If you’ve felt like the product dev community options are lacking or if your last project design community is messin’ with your emotions, there’s hope yet for you and your precious project collaboration dreams. Wikifactory is a new ‘social platform for collaborative product development’ but I’d go one step further to say it’s an end-to-end product development collaboration platform to capture software-hardware needs plus the process and the potential for a lot more.

Where Do You Go to Collaborate on Design Projects?

It’s (almost) 2020 and solutions for project collaboration are few and far between. If you ask someone how they collaborate with others on design projects, the most common answers come down to a few methods that have been around for over a decade and, for them, project collaboration was a byproduct of no other option existing. Many still use Dropbox, FTP, Email, or their own file server. Those options haven’t grown to match the needs of product designers and engineers which leaves the space really, really wide open. Enter Wikifactory.

In September 2018, Wikifactory launched in Alpha mode and this month, they launch Beta, with some very interesting plays in the product development space. Their latest stats have the Wikifactory community at 3000+ members, growing at 34% month-to-month.

In its current form, Wikifactory is a hub for:

  • Community
  • Projects
  • Stories
  • Organisations

Community is the core of Wikifactory and allows users to provide info about themselves or company, and projects they’re involved with.

Projects allow all parts of a project to be organized in one place. Files can be shared, builds can be documented, members can collaborate and contribute, and revisions and issues can be tracked.

Stories allow members to create content about their project or interest, providing another avenue of promotion in a growing community.

Organisations allow companies to create a group for their own members or Wikifactory collaborators. It also allows you to offer a semi-white label project space for project initiatives. Example: projects.fablabs.io

But, along with serving as a primary product dev hub for individuals, content, and companies, it brings in some technology to aid in the product development workflow, including:

  • Version controlled drive
  • 3D CAD format visualizer (30+ formats)
  • Issue tracker and documentation
  • Permission systems and community tools

Wide Open Project Spaces

Wikifactory launched as an Internet of Production (IoP) platform with an aim to “make developing and shipping of physical products as accessible, collaborative and efficient as the production of software products is today.” In other words, they wanted to bring the functionality common to software over to hardware to make the product development process smoother.

With the push into beta, they’ve refined their pricing with free unlimited public projects and collaborators for individuals and team, and unlimited private projects starting at €7 ($8) per month. Though they’re going into beta targeting the PLM market (estimated to reach $60B by 2025) they are dedicated to always providing their tools free for public use to support the open-source hardware community.

When they first launched alpha, Wikifactory seemed like simply a site collecting open-source hardware projects. Now, it’s apparent they have grander plans in mind, pushing into the much-to-be-desired ‘team project’ space that others had explored and even built with promising potential only to be absorbed into larger corporations that walled-off users or throttled/discontinued development.

They’ve got a wide-open landscape for bringing a wider perspective on collaboration to the product development process, combining both an efficient bit of collaboration to the software side with an intense focus on the hardware side. It’s an important combination and one that seems to be overlooked lately. Wikifactory is one to watch.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.