Extreme Manufacturing

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Extreme Manufacturing (XM) is paradigm of manufacturing where manufacturing transitions from the factory floor into community-based manufacturing facilities - where anyone can participate in production. XM can take the form of an Open Source Microfactory or another social production process. OSE uses a social technology for production where a swarm of people, under experienced leadership - is able to produce complex products in rapid time - such as building a car from scratch in one day. As such, XM is competitive with traditional production, but it also incorporates the human spirit of cooperation within a rapid learning environment. The goal is to relocalize and distribute production to make it more responsible, and to reconnect people with productive work. By relocalizing production, an additional benefit of reconnecting people to the natural environment is attained - as invariably the questions of ecological integrity arise as production becomes more transparent.

Due to the personal breakthroughs involved with discovering one's power of productivity - a significant healing effect results in peoples' psyches. As confidence is built, that confidence begins to translate to one's general approach to life. People gain in capacity of their self-deterimination - as in Self-Determination Theory. Thus, people become less susceptible to economic and political control - reshaping their identity more around that of a creator - not a passive and powerless consumer of the world around them.

Using principles of Extreme Manufacturing, OSE has so far performed one day builds of the CEB Press, Tractor, and 3D Printer, and has done 5 day builds of the Seed Eco-Home and Aquaponic Greenhouse. OSE can build a single large machine with 12 people in one day, and a 1400 square foot Seed Eco-Home in 5 days with 50 people. Our next milestones include building a village in 3 months with 200 people. To build up to that, we intend to test a 3 month program with 50 people first, whose first implementation is the Summer of Extreme Design-Build 2020.


An open source hardware manufacturing method. Its focus is module-based, Contract-First Design, open source design and collaboration, and a swarming build techniques where a large team can work in parallel - both during the design and build process. Extreme manufacturing is lean in all respects. Such efficiency requires elimination of any form of waste, especially competitive waste. The name is derived from Extreme Programming. This technique is currently under active development by Open Source Ecology. OSE is developing a revenue model for Extreme Manufacturing consistent with Distributive Enterprise.

The practical manifestation of XM efficiency is machines that can be built in a parallel, swarm build process in a single day. So far, the one day build has been achieved for the CEB Press, Ironworker Machine, Power Cube, Tractor, and 3D Printer.


OSE is currently developing XM Workshop Immersion Training for specific machines.


Read about origin of the term on Ouishare, October 25, 2012 . formerly at http://ouishare.net/2012/10/wikispeed-agile-manufacturing/ -

Archived copy of Ouishare article by Benjamin Tincq from October 25, 2012: File:Extrememanufacturing.pdf

11 Principles Supported by OSE's Extreme Manufacturing

Many of these principles have been already captured in OSE specifications. The Test Driven Design aspect and Contract First Manufacturing are unique and not found in the Original OSE Specifications.

  1. Contract-First Design - design the interface to other modules before designing the module
  2. Test Driven Development - design a series of tests that determines whether it will work, prior to doing design work
  3. Extreme Learning - in order to further a zero-waste development process, OSE focuses on training. To this end, we produce lean instructionals intended for rapid learning. This means that we optimize existing instructionals to facilitate the learning curve of advanced development techniques - especially with the interest of bringing people up to speed from zero. We like working with rapid-learning novices, as such people can become effective without the industrial inertia (old and prejudiced design ideas).
  4. Optimize for change - agility, adaptability of design is foremost to achieve desired result (complete, functional, minimal viable product)
  5. Object-Oriented, Modular Architecture - Modularity is key, as it allows OSE to build a large system in parallel, as long as all the interfaces are well-defined for the modules. Modularity allows for a complete Product Ecology to emerge - for closed-loop manufacturing cycles. Modular architecture allows us to optimize 'borrowing' from other projects such that the development process is globally collaborative.
  6. Iterate the Design - (1) Create the test that your design should pass. (2) Create the simplest design possible that enables the test to pass. (3) Improve the design to be simpler or more elegant. (4) Repeat this process ("Iterate on the design") until improving this component is no longer the highest value work you can do.
  7. Agile Hardware Design Patterns - wrapper (interface to the interface), common materials, tech recursion (invest in tools that make components and that make materials), Lifetime Design (so that hardware can be repaired easily)
  8. Continuous Integration Development - iterate continuously between product test, design, and manufacturing. This involves Design for Manufacturing, Design for Disassembly, Design for Fabricability, Design for Maintainability. A byproduct of this is the emergence of Product Service Systems, which OSE is testing as a scalable enterprise model for open source hardware. Our current beta testing for build efficiency of this model is ongoing with our Extreme Manufacturing Workshops.
  9. Continuously Deployed Development - How to go to market fast? Flexible Fabrication concept. Digital fabrication assist. Open Design. Open Source R&D capacity, rapid prototyping, integrated R&D lab a la Edison.
  10. Scaling Patterns - Create teams for each module. Teams can work in parallel. Multiple teams can work on same module. Different teams can work on different aspects - design, build, documentation, prototyping, testing. Teams should have open communication channels, such as Work Log on our wiki, or Dozuki structure, or video uploads, plus Forums, Stack Exchange, Design Sprints, and Leader Training Workshops. Scrum of Scrums, Product Owner and Scrum Maseter. Clear Customer Visible Value is generated and iterated. Chief Product Owner (CPO) sequences and refines the Portfolio Product Backlog continuously. User stories are the requirements. Scrum Masters negotiate with other Scrum Masters for resources. All work completed satisfies the quality metric called the Definition of Done. Product owner maintains backlog and clarity. Scrum master maintains transparency of product delivery via documentation. Global remote effort can be maintained by heavy documentation typical of Open Source. OSE Tenet - Heavy Documentation is Key to a Lean Process - which appears counterintuitive at first but is relevant to solving wicked problems.
  11. Partner Patterns - Easy sourcing from many partners. Wrapper is key to this flexibility - an interface of the interface design. Design collaboration with industry. University Collaborations for R&D. Wide portfolio of Freelancers to do design, build, and service along a Product Service System model.

Lesser Principles

  1. Design for visual inspectability - design such that a visual inspection is sufficient and not misleading. Visual inspection is quick. Tactile inspection is more difficult, and human tendency to 'believe what we see' may erroneously prevent someone from doing a deeper check - in cases where 'something looks OK but really isn't. Thus, it's useful to design in such a way that visual inspection is sufficient and not misleading.


  • Wikipedia article on Extreme Manufacturing and its origin - [1]
  • OSE blog article on Extreme Manufacturing, 2012 - [2]
  • Ouishare article on the origins of Extreme Manufacturing - [3]
  • Scrum Breakfast - Extreme Manufacturing explained - nice article about the 10 principles of Extreme Manufacturing - [4].
  • Towards a methodology for accelerated innovation - Extreme Design Build
  • Contract-First Design
  • Description of the Wikispeed agile method -[5]
  • Why Extreme Builds?

2012 Explanation of the Wiki Page for Extreme Manufacturing

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