Small Apollo Program for the GVCS
We propose to recruit a mini Apollo program of 20 systems designers and engineers to develop and dogfood an open source microfactory. Included is a Design Guide for heavy machinery, and a workbench in FreeCAD - the open source parametric CAD design package - whereby anyone can drag and drop modules to produce meaningful designs based on established design rules. The core of the microfactory itself - a 4000 square foot facility with additional support infractructure such as office space - is an induction furnace for producing virgin steel from scrap metal, and precision machining infrastructure that enables production of advanced components such as engines. The microfactory can produce any advanced machines or products efficiently, at a cost 5-100 lower than leading manufacturers, depending on assumptions of lifecycle analysis. Products include everything from cordless drills, cars, and modular houses. Development of the microfactory facility is proposed with a $4.2M budget on a 2 year time scale, with build cost of a complete facility at about US$100k pending availability of open source blueprints for the same. Startup can be obtained as low as $10k capital startup pending existence of another microfactory, which can self-replicate all of its tooling. An immersion training model can help fund the build and produce the talent for running future operations. See Mini Apollo Program for team requirements. This is intended to deliver the promise of the GVCS TED Talk, a new civilization at $10k financial capital costs.
Ball park figure for a small Apollo program of essential bits for a replicable Open Source Microfactory would be recruiting 20 full time technical staff on critical subject areas: CNC torch (including oxyhydrogen generator), laser cutter, 3d scanner, scalable 3D printer, materials (open source plastic), materials (continuous charcoal production), engine designer, induction furnace, metal rolling, CNC heavy machining, hydraulics, CAD platform development, house design, community manager, tech lead, + admin assistant, press forge, 4 engineers on agricultural machine design. The recruiting could take 4-6 months to vet candidates properly with at least a dozen serious applicants for each spot, so initial pool of at least 100 applicants each. $1.8M ($100k/year for top talent) for the staff per year for 2 years until first minimum viable product is achieved, so $3.6M. This does not include materials, which should be $20k per month, or another $0.5M for the 2 years. Additional infrastructure requirement would be $100k for housing to carry the program out at our facility. 2 tear time scale for minimum replicable product. $4.2M for transforming Manufacturing.
This addresses the supply chain - closed loop on materials if there is scrap metal available. Plastics and fuel are addressed. Flexibility is included, in that all of these are done from a Construction Set approach of modular design.
We have 16 prototype machines build. Modularity concepts are proven with our interchangeable power units, drive units, etc. But there is a big difference between prototypes and viable products - that's where the thousands of hours of field testing come in. And major gap is precision machining and hot metal processing. We have done the charcoal power proof of concept.
Disclaimer: the most challenging part of recruitment is culture fit. For this reason, slow on boarding and gradual establishment of rapport are key. To this must be added training on key development skills: (1) collaborative literacy, (2) Economic Time Binding, (3) design guides, part libraries, and FreeCAD or open source 3D CAD training, (4) basic OSPD protocols.