Personal fabrication empowers users to create objects increasingly easier and faster. This continuous decrease in effort evokes a speculative scenario of Ephemeral Fabrication (EF), enabled and amplified by emerging paradigms of mobile, wearable, or even body-integrated fabrication. EF yields fast, temporary, in-situ solutions for everyday problems (e.g., creating a protective skin, affixing a phone). Users solely create those, since the required effort is negligible. We present and critically reflect on the EF scenario, by exploring current trends in research and building a body-worn fabrication device. EF is a plausible extrapolation of current developments, entailing both positive (e.g., accessibility) and negative implications (e.g., unsustainability). Using speculative design methodology to question the trajectory of personal fabrication, we argue that to avert the aftermath of such futures, topics like sustainability can not remain an afterthought, but rather be situated in interactions themselves: through embedded constraints, conscious material choice, and constructive embedding of ephemerality.


A preprint is available on arXiv: 2112.09019 or from this webpage.