Technology Modules

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The technosphere can be broken down into 500 or so modules that cover 80% of the technological artifacts in existence today. By breaking down the technosphere into modules - we can use a small set to produce millions of different artefacts. This is part of Module-Based Design and a Construction Set Approach.

There are 500 modules, and all of the 50 GVCS Machines can be built from these. It is useful to create an icon (like the Noun Project) for each of the 500, so we can use them as part of the design process in diagramming and communicating complex information effectively. See Pattern Language.

Just as the 500 modules can be used to build the 50 GVCS machines, these modules can also be used to build all the tools necessary to build the GVCS. Thus, the iconic pattern language should clearly include the 500 modules, 50 GVCS machines, and perhaps top 100 very common tools. And on top of that, top 100 common materials. The pattern language facilitates communication towards technological literacy on the part of the public, leading to Appropriate Technology replacing destructive technologies which pollute, deplete resources, and create monocultures of land and mind.

Here we define a structural/functional primitives approach to building machines. This is based on a notion that sourcing of materials that are used to build machines is important. This is because we focus this work around ubiquitous access to materials. To make our work replicable, we consider highly accessible and ubiquitous materials - as opposed to scarce resources. Using common materials and easy to source parts is part of eradicating Artificial Scarcity.

We break down technology by areas and construction sets. We go down in detail here - to submodules. These include materials, basic structures, and basis functional units.

The goal here is material abundance and resilience, based on distributed microfactories that require about $100k of startup capital to produce thriving communities anywhere, and are further bootstrapped into further Technological Recursion.

Short List

All are stackable, 2 forms of scalability, materials substitutable, LD, DfD, robust, highly efficient, abundant material composition.

  • Universal rotor - high and low power hearable track or wheel, Hybrid Air Tire.
  • Piston or cylinder
  • Air bearing - includes a piston version, and can be machined plastic.
  • Solenoid valve- high and low pressure continuous and burst including injectors and hydraulic solenoid valves
  • Microcontroller- $1 chip for Arduino performance and Mini computer -two cores at 1.5 ghz and 1080 HD at $50 [1]. Or Rpi micro at 700khz for $1.
  • Universal frame
  • Linear encoder
  • Rotary encoder
  • Hydrogen generator
  • Silicon refiner
  • Universal power supply - induction furnace -welder - TIG welder - plasma cutter
  • Induction furnace coil
  • High temperature crucible
  • EM sensor - all spectral range, from single pixel to large array
  • Pressure sensor (hydraulic or load cell)
  • Electric motor/generator
  • Nickel iron battery
  • Cement Baker
  • Charcoal maker.
  • Plastic, aluminum, steel melter
  • Wood to diesel maker
  • Ball bearing
  • Metal alloying apparatus
  • Grinder
  • Tool and die but making
  • Oxygen generator?
  • CO2 generator

Work Doc



  • Main areas appear to be


Optics -light

Chemical engineering

Concrete and steel structure

Electromechanical devices. Magnets, copper, plastic, mechanical, controller.

Heavy machines


Chemical processing.

Semiconductors. Different wavelengths activate different substrates.


Precision - polishing, air bearings

Automation, CNC

Sensors, scientific - EM, antennas, radar, transceiver, RTK






Noore than a billion should be required to open source each - so we are under $20B.

Energy Storage

  • Counterweight
  • Battery packs - nickel iron and lithium
  • Gravity water storage
  • Fuel - hydrogen, charcoal
  • Saturated Water
  • Compressed Air

Compressed Gases

  • Air
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Oxygen
  • Nitrogen
  • Hydrogen
  • Argon


  • Concrete/mud
  • Cryogenic - argon
  • Piston - water pump for modern steam, high pressure piston pumps
  • Piston, engine
  • Piston, hydraulic
  • Fuel - high pressure rail for injection
  • Gear - motion and high pressure pumping


  • Tracks
  • Trencher blade
  • Sawblade, insert tooth, carbide, tile, multimaterial
  • Universal Rotor, 3"


  • Fuel injector (electronic fuel injection, no carb)
  • Steam injector (electronic steam engine)
  • High pressure hydraulic
  • High pressure hydraulic solenoid
  • Ball valve, manual and electric Ballvalve.png
  • electric ball valve
  • Gate valve
  • Ee

Electric Motor

  • Scalable pancake motor/generator, 3D printed, coreless brushless, coil ripple feedback
  • Solenoid - valves, linear generator


  • Note that these come in "industrial" (ie embedded in some machine for PID etc), and "lab" (for use in labs and workshops hooked up to a pda etc)
  • For the labratory ones see the Open Source Labratory Data Logger Construction Set
  • Perhaps make pages for each individual "core" sensor, ie photomultiplier tubes, phototransistors, etc
  • Also may need some "industrial sensors/monitors" construction set
  • pH
  • T - room, high (1000C), low (-273C)
  • Humidity
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Oxygen demand
  • Oxygen in blood - Pulse Oximeter
  • Capnography - CO2 in breath
  • pressure - low - any fluid - breathing range
  • Pressure - medium - 50-100 PSI
  • Pressure - high - 3000 PSI
  • Oxygen detector
  • Oxygen sensor (especially useful for bioreactors, and Air-Fuel Ratio Sensors in ICE's
  • Refractometer
  • Chromatography
  • HPLC


  • Signal Generator

Electric Power

Outcomes: electric power generation, electric drive, electricity storage

  • Axial flux electric motor. Relies on high-strength magnets.
  • Generator
  • Linear Electric Motor
  • Solenoid valve
  • Fast-acting, high pressure solenoid - steam engine valves
  • High pressure solenoid - for hydraulic valves
  • Air solenoid - low p
  • Air solenoid - med p
  • Air solenoid - high p

Mechanics and Power Transmission

Outcomes: Mechanical drive.

  • Ball bearings
  • Bushings - plastic or bronze
  • Gear - split ring planetary
  • Gear - planetary
  • Gear - herringbone standard
  • Heavy geardown - 15,000 in lb force rubberized gears
  • Belts - rubber, nylon-belted, steel belted; heater belts with embedded nichrome
  • Pulleys
  • Linear rail, 3d printed with metal balls
  • Linear bushing - 3d printed with metal balls
  • Slew bearing
  • 3D printed bearing with metal balls
  • Cylinder - high pressure hydraulic
  • Piston - for pump
  • Piston pump
  • Piston - engine
  • Pump - injector pump. Diesels. Modern diesels.
  • High pressure fuel pump - liquids
  • High pressure, high temperature water pump (superheated water expander, prfessure vessels)
  • Electronic injector pump


Metal rolling, rod+wire production, alloying, any metal chemistry.

  • Metal shaft - how to produce one from scrap steel with induction furnace.
  • Copper wire
  • Insulated copper wire - for windings*Induction heater
  • Crucible construction set - steel melting
  • Reusable casting graphite molds - [2]
  • Induction coil construction set
  • Induction circuit construction set
  • Continuous melt induction furnace
  • CNC adjustable Metal roller
  • Reciprocating metal conveyor
  • Arc furnace crucible
  • Hall-Heroult crucible
  • Graphite electrodes
  • Aluminum from scrap sources
  • Tool and die - grinder
  • Hardening of steels and other metals. Part of tool and die.
  • Tool and die - shield gas production
  • Limestone to produce carbon dioxide shielding gas
  • Alloying
  • Metal rolling - cooled roller
  • Metal rolling - roller drive, reciprocating
  • Zone refining - for steel production
  • Zone refining - for silicon production

Clean Room/Space

  • Vaccuum pump module
  • High pressure pump module

Electrolysis and Electrochmistry

  • Carbide production
  • Graphite production
  • Aluminum production
  • Sodium hydroxide production
  • Hydrochloric acid production
  • Hydrogen production
  • Silicon nitride - for bearings

Power Electronics

  • Rectifier
  • Chopper circuit - selecting the chopping frequency
  • Signal module + software
  • Transistor module
  • Welder soft start circuit


  • Salt, water, sand, clay, and charcoal to hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, carbide, graphite, hydrogen, oxygen, silicon, and aluminum.
  • Sugar, vinegar, salt, starch to sugar production, bioreactors to lactic acid, polymerized to PLA. Acetic acid, vinyl, EVA for PV
  • Fractional distillation of wood 0 alkane production, alkene production
  • Charcoal production
  • Alcohol production
  • Starch to polylactic acid
    • See Polylactic acid
    • TODO: Make a more focused page for "Starch to polylactic acid" or link to sub-section.
  • Polylactic acid to PLA
    • See Polylactic acid
    • TODO: Make a more focused page for "Polylactic acid" or link to sub-section.

Heavy Equipment

Combines to modules for construction, materials handling, mining, agriculture, earthworks

  • Blade
  • Scraper
  • Backhoe
  • 360 degree pivot
  • Tracks
  • Heavy duty traction wheels
  • Pivots - simple
  • Articulated steering
  • Telescoping cylinders
  • Cylinders
  • Telescoping arms
  • Forks
  • Buckets
  • Grapple
  • Saw - tree or earth with removable teeth
  • Saw - tractor-mounted tree
  • Mulcher attachment
  • Pulverizer
  • Seeder
  • Sprayer
  • Spreader
  • Baler - round
  • Baler - square
  • Hay rake
  • Mower - sickle bar
  • Mower - rotary

Cordless Power Tools


  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Frame

Space and Rockets

Air travel, such as multirotors, airplanes, rockets, missiles, fighter jets, telecom, radar.

  • Drone software
  • Drone controls
  • Propulsion systems
  • Reusable rockets
  • Explosives


  • Air bearings
  • Mill Bits
  • Grinders - for tool and die
  • Steel Hardening - tool steel from millable steel
  • Tool Change apparatus
  • Lathe Module
  • Mill Module
  • Drill Module
  • Digital readout
  • Shaft from bloom
  • Multimachine for bolts and threads and geometries
  • Welder gun
  • Honing - for cylinders
  • Heavy duty drill

Lasers and Optics

  • CO2 laser tube
  • Laser toolhead
  • Laser light bending optics - open source laser lens mounts (Pearce et al)

Heavy Metal Working

  • Bolt head stamping
  • Ironworker shear
  • Ironworker holepunching
  • Forging


Outcomes: machinery for materials processing: vessels, pressure vessels, heating systems, pumping systems, blowing systems, ball/roller mills, shredders, cutters, hammermills. Powders and particle grading. Containers, vessels in general - at all pressures for all materials. Piping and plumbing.


Pneumatics, hydraulics, valves. Combines with Safety for air purification, and clean-rooms for semiconductors.

  • Ball valve - manual closure, all flow rates
  • Poppet valve - engines
  • Check valve - ball
  • Check valve - diaphragm
  • Bump valve - steam engines
  • Solenoid piston/plunger valve - automated on-off; 3 pressure ranges
  • Biocompatible PVC
  • Inspiratory Valve - ventilators
  • Exhalation valve - respirators (unpowered, powered), fully enclosed face masks, fully enclosed helmets, ventilators
  • PEEP valve - or water bucket version (see University of Florida Ventilator)
  • Pressure Regulator
  • SCUBA Regulator

Electrolysis and Arc Furnce

Outcomes: hydrogen, calcium carbide, iron from ore, aluminum from clay.


Outcomes: fillers, pottery, 3D printable. Overlap with printing.

  • Clay powder production - fillers, 3D printing
  • Continuous clay feed from dry powder (3D printing)
  • Geopolymers, glass, aerogel, fiberglass, carbon fiber

Plastics and Process Engineering

  • PLA production bioreactor
  • Cellulose acetate
  • lactic acid production for Sweet Potato PLA - [3]
  • thermoplastic elastomer blends (thermoplastic + thermoset or thermoplastic rubber)
  • Feedstocks for recycling: PE, PP, nylon, TPU, TPE blends, PVC, ABS, acetal (gears), PEI (high temp), polycarbonate (impact, glazing), cellulose acetate (bioplastic), PLA (bioplastic).
  • Fractioning column for wood to fuels and oils
  • Shielding gas - laser sintering, induction, build chamber for WAAM

Valves and Switches

  • Ball Valves - pneumatic, hydraulic
  • Soleonoid valves - pneu/hydraulic, all pressure from 1 psi to 3000 PSI
  • Check valves - all pressures
  • Seals - rubber. O-rings.
  • Stainless steel vessels
  • High temperature refractory vessels
  • Auger making
  • Solenoid switch
  • Solid state switch

Material Preparation

  • Shredder / Rock Crusher - heavy duty up to cars, tires, rocks. Up to 15k lb drive at teeth.
  • Grinder - metal blades cutting off little chunks, such as multiple sawmill blades for sawdust
  • Smaller duty shredder - plastic, wood, etc
  • Laimet screw chipper
  • Hammermill - fast chopping
  • Ball mill - for making powders such as dry pottery clay
  • Roller mill - for powders
  • Pelltizer - for low-moisture bonding
  • Strawboard production - rollers + heaters
  • Rubber micronizer - freezing [4] - chunks are frozen then high-velocity shredded.
  • Freeze drying
  • Dehydration


  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • High pressure


  1. Weaving - clothing, braids
  2. Wire twisting

Material Feed

  • Rollers - steel rolling
  • Rollers - normal conveyors
  • Roller mill for powders - 3-roll roller
  • Wire feed (welder, alloying)
  • Wire feed - 3D printing filament
  • Auger construction set
  • Centrifugal pump/blower
  • Diaphragm Pump
  • Cryogenic pump
  • High pressure plunger or piston pump - water jetting. Plunger pump goes up to 30,000 psi.[5]


Outcomes: heaters, furnaces, ovens. Part of Materials - heat systems.

  • Aluminum melting heater
  • High temperature build chamber
  • Pottery kiln
  • Refractory materials - from gypsum, cement
  • Rotary lime kiln for cement production

Safety Gear

Outcomes: eye, head, skin, breath, sound protection, force protection, cut protection. Includes respiration

  1. Mouth/nose faceplate
  2. Face mask
  3. Various options of view window: clear, dark, color-selective, welding, impact resistance
  4. Eyeglass modules
  5. Filter module - for face mask, PAPR, air filter in general
  6. Blower
  7. helmet - breather
  8. Helmet - protective
  9. Hardhat
  10. Head-fitting rotary-adjustable buckle
  11. Pneumatics modules - solenoids, pressure gauges, tubing

More 4/10

More Modules:

  1. Poppet Valve
  2. Pressure relief valve - teh equivalent of a transistor in electricity
  3. Pressure tank - Vessels and process control
  4. Water/Pressure tank - same as above
  5. Ajustable pressure relief


  1. Phase sensor - electricity, such as induction furnace phase lock
  2. Display module - LCD screen
  3. PV cell


  • Glass from powder
  • China clay - porcelain
  • Continuous clay extruder from powder
  • Laser module - solid state or CO2
  • Wire coating module
  • Wire weaving module
  • Universal CNC Axis

Stepper Motor

  • Planetary geardown
  • Strawboard heated roller
  • Graphite brush - for brushed contacts
  • Live hydraulic swivel
  • Track module
  • Cotter pin module
  • Spring steel alloying
  • Ferrochrome alloying for stainless steel - only $1/lb?

3D Printing

  • Refractory Lining production
  • Insulated chamber
  • Swarm 3D Printing for Autonomous Manufacturing (e.g. Ambots)

Universal Rotors

  • Vaccuum Pump
  • Cryo Pump
  • Auger
  • Trancher track: sprocket
  • Chain - heavy duty for tracks, light for chainsaw and bike


  • Spark plug
  • Poppet valve
  • Bump valve
  • Ball check valve
  • Cylinder honing - take sch 80 pipe and go from there.

Ball bearing

  • Grinder for ball bearings
  • Hardening - carburize
  • Hardening - hardfacing
  • Powdering rubber
  • Powdering wood

Hi Tech

  • Liquid crystals


  • Visor sauare for mask - shading, clear, darkening (welding)
  • Glasses - cellulose acetate
  • Small face filters
  • Large Papr filter
  • Larger house filter
  • Melt-blown plastic machine


  • Graphite reusable metal casting crucibles - zone refining of metal-to-ingot
  • 3" billet production, 3"x8' is minimum. Weight - 2lb/inch. 200 lb is 100 inch - or 8'. That is what we need.


  • Fiberglass reinforcement
  • Kevlar?
  • Carbon fiber?
  • Nano structure fabrication


  • NMR - magnetic field detection - by electromagnetic rad
  • X-ray
  • Negative Pressure Rooms
  • Non-Contact Thermometers
  • Ventilator Machines - construction set
  • Oxygen Concentrators - from zeolites
  • Geopolymers
  • Pulse Oximeters
  • Non-Heated Humidifier (aka Cool-Mist)
  • Laryngoscopes
  • Infusion Pumps
  • Small centrifuge

EM Spectrum and Detection

  • Spectrometers, lithography, laser, radar, sonar, diffractometer, solid state EM spectrum detectors (camera, various spectral cameras, detectors, amplifiers, photodiode, photoelectric devices
  • RTK
  • Transceivers in all wavelengths up to gamma waves

Optics, Polishing, Air Bearing

  • Super precision for jets, lithography, oilless engines


  • Transistors at all scales and speeds
  • Lithography
  • Logic gates
  • ICs

Chemical Engineering

  • Pressure vessels (positive and negative)
  • Fluidized bed
  • Heated chambers (furnaces, burners, ovens) with electric, resistive, induction, and hydrogen heating)


  • Static (fixed)
  • Smart (adaptive) - Machine Learning driven dynamic automation


  1. Open Source Technology Pattern Language
  2. Modules
  3. Technology Map
  4. Construction Sets