Fabrication Procedure Standards

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We aim to set unprecedented standards of quality for documenting fabrication procedures for economically significant products related to Distributive Economics. To this end, we are setting a standard for documenting each step of a given fabrication procedure. Each step is defined as a small breakdown of a complete fabrication procedure, where each device such as the open source tractor would have on the order of 100 steps, and where each step is broken down to further sub-steps. The aim is to enable an individual with no prior experience to follow directions completely and succeed at completing a build.

This is relevant for one-at-a-time replication of OSE products, but it is even more important for successful implementation of the Distributive Economics business model. One way of implementing the Distributive Economics business model within a scalable, bootstrapping, low-capitalization enterprise is to leverage the labor of unskilled individuals via a volunteer-based, training-for-labor exchange. The trainer benefits from the value of the trainees' labor, and the trainee benefits from gaining powerful skills of production. Essentially, significant value can be generated by the trainer as unskilled individuals are trained rapidly, via prior study of the Fabrication Procedure (as defined herein) and by hands-on training. This works effectively if such training materials are available for study prior to the hands-on work - which is the reason behind creating high quality, exhaustive documentation.

The benefit to the trainee are rapid learning of state-of-art, OSE Spec techniques - without barriers based on lack of skill. Our experience at Factor e Farm has been transformative in this respect. We've observed a number of unskilled individuals reconnect to their power of making things - revealing new levels of satisfaction from attaining this basic human capacity. For example, complete novices have helped substantially in the May 2011 production run of tractors and CEB presses.

Fabrication Documentation Standards

The fabrication procedure proper should contain the following for the steps and substeps. The assumption is that the Bill of Materials is documented prior to this step, where the builder has already sourced all the raw materials and components. The scope of the fabrication procedure is both preparation of all the components (cutting, hole punching, grinding, cleaning, etc.) and assembly (bolting, welding, fitting, etc.). The scope also includes a list of tool options and consumables, as well as documentation of jigs used in the fabrication process, variation of the procedure when a different tool is used for a task. Regarding ergonomics - workflow, workshop design, and ergonomic analysis notes should be included.

The following steps are listed in their order of importance:

  1. Written, step-by-step procedure including ergonomics commentary. Satisfaction criterion is that the procedure corresponds to the suggested step sequence of an actual build.
  2. Pictures and video of the actual build - explaining the steps. Video should have comments and annotations, pictures should be labeled or annotated
  3. Images cut from CAD models to explain dimensions and other details.
  4. 5-30 second conceptual animation of the step using modeling software (Sketchup, Blender, professional CAD package such as Solidworks or AutoCAD). These should be consistent with the sequence of build steps.
  5. 5-30 second CAE animations (motion, stress, thermal properties, magnetic fields, flows, etc).
  6. Fabrication drawings.
  7. Exploded part diagrams for assemblies.
  8. Exploded part diagram animations for assemblies coming together.
  9. Conceptual images of how a part or whole works.
  10. Conceptual diagrams.
  11. Schematics (circuits, functional diagrams, etc.).
  12. Quality control procedures
    1. Detailed requirements for satisfaction (squaring, levelness, pressure, bolt torquing, etc)
    2. Things to pay attention to (common mistakes which lead to failure modes)

For every machine we build, we’ll provide an online instructional library that includes the design rationale, 3d CAD files, 2d fabrication drawings, circuit board design files, wiring diagrams, machine-readable CAM files, exploded part diagrams, animations, control codes for automated devices, scaling calcations, the physics of why it works, and the performance and cost analysis vs. industry standards, and other details to facilitate replication.

For the purpose of evolving the fabrication documentation via a distributed, collaborative process - commits to the Fabrication Procedure repository should include source files for:

  • All CAD documentation (2D, 3D, circuit diagrams)
  • CAM toolpaths
  • CAE files
  • All animation sequences
  • Video edit files with source material (Kdenlive, Final Cut, iMovie, etc.)
  • Other editable source files, such as diagrams or spreadsheets

The video footage for fabrication documentation should be located in a repository, with access being given to the video editorial team.

Tactical Approach

In order to attain high documentation quality standards, we suggest a combination of on-site work at Factor e Farm - combined with a larger, global collaboration. If on-site participants can lay out the skeleton of the work: measurements, video, CAD - then a remote team can take it from there. Remote tasks could include building upon the CAD work, processing and editing videos, filling in gaps in the documentation, and editing/formatting the documentation. The culmination of this process could be an official Documentation Release - a highly-edited instructional video that synthesizes the entire procedure and produces an enjoyable and practical rapid-learning experience to the viewer. The video editing work in particular could be farmed out beyond the borders of Factor e Farm to leverage powerful, global collaboration.

Documentation Team

Those interested in collaborating in this effort should sign up via the Documentation Team page.