It may not always seem like it, but consumer products in the modern world are incredibly affordable. If you make $20 an hour, two hours of work is enough to “trade” for a solid metal and wood end table at your local big box store. Just a couple of centuries ago, that same table would have taken a craftsman days to build. That affordability is all thanks to mass production. In an ideal world, we could take advantage of the cost-effectiveness of mass production to build custom products, which is exactly what the Pipeline Project is intended for.
The Pipeline Project is essentially a big CNC (Computer Numerical Control) router designed to work with large-diameter PVC pipes. That is an ideal material for many products, because it’s strong and durable. Even more importantly, it’s mass-produced, and is therefore very affordable. Because PVC pipes are commonly used for plumbing, they can be purchased easily anywhere in the world. It’s even possible to use salvaged PVC pipes. The Pipeline Project tool can take those PVC pipes and cut them into custom shapes to create a variety of useful products.
The tool itself is also affordable, because it uses standard CNC components — including an Arduino Uno. The scale is large, but it’s just a standard 3-axis CNC router with one of the axes converted into rotary motion to spin the PVC pipe. What users can create with the Pipeline Project is just up to their imagination. The creator, Christophe Machet, has demonstrated that it can be used to make attractive chairs, tables, and even a skateboard deck. The Pipeline Project is still under development, but it appears that Machet plans to release the design files in the future.