardware Summit.  I can't think of a better time to announce that it had finally happened:  someone finally made a derivative of OpenBeam! Not only had OpenHardware.co.za done what looks to be a wonderful job with making OpenBeam extrusions (minus the problematic center hole and anodizing finish), they also significantly improved upon the system by lasercutting brackets out of stainless steel.  In fact, we are going to try to see if we can import some of the stainless brackets for our customers here in the US.

This is how Open Hardware is supposed to work.  Paraphrasing Nathan from Sparkfun at the OHSummit's forking panel yesterday:  "This is a customer I cannot serve.  And every person that gets interested in electronics, strengthens the community and some day will help me too".  In this case, even though we offered the South Africans access to our extrusion die, shipping and import logistics to South Africa was just too expensive.  We are very happy to see OpenBeam used around the world.

In the US, if you would like to carry OpenBeam, our preference is for you to work with us and share manufacturing expenses.  It takes an incredible amount of money to keep supply chain moving smoothly - we buy our extrusions at multiple kilometers at a time - and we'd prefer a collaborative environment to help market the product.  We've set OpenBeam up in such a way that we can have dealers, and our dealers make 30% gross margin on resale of OpenBeam.

Just don't be a dick and try to steal our trademark.