Make Works Extension

Make Works Extension for Chrome
Make Works Extension for Firefox

#How do I install the extension?

For Chrome click here then click Add to Chrome.

NEW! For Firefox click here then click Add to Firefox.

Once the plugin is installed, visit the IKEA website and navigate to a product page where the extension will begin suggesting alternative methods of manufacture for your chosen product. We suggest BILLY Bookcase as a starting point.

#What is the Make Works extension?

A plug in for your Chrome browser that shows you alternative ways to manufacture products on the IKEA website.

When you are browsing a product; for example a chair, table, sofa or lighting on; the extension displays columns of related data that suggest alternative ways to manufacture, repair or replace that item.

#Why have you made this?

This project happened when the Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing team at The RCA, commissioned Make Works and Rectangle find new ways of connecting data with the future of manufacturing.

We wanted to experiment with ways to bring our open database of local manufacturers, materials and processes to the wider internet; connecting with as many other datasets as we could possibly think of.

The extension looks to ask questions about how consumer products are made, where they are made, the scale in which they are made, who makes them, the materials used and ultimately, who has ownership of the production process.

#Who is it made by?

The extension was made by Lizzie Malcolm, Dan Powers, Martin Clarke, Jamie Sterling and Fi Duffy-Scott with support from Hannah Stewart.

Find out more about the Make Works project here.  

Find out about the Future Makerspaces in Redistributed Manufacturing project here. 

#What is redistributed manufacturing?

Redistributed manufacturing is about changing the geography of how and where things are made.

Instead of products being manufactured centrally and shipped around the world, digital product blueprints are ‘shipped’ or shared online and physical things are produced locally.

This includes manufacturing that might take place in somebody's home (using say, a 3D printer); networks of local fabricators and makerspaces, or a more historic cottage industry or craft model.  

As E.F Schumacher wrote - “production by the masses, instead of mass production.”

#Why is redistributed manufacturing relevant?

Creating a redistributed manufacturing system might offer a more environmentally sustainable alternative to mass production.

It also means that communities can collectively share, build and adapt the physical objects that they use themselves.

In many ways, the extension acts as a starting point to highlight how far there is to go in order to create any real redistributed production system that is as convenient, low-cost (and fun!) as the current consumer experience.

#How does it work?

As you are browsing, various characteristics about a product are extracted from the page – material, color, and type of product. Once the plugin has this information, it begins making requests to different channels for alternatives.

#What data are you using?

We are using a combination of open databases and API’s from Make Works, Ebay, Gumtree, IKEA Hackers, Instructables, Kickstarter, Eventbrite, Github, Hackspaces WIKI, Open Workshop Network and the NESTA Research on Makerspaces.

If you have, or would like to suggest an open dataset that you think would be valuable to include, please get in touch.

#Why IKEA?

IKEA is a universal brand, with a good online catalogue to work with. Plus, their head of sustainability did comment that “we’ve reached peak stuff”.

Saying this, we could have picked almost any large, mass manufacturing retailer to make this with. The idea was not about IKEA specifically, but more about finding alternatives to the global manufacturing system.

#Will you be looking at other websites in the future?

We’d love to start taking this to other websites in the future, and are open to your suggestions!

We’re particularly interested in internet of things (IOT) products and sustainable fashion.

#Can I use the plugin on other browsers (Tor, Opera, Safari etc)?

Currently the extension is only available in Chrome and Firefox. We are open to suggestions of which browser to work on next.

#Why does this mainly suggest manufacturers in Scotland?

This is a first version of this project, and so the API we built was a testing ground. We hope to build this out to include all of our new Make Works regions in the next version.

You can help us map manufacturing in other regions by starting your own Make Works. Find out more here. 

#How can I get involved?

If you would like to make suggestions, ask questions, have an idea, spot bugs, or would like to help us in any way, then get in touch at:

#I’m having a problem installing -  what do I do?

Instructions for installing extensions on Chrome here 

#I found a bug! What now?

You can report any bugs to

#How do I remove the plug in?

Instructions on removing extensions from Chrome here