Curriculum Narrative

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The overall program involves about 3 hours of classroom time per day with a majority of the time spend on design and build activities. Classroom time involves new knowledge, design review, and presentations by guest lecturers. The hands-on time is by far the unique part - where participants are more likely to get more diverse experience in hands-on builds in one month than they will in years anywhere else.

The first 4 days of each month will be dedicated to the Open Source Microfactory Boot Camp - so that everyone gains a solid background in collaborative design. The total of the first 9 days will be offered as a package in itself - just like the ongoing 9-day Open Source Microfactory STEAM Camp - for people who may not be staying for the entire 1 month.

We have 3 tracks. The Enterprise Track (both the enterprise and teacher options) is designed for going over the practical startup of an open hardware company. These are the mundane things like BOMs, sourcing, tooling, organizational issues - the nitty gritty. If you are not sure if you want to do that or if you want to have more fun then the rigor of starting a business, we suggest that you just take the student track.

We have 24 shared rooms in the HabLab, our residential facility - and we are offering a special experience for people who would like to arrive 2 days early to build their private treehouse in the forest, where 1 Gbit internet still greets you in the morning, and you have access to a summer bathroom facility in addition to the HabLab facilities. That's right - you will have a chance to build your own stackable steel-frame microhouse cube with modular panels that you can place anywhere you like, or stack on top of a friend's house.

Month 1

This month is a 3D printing extravaganza where you build 3D printers up to a monster that can print 4'x8' construction panels. With that, you'll need some low cost filament - so we'll be building a battery of 3D printing filament makers and shredders that can take waste plastic and turn it to 3D printing filament.

That is only the beginning. Why not put a MIG welder torch as the head on a printer - and make a 3D printer that makes objects with 3 mm resulution in 100% steel at 70,000 PSI strength?

We will engage in rapid prototyping, with a workflow of FreeCAD, part libraries, uploads and downloads from the wiki - and using OSE Linux as a common platform for everyone.

Month 2

Those 3d printers we built in month 1 will come in handy, as we will print rubber tracks for tractors, tractor tires - and full metal drive sprockets - with the printers we built in Month 1 and 3D printing filament that we generated from trash bales of plastic using our open source shredder.

That is only the beginning. Just like we engaged in rapid prototyping with 3D printers in Month 1 - we will take rapid prototyping to steel as with the 3 CNC torch tables from Month 1, and then use them to prototype in steel throughout the event. It is a rapid iteration process to go from CAD, to CNC cutting of steel, to welding of machines. We will teach you how to weld.

Month 3

In Month 3, we combine the Open Source Microfactory with open source Heavy Machines of Month 2 and go through a flurry of building experiments from natural to 3D printing.

We start with modular wood-panel construction to build a 12'x24' utility structure. We move on to CEB construction, with the open source soil mixer to make stabilized block from onsite soil. But what about the stabilizer? We will make our solar concrete from onsite rocks, dug with the backhoe, and crushed with the heavy duty shredder of Month 2. We will also make wood chips from trees - all using the large shredder. We will make pathways using wood chips from shredded trees, playgrounds from shredded tires, and gravel from shredded waste concrete.

We get into permaculture and energy, too. We will dig a 1/4 acre pond for gravity energy storage using our brand new 200 hp bulldozer from month 2, using 3D printed pipe for water, and an open source generator made from 3D printed parts.