Reflow recently caught up with Lithuanian based designer and maker Justinas Dadonas from Panama Workshop. A master at the art of doing it yourself, what started as a personal project to document a DIY journey has snowballed into a showcase on the benefits of 3D printing and its innovative applications. As a team we love the work Justinas is doing and the home he’s found for Reflow recycled materials, particularly our coral rPETG.

In 3 simple questions we discover where Panama Workshop began, where he finds his motivation and how sustainability plays into his design process. Enjoy.

How did Panama Workshop begin?

Panama Workshop began as my personal project documenting DIY processes in my tiny apartment. I watched a lot of DIY content and really wanted to do everything myself, but the only place I could afford was a tiny flat in an old building from Soviet times. I realised that most DIY content is made with people with workshops or huge living spaces in mind and not usable in my situation. That’s why little by little I started using 3D printing as a perfect tool in my situation - it doesn’t require a lot of space, it doesn’t produce mess and I can work with it without waking up my neighbours. So now Panama Workshop is a series of examples of how we can use 3D printing in our everyday DIY life.

"3D printing is the perfect tool - it doesn’t require a lot of space and I can work with it without waking up my neighbours."

How have you managed to incorporate sustainable practices into your design process?

I think most sustainable practices in my work come from reusing, repairing and simply less consumption. In the last few years my thought process changed from “Where can I buy it?” to “How can I make it?”. I started to see everything around as places for possible intervention. When my tool breaks, the first thing I do is check if I can print the part that broke. If I need a new tool, I always think if I can make myself (corner clamps, drill guides etc.). When I see an empty glass jar, I see a self-watering pot with a 3D printed insert. All these little things allow me a life that’s a little more sustainable and is made possible because of digital manufacturing.

"In the last few years my thought process changed from “Where can I buy it?” to “How can I make it?”.

Are there new projects or ideas you are working on to integrate sustainability into your work in new ways?

At the moment I’m working on a system of modular 3D printed joints called OLI (Open Links). It was my master's thesis project at university. I noticed that it’s so easy to get lost in the variety when you have a tool that can basically make everything. That’s why there’s a need for systems that would combine the maker movement and design discipline to create products for new distributed manufacturing possibilities.

OLI parts should work as tools for people to create their personal objects that are easy to disassemble, repair and modify. I think that sustainability today should place much greater importance on the general ethics of objects, how we make things and where they are sourced. These new tools and materials actually allow us alternatives. That’s why the maker movement and open design can show us a way to a more sustainable, more distributed, more democratic and more ethical systems of manufacturing and consumption.

Justinas continues to work tirelessly to make doing it yourself as accessible and sustainable as possible. His diverse range of projects blend functionality and design in such a playful way, it is a joy to watch his journey. You can follow it too at Panama Workshop.

Tegan

Social Media Strategist
Plugged into the matrix, ex professional ballerina, aspiring trivia samurai and Margaret Atwood fangirl