Introduce yourself!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the Open Toolchain Forum, a place for more structured discussion about the open ecosystem we need for engineering. We also have a matrix channel we use for chat.

This thread is for people to introduce themselves. Who you are, your background, and your interest in the open toolchain.


I’ll start!

I am Julian Stirling. My background is in scientific instrumentation. I did my PhD in Physics in Nottingham (finishing in 2014) working on ultra-high vacuum scanning probe microscopy. Since then I have worked for the NIST in the USA on instrumentation for ultra precise measurements of small mass and force, and for the University of Maryland working on an instrument to measure the universal constant of Gravitation.

From 2018 until 2022 I worked for the University of Bath on the OpenFlexure Microscope, an open source, largely 3D printed microscope which was developed in collaboration with partners in Tanzania, with a focus on Malaria diagnosis. It was important to the OpenFlexure team that the project used open source tools, the microscope was developed in OpenSCAD but we also developed our own open documentation system called GitBuilding and created a fairly complex open workflow using GitLab.

Currently I am a freelancer doing some work with the Open Toolchain Foundation. I am particularly interested in improving the open toolchain for distributed teams working on hardware together.

When I am not doing open hardware I spend most of my time volunteering at a 200 year old waterwheel. Open engineering tools are also very useful for community engineering projects like this. I will leave you with a photo where sitting in the centre of the enormous wheel, aptly surrounded by both tools and chains!


Thanks Julian, let me continue then!

I’m Pieter Hijma and I have a PhD in Computer Science with as topic programming models for High Performance Computing, related to GPU programming. However, since little over a year, I decided to pursue my interests in Open Source Software and Hardware.

I currently work at HIWW in Hamburg as a researcher within the context of the INTERFACER Project and I’m responsible for the work package “The Open Source Hardware Ecosystem”. In this work package, my main work – together with a colleague – is researching how to generate documentation automatically for Open Source Hardware. Our work is highly related to Julian’s GitBuilding but we have a bit different focus. Our goal is to ultimately apply our automated documentation approach to the Open Lab Starter Kit designed by Daniele Ingrassia. This is a set of machines to populate a Fab Lab but then open source.

Another one of my tasks is setting up this very foundation, the Open Toolchain Foundation. I’m very glad with the amazing team we have now and the progress we have made so far.

I’m a big proponent of Open Source Software and Hardware. In my free time I do some woodworking and design my projects in FreeCAD, sometimes in OpenSCAD. I also occasionally do 3D printing and electronics.


Hi, I’m Robert and I’ve most recently been working in a privately funded research company in the field of hydrogen production as a design engineer, but also working in the lab and workshop. I have a master’s degree in mechanical engineering for renewable energy. My entry into the free and open source software / hardware world began over 10 years ago with OpenFoam and Linux and I have been involved ever since.

I know Martin and Tim from my time at university and I am happy to be part of the Open Toolchain Foundation (OTFN) team. In the OTFN, I am primarily involved with the topic of toolchain research. I am always overwhelmed by the possibilities of free and open source software / hardware and hope to give something back to the community with my current work at OTFN.

My current private project is a film carrier for automated positioning and photographing of analogue film with a digital camera. Therefore I use FreeCAD and the Arduino Platform. I hope to present the project to the public soon and give something back to the community.


Hey everyone!

I’m Martin, I got to know Robert and Timm while studying mechanical engineering for renewable energy, which I have a bachelor’s in. During that time I was already a bit involved with Open Source Ecology Germany (e.g. building a cargo bike) and worked for a while in the foodsharing movement which aims to end food waste by creating a network of volunteers that collect surplus food from supermarkets, bakeries, cafés etc. Realizing that the problem is even bigger than we thought, I continued on this path and co-founded a startup called SIRPLUS to save surplus food as well from production companies, wholesale and other large-volume sources that could hardly be handled using a voluntary approach.

I see the open source idea and movement as a prototype or an inspiration for how much more topics in society could and should be handled and therefore I’m very happy to contribute to OTFN and can help democratizing production. I work on the design and website, some administrative and coordination tasks, toolchain research and more.

(I’m not even soldering that often but it’s the best picture I have :smile: )


Hi everyone and happy New Year! I’m Kaspar. I’m a freelance electronic engineer and software developer currently based in Bristol UK. I created and maintain Kitspace which is an open source platform for sharing open source hardware electronics.

My main interest is in building user interfaces that enable better ways of working and improving collaboration. I am doubly excited when I can apply my domain knowledge of hardware prototyping and manufacturing.

In the past I worked with hardware startups on bringing products to mass manufacture. Until the end of 2021 I worked with @julianstirling on the OpenFlexure project at Uni of Bath. This year I will likely spend time working on Kitspace but have also started helping out with EDeA (re-usable sub-circuit libraries for KiCad) and of course I’m looking forward to helping out with the OTF effort wherever I can.


Hi all! I’m happy to read your intros, so here is mine: I’m an industrial engineer, based in El Salvador. I am currently the Executive Director of Appropedia Foundation, a nonprofit that manages Appropedia, the wiki for sustainability. In the past I did work in open hardware through an initiative for devices for community mapping and disaster response called Reacción and a public space initiative called Insitu alongside other members of the fab lab movement. Much of my work is related to using digital fabrication for the community improvement. Some of my current work involves the integration of the OSHWA Certfiication with Appropedia’s metadata schema (here’s an example). I’m looking forward to contributing to OTF in any way I can!


Welcome @Kaspar! Welcome @emilio! Great to have you in the forum.


Hello Open Toolchain Friends and Family I think it time I also through in a short intro.

I’m currently working mainly around the Open Tech Ecosystem focussing on Hardware, have been there from the beginnings of the and now really excited that this finally ships out.

Apart from testing tools like FreeCAD and platforms like GitLab (and many others) for open source collaboration and just the fun of discovery I also have build workshops and machines myself, specialised in circular economy, documentation and open source hardware licensing (later one not my favourite domain though :smile: ). I love to repair all kinds of devices and teach people how to do the same. Oh and I studied Mechanical Engineering plus Renewable Energies at some point with a strong hype for new possibilities for vertical axis wind turbines.

Coming up with new initiatives and projects to inspire people to do impact and future/sustainability oriented activities I’m also a co-founder of (Open Source Ecology Germany e.V.) that is currently growing rapidly, me doing some PR, Community Management, Project management and funding over there. So a bright open source future ahead I would boldly state, I invite everybody to join the party soon. In the meantime you can also checkout my wiki profile for more info via:
En:Timm Wille – Open Source Ecology - Germany (will update at some point)

Cheers to everyone in here and beyond working on an open source ecosystem for engineering.


Hello Everyone,

My name is Jeremy. I am involved with open source CAD development and do some of my own open hardware development. Below are a few things I’m involved in.

  • Core CadQuery developer. CadQuery is a Python API for creating parametric CAD models.
  • Collaborating on OCCI with OTFN, Mark from Archiyou, and Dave (the creator of CadQuery). OCCI is an API for CAD data interchange. I’m responsible for the FreeCAD plugin that acts as a sample client.
  • Created Semblage, which is a CAD program with the goal of combining the ease-of-use of mouse-driven CAD with the power of programmatic CAD (you’ll often hear me use the term “CodeCAD”).
  • Have a company called 7B Industries which acts as an umbrella for my open hardware endeavors.
  • Several years ago, I was on the board for the Mach 30 Foundation for Space Development, and was a volunteer hardware developer (example project).

I also have a bachelors in mechanical engineering and over 20 years of experience writing software. I think the combination of those two things has driven my interest in CodeCAD.

I will be at the second day of the Fab City Hamburg event on March 4th, and then the OTFN hackathon on March 6th and 7th. If you’re going to be at either event (or both), please say hi if you see me. I’m looking forward to getting more connected with OTFN and the people involved in it.


Welcome to the forum Jeremy! Looking forward to meeting you in person in March


Hi folks,

my name is Moritz and I work on (mobile) ad-hoc mesh routing protocols and many related projects. Many of my projects are in the domain of the Freifunk initiative and OpenWrt. Some interesting projects:

  • Meshenger voice/video Android app that works on local (mesh) community networks.
  • meshnet-lab evaluation of mesh routing protocols
  • testmesh, my personal playground for mesh routing algorithms
  • more stuff on linked on

See you in Hamburg o/



i’m just a hobbyist who found out about OTFN on fosdem
i occasionally use KiCad, (best example of a success story in open source hardware tooling?)
and give the occasional intro workshop
i’ve attempted and failed at getting started with FreeCAD several times
(and have resorted to getting used to OpenSCAD while pining for my autocad on windows days)
i’m also looking forward to getting the CNC router running at the local hackerspace
and am looking at Kiri:Moto for that

i’m an avid Nix user and maintain the KiCad package in nixpkgs
(world’s largest, most up-to-date software package set)

right now i’m somewhat concerned about the state of the sigrok project
(open source software for using logic analyzers, oscilloscopes, multimeters, etc)
and am curious how the OTFN could help such a (leaderless) project


Hello to all the impressive people.
I’m Jason Selvarajan.I’m an environmental engineer, studying creative sustainability that leans more towards digital fabrication and art these days.I was part of the Fablab at Aalto University (Finland) until a few years back, now I’m a co-ordinator at a studio/workshop space, also at the university. I used to work on a clean teach water recirculating shower (I met Timm and some of his colleagues at POC21 Innovation Camp a long time ago) but closed up shop during corona and I’m currently looking for my next project… or then I’ll boot it up again after some rest.

As for tools I’m ok with Blender and will try to catch up with OpenSCAD and maybe brush up on my KiCAD, but I’m still a beginner with all of those so most likely can only contribute on an aesthetic level on those parts.

Building and testing hardware prototypes is maybe more my jam. Excited to meet ya’ll.


Hello, i’m glad to meet you all in Hamburg. Here is my introduction:

I have a master’s degree in Biologies and Computational Neurosciences and i learned the trade of joiner/carpenter. In my spare time i love to tinker around with DIY- and Maker-projects, which are often direct or indirect related to green-energy and self-sufficiency.

I am hardware developer at OpenSourceEcology Germany and maintaining there three major projects (the UniversalPrototyping-Kit, the Zinc/Air FuelCell and the SolarBox/OpenNanoGrid) and some smaller ones.

UniProKit: Upklib – Open Source Ecology - Germany
ZAC+: Zn/O-Brennstoffzelle – Open Source Ecology - Germany
OpenNanoGrid: OpenNanoGrid – Open Source Ecology - Germany
OHLOOM: Open Hardware-Webstuhl – OHLOOM – Open Source Ecology - Germany

I also was co-founder of the OpenEcoLab-movement and run the OpenEcoLab2 facility in Rahden, which is focused on market gardening and self-sufficiency and doing some R&D (and workshops) in this field and other OSEG-related topics. OpenEcoLab Rahden | Openecolab