OSE Proposal 2012

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  1. Abstract – GVCS in 2 years & $2.4M with parallel development

  2. Introduction

    1. What is the GVCS?

    2. Salient Features of the GVCS – OSE Specifications

      1. Lifetime design

      2. Modularity

      3. Low Cost

      4. Replicability

      5. Open Business Model

    3. 51 GVCS Technologies

      1. Technology Overview

      2. Problem Statement, Motivation, Applications

      3. Development Status and Needs

      4. Development Budget

    4. Pattern Language

    5. Technology Selection Process

      1. OSE Metric Score

    6. Cost and Comparison to Existing Options

  3. GVCS Technologies

    1. List

    2. Development Needs

    3. Development Status – Master Index and Resource Map

  4. Product Ecologies – descriptions and diagrams of packages; General Problem Statements (with significant data)

    1. Introduction

    2. General: LifeTrac (Agriculture, Housing, Utility), RepLab I and II, Solar Turbine, Fuel and Power

    3. Food – General Problem Statement

    4. Electricity – same topics as Food

    5. Housing -

    6. Transportation

    7. Fuel and Power Cube

    8. Power Electronics

    9. Fabrication – RepLab up to Hot Metal Processing

    10. Materials – Aluminum from Clay

  5. Replicability

  6. Context and Applications – connection to Solving Pressing World Issues and Connection to Existing Projects and Movements

    1. GVCS is a Flexible Tool Set for Creating Advanced Civilization

      1. Global Village: Basic Design of Communities that Work

      2. Substitution towards Doing it Right: Ecoindustry, Relocalization, Permaculture, Permafacture

    2. Economic Development

      1. The Vision of Decentralized Production; Schumacher, Gandhi, Fuller, Piore; Schor, FabLabs, Homebrew Industrial Revolution, Whole Village Project

      2. Transition Towns, One World Villages, Village Towns, and Retrofitting into Existing Infrastructures

      3. Leapfrogging in the 3rd World and Regeneration of the 4th World

    3. National Security

    4. Cultural Shift

      1. Towards Integrated Humans: K-PhD Experiential Education with Augmented Learning

        1. Rapid Learning Strategy – Pattern Language and Learning Augmentation

      2. Experiential Education: DIY Scouts

      3. Shifting Culture: DIY in 3D and Remaking the World

  7. Economic Analysis

    1. Base-Line Cost of Infrastructures and Comparison to Existing Options

      1. Ergonomic Analysis: Roles and Labor Requirements

    2. Production vs. Consumption: Augmenting Capacity of DIY Production

    3. Lowering Replication Cost – OS, and

    4. Self-Replicability of plants and machines

    5. Immersion Education

  8. Development Strategy

    1. Overview of Parallel Development Strategy

    2. Publicity and Outreach Presentations

      1. Simple GVCS site (presently being designed)

      2. 5 Minute Talk/Ignite Talk

      3. 18 Minute Talk/Exploratorium

    3. Funding

      1. Viral Kickstarter/True Fans campaign for Funding

      2. Nonprofit Sector

      3. Production Earnings

    4. Collaboration Platform – Bettermeans with Wiki

    5. Team

      1. Team Development – Outreach Presentations, Schedule and Outreach Team Development

      2. Core Roles Filled – Media Advisor, Resource Developer, CFO, Technical Director

      3. Subject Matter Experts and Reviewers

      4. Prototypers and Fabricators

  9. Technical Development

    1. Development Process and 3 Prototype Cycles

      1. Proposals

      2. Design and CAD Work

      3. Prototyping

      4. Testing and Review

    2. LifeTrac Package (strategy and problem statement)

      1. LifeTrac

      2. MicroTrac

      3. Bulldozer

      4. Power Cube

    3. RepLab: Flexible and Digital Fabrication

      1. Multimachine: CNC Mill, Drill, Lathe, Surface Grinder, Cold Cut Saw, Abrasive Saw, Metal Bandsaw; includes indexing head, vertical and horizontal position

      2. Ironworker Machine

        1. Hole Puncher

        2. Metal Shear

      3. RepTab:

        1. CNC Torch Table

        2. CNC Router Table

      4. RepRap: 3D Printer

      5. 3D Scanner

      6. CNC Circuit Mill (10 total)

      7. Robotic Arm: welding and moldless casting

      8. Laser Cutter and Power supply

      9. MIG Welder and Power Supply

      10. Plasma Cutter and Power Supply

      11. Induction Furnace

        1. Alloying

        2. Surface treatments

      12. Hot rolling – flats, angle, tubing

      13. Moldless Casting

      14. Wire Extrusion

      15. Forging (simplest is an anvil) (19 total)

    4. Modern Steam Engine - 1 kW Off-Grid Generator

      1. Gasifier burner – pellets or other

      2. Steam generator

      3. Steam Engine Power Cubes

    5. Solar Turbine – Solar Thermal Electrical Power

      1. Reflectors

      2. Tracking

      3. Receiver

      4. Steam Engine

    6. 50 kW Wind Turbine

    7. Extraction of Aluminum from Clay (25 total)

    8. Agriculture and Utility Implements

      1. Pelletizer

      2. Universal Seeder

      3. Rototiller

      4. Spader

      5. Microcombine

      6. Universal Auger (String Trimmer, honey extractor, posthole digger, tree planting auger, slurry mixer, washing machine)

      7. Materials-moving Auger

      8. Hay cutter

      9. Baler

      10. Hay Rake

      11. Loader

      12. Backhoe

      13. Chipper/Hammermill

      14. Trencher (39 total)

    9. Open Source Car

    10. Built Environment

      1. CEB

      2. Dimensional Sawmill

      3. Cement Mixer

      4. Well-drilling Rig

    11. Agriculture

      1. Nursery

      2. Bakery

      3. Dairy

    12. Other Technology

      1. Electrical Motor/Generator

      2. Hydraulic Motors and Cylinders (50 total

  10. Team

    1. Organizational Core Team and Consultants

    2. Collaborators and Subject Matter Experts

  11. Collaboration and Investment

    1. How you can help

      1. Documentation – CAD, Fabrication Drawings; Techical Writing

    2. Investment Opportunities

      1. Open Source TechShop

    3. Lifetime and Ethical Investors - $40k Tuition – in lieu of Disintegrated Education

      1. Towards a Million Points of Light: Reservation of a spot in a future community, with a production contract; Groups of 10

      2. Includes Augmented Immersion Education

      3. Lifetime Investment Contract

    4. Coworking Production Investors

    5. Nonprofit Sector Resource Development

    6. True Fans

Abstract: This is a proposal for deploying the GVCS by year-end 2012 and within a $2.4M budget. This document explains the nature of the GVCS, its relevance to the progress of humanity, and makes a case for funding its development. The audience for this proposal includes collaborators, funders, and developers who are interested in open-sourcing a set of critical, distributed production and infrastructure technologies for global economic resilience.

2.1 What is the GVCS?

The GVCS is an open source construction set for creating civilization with modern day comforts. The GVCS includes machines, equipment, tools, components, and other infrastructures for creating a complete economy: food, fuel, energy, building materials, transportation, materials, fabrication. Since most of the GVCS is a machine of some kind, we generally refer to the GVCS as a set of machines, even though the GVCS includes items such as Bakery, Dairy, and Agricultural Nursery.

The GVCS aims to simplify, modularize, and make transparent the critical technologies used by humans. The scope of this is to make technology user-friendly to the extent that all of our technology base functions like a life-size Lego set that people can use, play with, adapt, and maintain. Thus, the central question of this work is the development of an unprecedented user-friendly interface to common technologies, which to date have been operated and maintained by specialized 'wrench-turners' or technicians. We are demonstrating the limits of modularization and simplification of technology – without compromising performance – towards the goal of creating user-friendly modules or 'black boxes' of functionality. It is not required that the user know the inner workings of these modules, but it is critical that the user understand the resulting functionality, range of use, and other properties that allow the user to combine these modules into working wholes – in the nature of a life-size Lego set for real technology. This applies to mechanical devices (ex., cars and bulldozers), electromechanical devices (ex., windmills and solar turbines), electrical devices (ex., renewable energy equipment and laser cutters), computer automation (ex., computer-controlled machining and robotic arms), and materials processing (ex., induction furnace and hot metal rolling). The goal is to reskill people towards self-sufficiency, without giving up the advantages of the division of labor and without giving up the trappings of modern civilization (ex, internet and airplanes).

One of the central themes in this work is that we are in the Age of Substitutability (ref). This means that scarce and strategic resources may be replaced by ubiquitous and common resources – under the assumption that we have access to the enabling information and to energy1. Substitutability further implies that any toxic, centralized, industrial process has a completely benign, closed-loop, small-scale, open source, ecological variant.

2.2 GVCS Components: 50 GVCS Technologies

This section outlines the 50 components of the GVCS; related problem statement; project status and development needs; development budget requirements The comprehensive list is this (Table: item, sector (ag, fab, etc, specific products and services provided, ease of development?)

LifeTrac; MicroTrac; Bulldozer; Power Cube; Multimachine: CNC Mill, Drill, Lathe, Surface Grinder, Cold Cut Saw, Abrasive Saw, Metal Bandsaw; Ironworker Machine; RepTab (CNC Torch Table; CNC Router Table); RepRap; 3D Scanner; CNC Circuit Mill; Robotic Arm; Laser Cutter; MIG Welder; Plasma Cutter; Induction Furnace; Metal Hot Rolling; Moldless Casting; Wire Extrusion; Forging; Modern Steam Engine; Gasifier Burner; Steam Generator; Solar Turbine; 50 kW Wind Turbine; Extraction of Aluminum from Clay; Pelletizer; Universal Seeder; Tiller; Spader; Microcombine; Universal Auger (String Trimmer, honey extractor, posthole digger, tree planting auger, slurry mixer, washing machine); Materials-moving Auger; Hay Cutter; Baler; Hay Rake; Loader; Backhoe; Chipper/Hammermill/Stump Grinder Trencher; Open Source Car; CEB Press; Dimensional Sawmill; Cement Mixer; Well-drilling Rig; Nursery; Bakery; Dairy; Inverter; Electrical Motor/Generator; Hydraulic Motors and Cylinders (50 total)

Project status is defined based on these necessary steps: (1) Conceptual design – schematics, diagrams; (2) Recruitment of Subject Matter Expert (SME) engineer or designer (3) Model of concept; (4) CAD design and fabrication drawings; (5) peer review; (6) Identification of SME fabricator or prototyper; (7) fabrication; (8) field testing; (9) iteration up to 3 prototypes prior to Full Product Release. A summary table for project status is shown in the section following the definition of the 50 technologies.

Pattern Language

A pattern language is a structured method of communicating good design practices within a field of expertise. The authors point out 3 salient pattern languages that contribute to the design of the GVCS: (1), mechanical equipment pattern language; (2), power electronics pattern language, and (3), flexible fabrication pattern language. By understanding these languages, the user gains the capacity to understand, design, build from modules, modify, and adapt any tools associated with the particular pattern.

The mechanical equipment pattern language is a set of patterns that underlies the mechanical infrastructure (LifeTrac open source tractor and others). It may be described as these main patterns:

  • Interchangeable power units (Power Cubes) can power any device (tractor, car, microtractor, bulldozer, sawmill, power generator, and any other implements)

  • Modularity – functional modules, such as power units, motors, and implements – function as modules that can be put together in various combination to create functional devices.

  • Hydraulic power is used throughout. This allows for plug-and-play interchange of hydraulic motors and cylinders, as well as control valves – between different devices. This allows one to compose a mechanical device from a number of building modules.

  • Design-for-disassembly – bolt-together design allows for the modification of devices, for easy repair and replacement of parts, and for disassembling a device for shipment.

The power electronics pattern language is the language that allows the composition of a Universal Power Supply – a device that powers any electrical devices such as: induction furnace, welder, laser cutter, plasma cutter, inverter, converter, charger, wind turbine charge controller, electric motor controller, and others. The Power Electronics Construction Set (PECS) is the set of techniques and tools for building such a Universal Power Supply. The pattern involved is:

  • Allowance for quick-connect input and output of electrical power of any magnitude, including DC and AC of any frequency

  • All functinality occurs via plug-in 'black boxes' of functionality

    • All control of current, voltage, frequency, and timing occurs internally via a number of modules with quick-connect inputs and outputs

  • Current and voltage magnitude scaling is achieved by plug-in addition of components

  • Repair of sensitive components is achievable via plug-in of components

  • Mechanical clamp-down secures sensitive components and heat sinks

  • Scalable cooling mechanism is achieved via plug-in fans or liquid cooling.

The flexible fabrication pattern language allows one to understand and to perform on-demand fabrication of anything from scrap steel as a feedstock:

  • Induction furnace followed by hot metal processing allows for the generation of virgin raw metal, alloys, and forged or cast parts

  • Surface grinder generates precision metal from raw virgin metal

  • 3D scanner or CAD produces toolpath files for CNC metal fabrication and 3D printing in plastic

  • Cutting and ironworking prepares stock metal for assembly, via welding or fasteners such as bolts

  • Manual or robotic (torch table or robotic arm) welding and torching produces components and assemblies

  • Circuit mill produces circuits for electrical devices

  • Precision parts, structural assemblies, electronics, and plastic components are assembled from open source plans to produce any mechanical or electromechanical tool or device, including CNC machines, cars, tractors, or laser cutters.

Tool Selection Process

Take each need of an advanced civilization infrastructure. Think of the easiest way to provide that need. Think carefully about OSE Specifications for hardware.  Then limit yourself to 50 tools to provide the whole set. You will find then that you will come up with a very similar list, if not identical.

2.3 – Salient features:

  • Open Source

  • Minimal but sufficient set

  • Equipment costs are ~8 times lower

  • Capable of producing modern day comforts

  • Allows one to eliminate a need to 'work' if one uses tools to provide needs

  • Can be used to create modern civilization from scrap steel

  • Can be used to extract aluminum from clay – advanced civilization

  • Reduces the cost of living to zero

  • Relies on local resources

2.4 Cost and Comparison to Existing Options

Open source economic development has demonstrated significant cost reduction (~8) of open source products (ref) compared to off-shelf counterparts, under the assumption that DIY assembly is feasible. For example, a commercial 3D printer costs $10k (ref), while the open source counterpart, RepRap, costs $400 in parts (ref).

It may likewise be shown that power electronics devices, such as induction furnace power supplies, cost approximately 10-20 times their component cost.

Thus, if the intellectual property of such devices is open-sourced, and if the devices are redesigned for flexible manufacturability as opposed to mass production – then users end up with significant cost reduction for such products.

The vision of Industry 2.0 via flexible fabrication relies on such cost reduction, and flexible fabrication facilities such as TechShop may become the new productive engine in society.


0-CEB Press

Definition: The Liberator is the world's first, high performance (16 brick per minute), open source, Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) press. It is used to compress clayey soil (20-30% clay by volume) from local or on-site soils into structural masonry (700-1000 PSI) building blocks. The Liberator is a hydraulic press which presses from the bottom to produce 6”x12”x(2-6)” block, and it is fully automatic. It requires only a single tractor operator to produce block – using a front-loader to feed soil into the 6 foot wide hopper. The Liberator is designed-for-disassembly, in that most of the structure is fastened together with bolts. This constitutes lifetime design via easy serviceability, and this allows for crating the machine into a compact package (6'x3'x3') for shipping.

Problem Statement: Housing is the most significant cost in one's life in the Western world. Earth is the most abundant resource that is suitable for the construction of homes. Earth has excellent thermal mass properties, and is extremely durable. Over ½ of the world's entire population lives in some form of earth construction (ref). Many techniques for building with earth2 exist, including cob, adobe, earthbags, earth tubes, and rammed earth. However, all of these techniques are extremely labor intensive – or in the case of rammed earth, both labor and capital-intensive due to the necessity of using forms.

Solution: A CEB press is a solution to rapid production of brick for both natural and industrial-scale construction. Access to CEB machines, along with effective soil-handling infrastructure, allows for rapid, low-cost, high-quality construction from on-site earth. Stabilization with cement may be used for additional weather resistance. Timbrel and other vault techniques may be used to produce roofs out of earth as well. (MIT ref) This has the potential for significant reduction of one's largest, single cost of living, and allows for build-out of communities at minimal material cost. CEB also lends itself to the construction of floors, paved areas, retaining walls, storage structures, or any other structures where a uniform, structural building block is desired.

Further Infromation - Wikipedia, Analysis of Interlocking block construction; Powell and Sons, leading competitor, costs $45k3; The Green Machine;

Project Status and Development Needs: Full Product Release reached in June, 2010. This is the first Full Product Release from Open Source Ecology. 2D CAD drawings are available in dxf format (ref), but need organizing. 3D CAD, complete fabrication blueprints, and fabrication documentation video need to be produced. Architecture drawings for archetypal CEB houses and other structures, as well as building technique4 best practice documentation, are required to assist others in building with CEB. Documentation of CEB construction workflow and ergonomics is also required, as is full documentation of open business models for: (1), CEB machine fabrication; (2) brick production operations; (3) CEB construction enterprises.

Budget: The budget involved in developing The Liberator was approximately $40k, of which $10k went directly to materials, and the rest covered buildup of the entire facility infrastructure starting from raw land and no facilities.


Definition: LifeTrac is a versatile, 4-wheel drive, full-sized, hydraulically-driven, skid-steering tractor of 18-200 hp with optional steel tracks. LifeTrac is intended to be a minimalist but high-performance, lifetime design, design-for-disassembly workhorse and power unit of any land stewardship operation. It features featuring easy serviceability by the user. Its modular nature allows for quick attachment of implements; interchangeability/stackability of multiple power units (Power Cubes) for adopting power level to the task at hand; quick attachment of all hydraulic components via quick-coupling hoses; including quick interchangeability of hydraulic motors for use in other applications. It can be fitted with up to two sets of loader arms. LifeTrac is intended to be used with modern steam engine Power Cube module for fuel flexibility, such that locally-harvested, pelletized biomass crop, such as hay, may be used for fuel. Regarding safety features, LifeTrac replaced the traditional power take-off (PTO) shaft for driving other implements with a detachable hydraulic motor for the same purpose, where this motor may be mounted on the tractor, on the implement, or wherever it is required.

Problem Statement – Industrial tractors are being designed increasingly for planned obsolescence with 10 year lifespans, and the user typically cannot service their own tractor due to complexity of design. Power transmission and engine systems are the dominant failure modes of tractors. Fuel costs are a significant expense of operating a tractor. Capital costs of purchasing tractors typically place their users in debt.

Solution – LifeTrac is designed to be the peoples' tractor. The user is able to service, modify, and produce fuel for the tractor. Gear transmission is replaced with a hydraulic drive train, where quick-connect, flexible hoses are the means of transferring power. Lifetime design (bolt-together construction, modularity) with general purpose parts allows the tractor to be passed down from generation to generation, before its life-cycle is completed as feedstock for the induction furnace. The absolute simplest design facilitates creation of small-scale enterprise for manufacturing these tractors in as little as 3 days of time using a RepLab5 facility. This allows communities to be entirely self-sufficient in their mechanical power infrastructures, while reducing lifetime costs of tractors by a factor of at least 10.

Further Information – Tractor on Wikipedia; skid loader Wikipedia; CADTrac; DIY tractors in post-war Poland

Development Status and Needs – We have completed Prototype I and Prototype II, and have secured an order to fund the building of Prototype III. Prototype I (ref) was an articulated version of the tractor without roll cage, and Prototype II (ref) was an enclosed version with tracks and skid steerin. Prototype II has demonstrated quick-attachment and stackability of power units (ref), as well as interchangeability of wheel motors and control valves via quick-couplers for repurposing in other applications. A complete 3D model of LifeTrac with correct scaling is available (ref). 3D CAD and fabrication drawings are needed. The next steps are fabrication of Prototype III (ref to be blogged), as well as development of toolpath files for producing LifeTrac with CNC torch table assist. Moreover, minor redesign of LifeTrac lends itself to adaptation as a tracked bulldozer – via addition of chain gear reduction to the direct-coupled wheel drive. The next step is CAD drawings addressing outstanding design issues.

Development Brief for LifeTrac Digital Fabrication - Download the LifeTrac Blender file. Then import it into a professional CAD package like Solidworks to generate 2D fabrication drawings, and further, these drawings have to be converted to toolpath (xy) files for a torch table.

The problem requires virtual dismounting the tractor into all of its structural tubing and plates - the components that we will be cut with the torch table. The tubing is 4x4x1/4" mild steel tubing, and the plates are 1/2" mild steel plate plate steel.

The final step is optimizing the cutting strategy based on available stock steel that can fit on a torch table. For example, we can start with a sheet of 1/2" thick steel, not individual plates, for producing all the mounting plates.


Definition - The MicroTrac is a small-scale version of LifeTrac. It is a solution for small-scale agriculture (acre scale), or where land features require a smaller tool than a full-size tractor. The front mount allows for quick attachment of implements, and like LifeTrac, it uses a dismountable power unit, the Power Cube.

Solution - We are scaling down the full-sized LifeTrac to address the need for a microtractor. We are using most of the same components as LifeTrac, except we are shrinking the strucural members – to retain part interchangeability between MicroTrac and LifeTrac.

Further Information – BCS Tiller

Development Status and Needs – We have produced Prototype I (ref), which was a walk-behind version of a micro-tractor. Weight distribution and balance issues indicate that the development path should migrate to a design similar to LifeTrac, except at ~¼ the size. The next step is CAD drawings for the new design.


Definition – A bulldozer is a high-traction, earth-moving machine indispensible to building ponds, berms, or other earth-moving tasks such as building roads or clearing land.

Problem Statement – A bulldozer is an expensive and specialized machine. Few permaculturists have access to such machines, thereby not being able to perform constructive terraforming activities for improving the ecology of landscapes or for mitigating erosion. Renting a bulldozer costs $500 per day plus transport. Access to a bulldozer allows any community to reduce its infrastructure cost significantly.

Solution – The GVCS involves a ready modification of LifeTrac to make it suitable for bulldozing duty. LifeTrac has already been built with high-traction, metal wheel tracks. To allow LifeTrac to have 4-10,000 lbs of pushing force, the drive on LifeTrac must be geared down significantly (3-10 times). The flexible design of LifeTrac allows for an easy retrofit of gearing chain drive, which allows LifeTrac to be converted into a bulldozer at a cost of about $1k, as opposed to $15k for the smallest available commercial bulldozer.

Further Information – See wikipedia;

Development Status and Needs – The LifeTrac platform is at the Prototype II stage of development, which is sufficient for testing the bulldozer-duty retrofit. We are ready for the design stage of the bulldozer with LifeTrac as the base platform for this development.

4-Power Cube

Definition - The Power Cube6 is a universal power unit, and it is a module that can be attached to the LifeTrac, Microtrac, Bulldozer, and Open Source Car (OSCar) platforms. As such, any of these platforms can be used as power sources for other devices, such as workshop tools, power generators, ironworker machines, or any other devices which require a power source. The key to this flexibility is the self-contained nature of the Power Cube, where quick-connect hoses and quick-connect physical mounting allow the Power Cube to be coupled to used with other devices. It has frame-integrated fuel and hydraulic reservoirs. It currently contains an 18 or 27 hp gasoline engine, coupled to a hydraulic pump, and produces fluid flow up to 15 gallons per minute and up to 3000 pounds per square inch (PSI) pressure. It connects to other devices via quick couplers and quick-connect hydraulic hoses. A modern steam engine will be retrofitted as soon as it is developed to allow complete fuel flexibility

Problem Statement and Solution – Power machinery and equipment typically uses dedicated engine units, such that a large number of different engines is required to power a large number of powered equipment. The engine unit is the heart of any powered device.

Solution – By decoupling the power unit from a powered device via quick-attach coupling – it is possible to turn a dedicated power unit into a flexible power module. We have shown proof of concept – in that power units can be shared between different machines. This allows for drastic cost reduction in the overall cost of mechanical infrastructures.

Status – The second prototype of the Power Cube has been built, and we have an order for a Prototype III of the Power Cube, which we will be building at Factor e Farm after April, 2011.

Market analysis - $6k for 10 gpm; $1250 materials cost for OSE


Definition – The GVCS Multimachine is a multipurpose precision CNC machining and metal cutting device. It includes a surface grinder head, CNC lathe, mill, and drill capacity, as well as cold-cut, abrasive, and band saws for metal cutting. The working table is 8 feet long for working on large objects. It is powered by interchangeable hydraulic motors, and it can work along the vertical (mill, drill) or horizonal axis (lathe, saws), and is equipped with an indexing head, rotary table, and digital posting readout.

Problem Statement – A flexible fabrication facility requires a wide array of equipment, and dedicated machinery is typically used. This takes up lots of floor space and involves significant capital cost per each machine.

Solution - The multimachine combines a large amount of fabrication capacity in a small floor space by involving a single structural frame and an oversized, precision motion xyz table. Functionality may be added to this machine when a flexibly-coupled module is added to the machine for each specific function. Thus, the overall machine cost is reduced from a total of about $50k for individual machines to about $5k materials cost for the Multimachine.

Development Status and Needs – We have identified a subject matter expert on precision machining7. Our next step is refining the conceptual design.

6-Ironworker Machine

Definition: An ironworker machine is a device that can cut and punch holes in structural steel on the order of 1” in thickness. An ironworker machine is the central workhorse of any custom fabrication shop, as it allows metal cutting and punching on the time scale of a second, as opposed to drilling or torching, which requires a time scale on the order of a minute. The GVCS multimachine is a 150 ton model that can punch up to 1.5” holes in 1” thick metal, and which can shear up to 12” wide slabs of 1” thickness.

Problem Statement – A professional Ironworker machine costs on the order of $20k8, so it constitutes a significant capital investment for any flexible fabrication shop.

Solution – Open-sourcing an ironworker machine results in drastic cost reduction, allowing an entire RepLab to be produced for under $50k, as opposed to about $400k for the industrial counterparts.

Development Status and Needs - Factor e Farm (FeF) has already built and field tested Prototype I9 of the 150 ton hole puncher. We have gone up to 1” holes in 1/2” steel, and our next steps include destructive testing for the maximum capacity of Prototype I. We have not yet begun on a design of the metal shear component, which we aim to integrate into the existing design of the holepuncher.


Definition – RepTab is an open source, CNC torch table and CNC router table. The torch table has a light frame design, as torching is a non-contact process. The router table version is based on the torch table design, except it is more stiff in order to handle side loads associated with material routing. Both are designed to be self-replicating, in that all the metal required to assemble the torch table can be cut on the torch table itself. The design is bolt-together, such that minimal fabrication is required to build this CNC device.

Development status and needs – Prototype I of RepTab10 has been built, but has not been operated successfully because the radiation emitted by the plasma cutter that was used with the table caused electronics failure. We will finish Prototype I by retrofitting it with open source stepper motor controllers11, which we aim to build from open source plans using a CNC circuit mill for the prototype controller circuit.

8-3D Printer

Definition – A 3D printer is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material.[1] We are building a copy of RepRap, short for "replicating rapid prototyper", a 3D printer which prints in plastic and which can print all of its nonmetal components.

Problem Statement – RepRap is working on optimizing its replicability. Part sourcing and standardization remains a challenge in terms of massive replication of the project. By engaging in RepRap building, we aim to help in this process. There is also a number of spinoffs such as MakerBot (ref) and Ultimaker (ref). OSE's goal is to produce a robust kit package for making RepRaps or similar spinoffs. A robust 3D printer is useful in local production of plastic parts, such as plumbing fittings, electronics cases, molds for casting, and a wide variety of useful objects. It is furthermore useful to generate plastic feedstock for RepRap by recycling of plastic waste.

Development Status and Needs – Peter Koeleman is building a prototype RepRap, both Darwin and Mendel versions12.

9-3D Scanner

Definition - A 3D scanner is a device that can generate a 3D digital file by scanning a real-life object. Such a device is useful to generate toolpath files for application in 3D printing and moldless casting - whereby a replica of a 3D object can be produced readily from an original.

Problem Statement – Open source scanner designs exist13 but they may not be sufficiently robust for generating fabrication files. Existing open source knowhow should be used as the starting point for designing a high-performance 3D scanner, such as this one.

Development Status and Needs

10-CNC Circuit Mill

Definition – A CNC Circuit mill is a computer-controlled device that can mill circuits and drill component-mounting through-holes on copper-clad circuit boards. Such a mill provides the ability to produce prototype circuits on demand, which can be subsequently populated with electronic components to produce functioning electronic devices.

Further Information – KiCad circuit board design software for Linux;

Project Status and Needs – We are evaluating a mill design14 for replication, and CubeSpawn15 may be another suitable platform. We need to settle on the most efficient solution: accuracy, open source stepper controllers, open source control code, and efficient G-code. Need to identify effective toolchain for milled board production: board design, CAM file generation, CAM software, computer-mill interface.

11-Robotic Arm, UPS

Definition - A robotic arm or industrial robot is a device which can perform certain human tasks - such as welding or milling of castings for metal casting. A robotic arm is part of fabrication automation and optimization, allowing the creation of effective flexible fabrication enterprise. A robotic arm may be used to reduce human toil or dangers to human health. It is an important part of RepLab.

Problem statement - In the context of sustainable communities, the robotic arm is one of the enablers of flexible fabrication. In centralized production, a robotic arm means loss of jobs. In the shift of the economy to distributive production, it is important to develop an open source robotic arm to handle a wide array of flexible fabrication tasks. While many open source toy robotic arms exist,16 economic significance arises from developing an industrial-scale robot. The goal of this project is to develop such a robot at a cost of under $5k in parts for a heavy-duty robotic arm, as an open source variant of the most advanced industrial robots that cost $100k and up.

Further information -

Development Status and Needs – We are looking for a Subject Matter Expert to design the open source robotic arm.

12-Laser Cutter, UPS

Definition - A laser cutter is an industrial machine that can make precision, finish cuts in a wide array of substrates including metal. A laser cutter is particularly useful for precision cutting that does not warp the metal.

Problem statement – A laser cutter is useful in flexible fabrication operations, but costs $30k17 and up for a 100W model. To this end, the Kickstarter-funded Lasersaur project appears to solve this issue. We are interested in a higher power laser cutter for sheet metal cutting - on the 1 kW scale. Well-organized resources on DIY lasers do exist18, and the key is to identify an SME to help work out a complete open source design.

Status – We are recruiting an SME to consult on the project.

13-MIG Welder UPS

Definition – a MIG welder is a device to bond, or weld, metal by that uses a handle which feeds a wire that is shielded by inert gas. The inert gas prevents weld corrosion in the presence of air. The typical cost is $2k for a welder capable of welding 1” steel. The MIG welder is a key flexible fabrication tool.

Problem Statement – An open source MIG welder will allow for lifetime design and easy maintenance of this key tool. The MIG welder power supply may be designed as a universal

Development Status and Needs – We are currently developing a conceptual design of a MIG welder system. We are assuming that a power generator will be used to provide the electric current.

14-Plasma Cutter UPS

Definition – A plasma cutter is a device to cut metal using a plasma torch.

Problem statement – A plasma cutter is essentially a power supply and a cutting torch. Because power electronics are inexpensive, a power supply for a plasma cutter can be built for about $200 in components. The power supply design should be part of a Univeral Power Supply pattern language.

Solution – To address the need of a wide range of power electronics components in village building enterprises, we are pursuing a Universal Power Supply, wherein a plasma cutter power supply is one of the functions.

Development status and needs - Concept design advisory team is needed to refine a conceptual design based on proven techniques.

15-Induction Furnace

Definition – An induction furnace is is an electrical furnace in which the heat is applied by induction heating of metal. The advantage of the induction furnace is a clean, energy-efficient and well-controllable melting process compared to most other means of metal melting. It allows one to melt scrap steel, thereby providing the capacity to produce virgin metals from scrap feedstock. The flexibility of an induction furnace arises from the ability of an induction furnace power supply to power a wide range of coil geometries for different heating and melting purposes – from the same power supply. An induction furnace is the core of the RepLab package.

Problem Statement – A new 300 kW induction furnace costs about $300k off-shelf (ref), for a melting capacity of 1kg/kW/hr (ref). We believe that we can produce a power power supply for the same at a cost of $5k, given baseline component costs of $1/kW for power-handling transistors.

Further Information – Comprehensive survey – Handbook of Induction Heating, V. Rudnev et al.; includes references (ch. 8) on induction heating power supplies. Melt rate data should be available in this book.

16-Metal Rolling

DefinitionMetal rolling is a metal forming process in which metal stock is passed through a pair of rolls to produce a desired shape, such as flat bar, angle, or u-channel, from a given feedstock. This step can be used with billets produced by an induction furnace to generate structural steel sections. Rolled metal can be combined with welding to produce tubes.

Problem statement – Metal rolling is a centralized industrial process that is done in large-scale (kiloton per day) steel mills. We aim to open-source this technology for use in small-scale (ton per day) flexible fabrication facilities which allow local communities to produce virgin metal from scrap feedstocks.

Development Status and Needs – We are recruiting an SME and organizer for this project.

17-Moldless Casting

Definition - Moldless casting is a casting process for making metal parts, where instead of using a mold, the casting sand with binder is milled with a robotic arm. This allows one to produce castings with computer control assist, on demand, without having to spend time to prepare a mold. Molds are made typically by placing an object into a container, then packing casting sand around the object, and are the bottleneck in the casting process.

Development Status and Needs – We need to recruit a subject matter expert to consult on the project.

18-Rod and Wire Mill

Definition - This is a process for making metal rods and wire. This is a subset of metal rolling, used to make shafts, rebar, thin rods, down to wire. Thin wire can then be produced by wire drawing through a die.

Further InformationRod and Bar Rolling: Theory and Applications, by Y. Lee

Development Status and Needs – We are looking for SME consultants.


Definition: Forging is the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. The simple example is using a hammer and an anvil. Press forging is the application of a shaping die to form metal by applying a continuous pressure or force.

Development Status and Needs – The preferred method of heating is induction heating for flexibility, so the induction furnace is a prerequisite to forging. We are seeking an SME consultant on forging.

20-Modern Steam Engine

Definition – The steam engine is an engine wherein a heat source is used to turn water into steam, and the steam in turn moves reciprocating pistons to provide motive power. The steam engine is an external combustion engine, meaning that fuel combustion does not occur inside the piston, but instead provides heat to a steam generator which feeds the working steam into the engine cylinders. The steam engine was the source of power behind the industrial revolution of the 19th century. The steam engine was replaced by the internal combustion engine in the 20th century, and in the 21st century a water-lubricated steam engine has been developed with thermal efficiency nearing the top diesel engines on the market today.

Problem Statement – The advantages of steam engine include multi-fuel capacity, lower emissions, carbon-neutral operating capacity, water lubrication (no engine oil is required), and quiet operation. The main advantage from the standpoint of resilient communities is self-sufficiency in fuel provision for power needs, including the possibility os using steam engines as the heat engine of choice in solar thermal concentrator electric systems. The problem is that most people associate steam engines with outdated technologies. We aim to demonstrate that an open source, modern steam engine can be a viable and practical engine choice with environmental advantages.

Solution – Developing a scalable, water-lubricated, high efficiency, open source modern steam engine is a worthwhile contribution to humanity.

Development Status and Needs – We have recruited an SME19 for the project, and we are working on a funding proposal.

21-Gasifier burner

Definition – A gasifier burner is an efficient burner that is used to heat the Steam Generator for use with the Modern Steam Engine. This burner is designed to handle pelletized biomass via an automatic hopper, and it can also burn any other solid fuel.

22-Steam Generator

Definition – The Steam Generator is a device that genearates steam with a monotube coil, heated by the gasifier burner.

Problem Statement – A steam generator is the heart of any steam engine. If it designed to be compact, efficient, and lightweight, it can serve as the feed system for stationary or mobile steam engine systems.

23-Solar Turbine

Definition – The Solar Turbine is a solar thermal concentrator (STC) electric system which produces electricity from sunlight. It works by concentrating solar radiation onto a receiver tube by using mirrors. Focused sunlight heats up water to generate steam, which in turn powers a modern steam engine to produce electricity.

Problem Statement – STC electric systems are a commercially-proven technology, which is commercially feasible in sunny areas such as the Southwest USA. Our goal is to reduce the cost of producing such systems by open-sourcing this technology. If the cost of this technology is reduced by a factor of 2, then STC electric systems will be feasible in areas with half the insolation of sunny areas. If this occurs, then STC electric technology will be feasible in most of North America and in most other parts of the world. We aim to reduce the cost not only by a factor of 2, but by a typical factor of 4-8 that we have observed with open-sourcing of other technologies. This indicates that such systems will be feasible not only on the power plant scale, but on the scale of individual homes – providing a robust and inexpensive solar energy solution to most parts of the world.

Solution – Our preferred choice of technology is the linear fresnel reflector (LFR) type solar concentrator system, which uses flat, low-to-the ground mirrors as the reflectors. The primary costs of STC systems are structural costs – which dictate that the requirement for the most economically-feasible system must be a system that optimizes structural costs. The low-lying linear structure of LFR systems fits this criterion, and the LFR design is the most cost-effective option compared to parabolic, dish, or other curved reflector systems.

Proposal Brief -

24-50 kW Wind Turbine

Definition – A wind turbine is a device that produces electrical power from wind energy, where the wind turns propellers that drive electrical generators.

Problem Statement – Wind is an environmentally-benign source for generating electrical power. While several plans for small (kW scale) scale exist (ref), these do not come with open source charge control systems, and no proven designs exist for larger (tens of kW) wind power systems. Our goal is to produce a scalable 50 kW system, including blades and associated power electronics - as the smallest implementation of a system for a community of 10 housing units.

25-Extraction of Aluminum from Clay

Definition – Clay consists of aluminosilicate. Aluminum may be extracted from aluminosilicate via a closed-loop leaching process. This process may be used to convert abundant clay into aluminum oxide (bauxite), which is then smelted by the traditional Hall-Herault process to make pure aluminum.

Problem Statement – Aluminum is the most abundant element in the earth's crust, and closed-loop production of aluminum from clay is desirable from the standpoint of enabling local metal production in any community with a clay resource. The solution to this capacity is the

Solution - By using the solar turbine for electrical power generation, 2000 lbs of pure aliminum may be produced in a 6000 square foot facility. The energy requirements of this aluminum production process may be covered by a ¼ acre solar turbine system.

Proposal Brief – A prototype bench-top model which demonstrates the production of 1 lb of aluminum per day from clay may be deployed within a budget of about $35k:



Consulting fee for SME

100 hours, or $10k

Facilities cost at a supporting laboratory




Dedicated Equipment and Suppleis (labware, Hall-Herault process cell)




To continue the project, a pilot plant may be built for about $60k, not counting the facility structure and heavy equipment for materials handling:



Process equipment – materials preparation


Process equipment including inert container vessels


Mechanical systems


Ion exchange system


Hall-Herault process cell




The operating costs of a facility that produces 2000 lb of aluminum per day are approximately $100 per day plus labor.


Definition – A pelletizer is a device that compresses small particles of biomass or other substances to compact, flowable pellets. We are developing a rotary die pelletizer, where pellets are made by the action of a stationary roller upon a rotating die. We are developing a scalable pelletizer, at ~$800 materials cost, compatible with the LifeTrac power infrastructure, capable of producing 6000 lbs of pellets per day. This volume of production allows one to produce about 500 gallons-equivalent of fuel for tractors and cars in the form of pelletized biomass, or pellets for other applications, such as fertilizer, feed, and other purposes. This system produces at least $1000 of value per day.

Problem statement – Biomass is the most productive and ecological fuel source known to humankind, yet fossil fuels are being used instead of the more ecological alternative. Humankind has not yet demonstrated the feasibility of biomass as a replicable fuel source because: (1) biomass-burning engines are not available; (2) people have not figured out a way to produce biomass fuel without infringing on food crop production.

Solution – By transitioning to biomass-burning, modern steam engines, and by designing perennial polyculture food systems with biomass byproduct, it is possible to address the 2 issues presented in the problem statement. To address the second point, it should be noted that polyculture systems may be designed to produce higher yields than annuals, where both food and fuel crop is considered simultaneously. Moreover, biomass is carbon and materials neutral, as carbon emitted in biomass burning is absorbed by future crops, and minerals in the biomass are recycled into the soil by returning the ash back to agriculture fields. While this solution may appear pedestrian, we are pursuing this as proof of concept that biomass fuels, combined with solar turbine electricity, are sufficient to meet energy and fuel needs of modern civilization.

27-Universal Seeder

Definition – A universal seeder is a tractor-pulled seeder than can handle any seed, from small seeds like clover to large seeds such as potatoes, with spacing either as field crop or row crop. The Universal seeder is scalable in swath width and seed size handling ability.

Problem Statement – Specialized seeders are currently used for different crops. For example, a seed drill is used for wheet, another type of seeder is used for corn, and another seeder is used for potatoes. There is no universal seeder that can handle all types of seed. We aim to develop a swath-scalable seeder that can handle all types of seeds, thereby simplifying the equipment infrastructure required for integrated farming operations.

28-Rototiller and Soil Pulverizer

Definition – A rototiller (ref) is a rotating tiller – a tractor implement that tills soil via rotary action at ~200 rpm. It is used in a one-step process for preparing soil for planting. A soil pulverizer is a fast rotating tiller (~600 rpm) that is used to pulverize soil to a fine consistency, in preparation for pressing Compressed Earth Bricks (CEBs).

Problem Statement – A rototiller is one of the many implements for a tractor, and is part of a general agriculture infrastructure. In the GVCS program, the rototiller is an add-on module to a front loader, with interchangeability of hydraulic motors to provide different speeds. The rototiller can be fitted with different tine sets for different purposes, such as tilling for agriculture, weed control, soil puverization for CEB construction, and others. In the soil pulverization function, the tines could be chains – such that stalling of the tines in hard soil is eliminated completely.


Definition – A spader is a set of mechanical shovels that prepare soil for planting without causing a hardpan typical of rototiller tilling. The spader is the most advanced form of mechanical cultivation.

Problem Statement - Agricultural spaders at the 40 hp and above range are expensive ($10k and up). An open source version has favorable cost reduction properties, especially if detachable hydraulic motors are used.


Definition – A micro-combine is a small-scale combine, with a cutting swath of about 2-6 feet in width. A combine is a combination harvester (cutter) and thresher, and consists of a cutting element, auger, rotating drum for threshing, and a fan for winnowing.

Problem Statement - A micro-combine is useful in small-scale agriculture (acre scale), where a full-sized combine is too large or where land features prevent the use of a full-sized combine. The micro-combine should be adjustable readily for different crops, so that it becomes feasible for farming operation to produce a diverse array of grain crops. This is currently not feasible in modern agriculture, where the cost of a combine, and difficulty in adjusting a combine to multiple crops, eliminates diversified field crop operations from existence. Moreover, combines and microcombines are expensive ($25k and up, new (ref)) Used combines are not recommended due to mainenance costs, as dictated by their complexity. A flexible, low-cost micro-combine could enable Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) (ref) operations to diversify into grain production.

Solution – A hydraulically-driven combine with independently-driven sickle bar, augers, drum, and fan is both easier to fabricate than a standard combine, and easier to adjust because each component may be adjusted independently.

31-Universal Rotor

Definition – A universal Rotor is a tractor-mounted rotor that can be fitted with a wide array of toolheads. The Universal Rotor is designed to be mounted vertically in the up or down orientation, horizontally either to the right or left, and in the forward orientation for a wide array of tasks: String Trimmer, honey extractor, posthole digger, tree planting auger, slurry mixer, washing machine, power take-off, stump grinder, rock drill, and a number of other purposes. It must feature heavy-duty construction and easy change of orientation.

Problem Statement – A large number of implements consist of a motor with some kind of a rotor attached. These implements are typically sold as complete units, but hudraulic drive allows for wide adaptability in the range of uses for a single rotor with interchangeable motor and bits. Thus, it is useful to have a single rotor, with a couple of motors and a wide array of working rotor elements, instead of a large number of dedicated implements. The existing design with tractor implements is not far from using a set of electric hand drills where every hand drill has a dedicated drill bit, instead of the drill bits being interchangeable with a single electric hand drill. Cost reduction by a factor of over 10x is feasible by using this strategy, as there is no point to have an entire set of dedicated implements when the only difference in these implements is the nature of the work head.

Solution – A flexibly-designed, overbuilt, single rotor is sufficient to accommodate a wide range of functions at less than 1/10 of the cost of dedicated implements.

32-Materials-moving Auger

Definition – A materials-moving auger is a device for moving materials via screw action of a screw-shaped flighting. This is relevant to pellet feeders for pellet burners, for collecting cut hay in a baler, for moving grain out of the threshing drum of a combine, and for many other materials-moving operations.

Problem statement – By designing an auger as an attachable module, one can use a single basic design in a number of applications. An auger is an important materials handling device whose production should be open-sourced to allow for low cost maintenance of one's equipment base.


Definition – A baler is a device that compresses hay and other light materials into more compact bales (cubes or rolls). Hay bales and straw bales are used as storage of biomass crop for animal feed. A baler is an essential part of any integrated agriculture opration.

Problem Statement – We are designing a flexible baler for use with the LifeTrac infrastructure. This bales is hydraulically driven, so that it does not require a power take-off shaft. We are considering hydraulic cylinders for the compression mechanism, since that is a simple and robust way to perform the compression function. We are interested in designing a modular, design-for-disassembly baler, where each major component is attachable as a module, such as: (1), hay cutting module; (2) materials-moving auger; (3) compression chamber; (4) tying mechanism.

Development Status and Needs – The baler is being designed in a modular tool with detachable hydraulic motors. We have not done any design work on the tying module yet needs to be developed.

Conceptual Diagram and Proposal Brief -

35-Hay Rake

Definition – A hay rake is a mechanical implement for a tractor that rakes hay or other light materials into windrows or other formations for drying or baling.

Problem Statement – A hay rake is an essential part of any agricultural operation where biomass haying is required, such as for food, fodder, or fuel production.


Definition – A loader is a bucket attachment to a tractor that can be used for digging or loading of soil and other loose materials. This provides an essential materials-handling operation in any agricuture, construction, or other utility application.

materials loading.

Problem Statement – For maximum flexibility, we are building a quick-attach version of a loader bucket. We are also designing the bucket to accommodate a tooth bar, the soil pulverizer, and other possible applications.

Devopment Status and Needs- We have built a bucket for the soil pulverizer20 prototype II. We need to finalize a quick-attach standard so that all LifeTrac implement attachment is uniform, and subsequently to publish complete fabrication drawings for the loader bucket.


Definition – A backhoe is a piece of excavating equipment or digger consisting of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm. It is an implement for digging trenches or large holes in the ground for foundations and other applications.


Definition – A tree chipper or wood chipper is a machine used for reducing wood (generally tree limbs or trunks) into smaller parts, such as wood chips or sawdust. A hammermill is a machine whose purpose is to shred or crush aggregate material into smaller pieces via the action of swinging hammers.

Problem Statement – To maximize flexibility, a flexible chipper or hammermill may be designed such that a universal rotor mounted on 2 ends may be used with interchangeable blades. Thus, a single device can function as a hammermill, chipper, or other shredding device. To make this feasible, a quick-interchange mechanism must be designed. The esiest route is to slip the blade set on and off the shaft, by removing mounting bearings.


Definition – A trencher is a piece of construction equipment used to dig trenches for laying pipe, cable, or drainage. We are building a rock wheel style trencher for trenching in soil and rock.

Problem Statement and Solution– A trencher is a useful piece of equipment for infrastructure-building. We are designing a low-cost, 40 hp version with 3 foot digging depth for about $500 in parts, using the rock wheel design, which is simpler than a digging chain design.

40-Open Source Automobile

Definition – An automobile or car is a wheeled motor vehicle for transporting passengers.

Problem Statement – A car is a useful human invention for on-demand, personal transport. However, cars contribute significantly to carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere, as well as to pollution, congestion, and resource conflicts over liquid fuels. We are designing a high-mileage (75+ miles per gallon), modern-steam, biomass pellet-fueled tilting microcar.

Development Status and Needs – To integrate steam power, biomass fuel, and car chassis development, we need to gather a development team. The Steam Automobile Club of America is a resource with a diverse array of practical and state-of-art talent. To this we need to add the development of a tilting chassis. We have already recruited an SME on the modern steam engine21, which will be our first prototype of the steam engine, to be scaled up to Power Cube requirements.

Further Information and ResourcesHyrban open source fuel cell car

42-Dimensional Sawmill - http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/File:Sawmill_3d_picture_2.jpg

Definition – A dimensional sawmill is a circular blade sawmill for producing dimensional lumber. It consists of two blades attached at a right angle to one another, allowing the production of a dimensional member in one pass of the mill.

Problem Statement – Efficient production of dimensional lumber is desirable for creating the built environment from local resources.

Solution - The dimensional sawmill is a higher yield solution for producing dimensional lumber compared to chainsaw, band, or circular sawmills – as it produces a dimensional piece of lumber in one pass as opposed to two passes, and is capable of processing a log of any size. A dimensional sawmill can also work both in the forward and reverse direction, thus being capable of producing 4x as much wood as a single-edged band sawmill.

Further information – Dimensional sawmill in action - video; peer review of OSE dimensional sawmill at TractorByNet;

43-Cement Mixer

Definition – A concrete mixer (also commonly called a cement mixer) is a device that homogeneously combines cement, aggregate such as sand or gravel, and water to form concrete.

Problem Statement – To optimize the ability to produce concrete on a small scale, a self-loading mixer with weight-batching of ingredients is desirable. The speed of on-site concrete production can be increased by 30% - 40% by the use of a mixer with a batch-loading hopper. This enables the ingredients for one batch to be assembled while another batch is mixing, eliminating the time lost by shoveling materials directly into the mixer drum. Such a mixer may also be used for mixing of other substances, such as soil cement. If it is built sufficiently heavy, it may be used for pulverizing applications such as ball milling.

Development Status – We have identified a subject matter expert who has experience with batching cement mixing systems, and are currently following up on conceptual and CAD design on the wiki22.

44-Well-Drilling Rig

Definition – A well-drilling rig is a device for digging deep water wells.

Problem State1

ment – A water well drilling rig that can dig 300 foot deep wells costs $50k and up (ref), outside of consumer models of dubious performance ($5k, Rockmaster ref). There is no robust, open source well-drilling rig available, outside of shallow, manual drilling rigs (ref). For hydraulic rotary drilling, effective mud pumps are expensive. We aim to open-source the well-drilling rig, to enable DIY water well digging up to 300 foot depths, at a cost of $2k in materials.

45-Permacultural Nursery

Definition – A permacultural nursery is a genetic repository which can be used in efficient self-replication of its entire stock. This nursery includes the 5 kingdoms. For plants, it focuses on useful and edible plants such as fruit, nut, and berry plants, as well as perennial vegetables, herbs, and other useful plants. For our purposes, the nursery provides all the genetic stock for creating hea

Problem Statement – It costs approximately $3k (ref) to provide all the genetic stock for a full, year-round diet for one person. However, once the genetic stock is available, it is self-replicating. With human management and access to agriculture and processing equipment, a full, year-round diet can be provided.

Development Status and Needs – We need a person experienced in plant nursery operations and raising of livestock, from chickens and fowl to goats, cows, pigs, fish, worms, fungi, microbes, algae, and other life forms.

46-Bakery and Grain Products

Definition – A bakery is an establishment which produces or/and sells baked goods from an oven, such as bread and burritos. It is also an excellent small enterprise. In our case, we would like our bakery to diversify into

Problem Statement – Bread is an important staple, and Wonderbread doesn't necessary cut it as nourishing food for resilient communicates.

Development Status and Needs – We need a subject matter experts to design a pellet-fueled gasifier oven, open source dough machine, tortilla machine, pasta machine, potato and corn chip procution, process design, and product line for an integrated grain product operation.

47-Dairy and Products

Definition - A dairy is an establishment used for the harvesting of animal milk—mostly from cows or goats—for human consumption. Dairy products include butter, ghee, cheeses, yogurt, kefir, and others.

Problem statement – Goats and cows are relatvely easy to manage, but managing these efficiently is much harder. The open source dairy includes milking machines and efficient design of the operation, especially rotational fencing strategy.]

Development Status and Needs – We need to recruit someone with experience in livestock management, dairy operations, and dairy processing.


Definition – An inverter is an electrical device that converts DC voltage from batteries to AC voltage for off-shelf electrical tools and appliances.

Problem Statement – Off-shelf inverters have about a 2 year lifetime (ref), and 5-10 year lifetime for higher quality models (ref). Lifetime design inverters with plug-in replacement components are required for sustainable communities which use battery storage for electricity. The only other feasible, non-battery, non-fuel energy storage may be via heat storage coupled to thermoelectric generators.

Development Status and Needs – We need to identify a subject matter expert with experience in inverter design.

49-Electric Motor/Generator

Definition – An electrical motor/generator is a device that functions as a DC motor when energized with DC voltage, which can also function as an electrical generator when it is spun.

Problem statement – A range of different DC motors and generators are required to generate power and to drive different devices. For our purposes, we need a generator for the 50kW wind turbine, Solar Turbine, and Modern Steam Electric Generator, Power Take-Off Generator. We also need items such as electric motors for common appliances; low-speed, high-torque pancake motors; electric car motors; fan motors, pump motors, etc. Having a universal Electric Motor Construction Set is a great asset to any community. Such a construction set would be applicable to the design and fabrication of any type of electric motor.

Development Status and Needs – Rotor and core fabrication, copper winding, scaling strategies, electromagnetic simulators for modeling motors, and other aspects of electric motor and fabrication need to be developed. Subject matter experts familiar with electric motor and generator design need to be recruited.

50-Hydraulic Motors and Cylinders

Definition – A hydraulic motor is a mechanical actuator that converts hydraulic pressure and flow into torque and angular displacement (rotation). A hydraulic cylinder (also known as a linear hydraulic motor) is a mechanical actuator that provides a linear force. These devices are the core of drive systems for hydraulically-powered equipment.

Problem Statement – With access to CNC machining techniques and other automation, it is possible to fabricate hydraulic motors at low cost. It is useful to reduce this cost in order to produce low-cost hydraulic devices.

Development Status and Needs – We need to identify a subject matter expert with experience in hydraulic motor/hydraulic cylinder design and fabrication


Status: Status numbers (1-22) refer to the following Levels of Completion. For each Level of Completion, 1-4 is used, and refers to the prototype developed, where 4 refers to Full Product Release.




Project Manager recruited for project work-flow management


Subject Matter Expert recruited for consultation on matters of technical development


CAD Drafstperson/Designer recruited for lifetime-design, design-for-modularity, design-for-disassembly (for repairability and packaging purposes), design-for-manufacturability (using stock components and easiest techniques), design for manual assembly


Project Developer recruited as the main overseer of project direction and quality control for adherence to OSE Specificiations


Marketing Support Generalist recruited for stakeholder identification and evangelizing for crowd donations. Marketing consists of identifying potential users of a given product so that these potential users can be tapped for supporting product development.


Conceptual design, diagrams, performance calculations, and performance specifications drawn up.


Project Budget proposed


Proposal Brief with problem statement, solution (design rationale), budget, and team completed and ready for low-risk funding - including crowd, non-profit channels, and gifts. Developer contract signed. Problem statement defines the basic need and solution defines how the need is met.


Funding secured. Funding allows rapid development by contract.


CAD drawings completed. This is the core of design – the CAD drawing and model for the technology being developed.


Design rationale documented. Design rationale explains what choices were made why they were made for a particular instantiation of a given technology.


Fabrication Drawings completed. Fabrication drawings are drawn automatically from the CAD design.


Bill of Materials. This is a complete list of parts and their costs.


Sourcing Information. Sourcing refers to where the parts or components for building devices were obtained from.


Peer review. Peer review evaluates steps 6-13 and makes improvement suggestions. This is useful both in improving design and in documenting how negative feedback may be addressed with creative solutions.


Failure Mode Effects Analysis. This is an analysis that examines possible failure modes of a design, and how they affect the outcome of the development project. Such analysis may abort a development path and suggest an alternative for overall design or component design.


Prototype fabrication. This is the actual build of a technology.


Prototype testing. This refers to field testing under real production conditions, to examine not only machine functionality but also adaptability of different machines to particular working conditions.


Fabrication Instructional Video Completed. Such documentation is directed at those people who are interested in building a certain technology themselves. CAD and CAM files, technology specifications, and the instructional video should be of quality sufficient for successful replication by skilled individuals.


Product manual published. A product manual should cover explanation of how a technology works, operation procedures, safety precautions, maintenance requirements, troubleshooting and repair information.


Fabrication ergonomics documentation. To promote economically-significant replication and production of a given technology, the ergonomics (time and energy requirements) of fabrication should be documented as a function of available production infrastructure.


Fabrication ergonomics optimization. The fabrication procedure should be evolved to the most efficient possible for a given infrastructure. The fabrication infrastructure itself should evolve. Fabrication ergonomics may improve through computer assist (CNC) and automation, with an intended goal that production quality and cost in an on-demand, flexible fabrication facility rivals that of centralized production.


Open Enterprise Model published for production of technology. We are interested in distributive economics, so publishing documentation for enterprise replication is an inherent part of our post-scarcity creation strategy.


Open Enterprise Model published for related enterprise. Related enterprises are those which are not the produciton of a given technology, but the production of the products of a given technology. For example, for the CEB press, related enterprise may be construction services or the selling of bricks as building materials.S


User network development. An internet user group and local user groups should be created for support in using and developing a given technology.



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22





Power Cube



XYZ Table

3D Printer

3D Scanner

CNC Circuit Mill

Robotic Arm

Laser Cutter


Plasma Cutter

Induction Furnace

Metal Rolling

Moldless Casting

Rod and Wire Mill


Modern Steam Engine

Gasifier burner

Steam generator

Solar Turbine

50 kW Wind Turbine


Universal Seeder




Universal Auger

Materials Auger








CEB Press

Dimensional Sawmill

Cement Mixer

Well-drilling Rig




Open Source Car

Electrical Motor/Generator

Hydraulic Motors

Aluminum from Clay

4.0 Product Ecologies

The GVCS consists of 51components. These components function as modules that can be used together in various combinations – such that a minimal number of tools can provide the largest possible array of functions. This is akin to Lego blocks – where a relatively small number of blocks can be used to create a wide array of objects. In this section, we will summarize how each component contributes to creating some of the main infrastructures of civilization. These include agriculture, housing, energy, fuel, personal transportation, fabrication, and others. (descriptions and diagrams of packages; General Problem Statements with significant data)

SECTION 4: Fabrication I and II

The Fabrication Product Ecology involves the complete tool-chain for transforming scrap steel to any electromechanical device, including basic circuits. The tools involved are the: (1) Multimachine; (2), Ironworker Machine; (3), XYZ Table; (4), 3D Printer; (5), 3D Scanner; (6), CNC Circuit Mill; (7), Robotic Arm; (8) Laser Cutter; (9) MIG Welder; (10), Plasma Cutter; (11), Induction Furnace; (12), Metal Rolling; (13), Moldless Casting; (14), Rod and Wire Mill; and (15), Forging.

The basic concept begins with the Flexible Fabrication Pattern Language, which allows one to understand and to perform on-demand fabrication of just about anything from scrap steel as a feedstock, and it includes fabrication of objects in wood, plastic, and others. The general ecologies are as follows. are:

Induction furnace followed by hot metal processing allows for the generation of virgin raw metal, alloys, and forged or cast parts. The induction furnace melts or heats metal. Hot metal processings includes mixing of various metals to generate alloys in the melt. Other processes follow from the melt as the metal is poured and begins to cool:

  • Surface grinder generates precision metal from raw virgin metal

  • 3D scanner or CAD produces toolpath files for CNC metal fabrication and 3D printing in plastic

  • Cutting and ironworking prepares stock metal for assembly, via welding or fasteners such as bolts

  • Manual or robotic (torch table or robotic arm) welding and torching produces components and assemblies

  • Circuit mill produces circuits for electrical devices

  • Precision parts, structural assemblies, electronics, and plastic components are assembled from open source plans to produce any mechanical or electromechanical tool or device, including CNC machines, cars, tractors, or laser cutters.

Solar Turbine, Fuel and Power

Food – General Problem Statement

Housing -


Universal Power Supply

Materials – Aluminum Extraction from Clay

Section 9: Development Team

Core Team:

  • Marcin Jakubowski – Founder and Director

  • Isaiah Saxon – Media Advisor

  • Floyd Earl Smith – Marketing Advisor

Consulting Collaborators

  • Luis Diaz – Business Consultant

  • Judith Katz – Organizational Development Consultant

  • Maya – Marketing

Subject Matter Experts

  • Dan Granett – Precision machining; prototyping

  • Edward McCullough – Extraction of aluminum from clay

  • Cement Mixer – George Gleason

  • James Jones – CubeSpawn fabrication toolchain development; proposed platform for CNC Mill; prototyping

  • William Cleaver – LifeTrac design and fabrication

  • Robotic arm people – SF

Prototyping and Fabrication

  • RepRap – Peter Koeleman prototyping of both Darwin and Mendel versions23

Setcion 10: Strategy

Section 10 Point One: Open Source TechShop Enterprise Concept

The GVCS covers fabrication, permaculture, mechanical equipment, power and fuel equipment, transportation, housing, and others. Strategically speaking, development of the fabrication aspect is the highest priority – as access to the tools of production helps one to build the entire GVCS from scratch at minimum cost (~$100k (ref) for an equivalent infrastructure of $1.5M (ref)). Access to the induction furnace, hot metal processing, and the remainder of the RepLab (Open Source Fab Lab) tools can be developed for $44k in parts (ref)

Strategically and holistically speaking, investment opportunities proposed by our program should consider not only high economic value, but also the greatest good for the world. Development of the open source RepLab fits these requirements.

We can pitch RepLab investment based on the TechShop (ref) concept, but with goals far beyond that of TechShop due to our focus on: (1), a much deeper level of tool diversity (such as induction furnace/hot metal processing, state of art industrial robots, or industrial laser cutters), and (2) parallel development of open source designs for high-performance products, including cars, tractors, CNC machines, renewable energy equipment, all RepLab equipment, and so forth. The combination of these 2 points holds significant promise in terms of creating Industry 2.0 (ref) via flexible fabrication (ref) and distributive production (ref).

The basic investment opportunity involves funding the development of a TechShop-like subscription membership facility. The value of equipment in such a facility is about $1.5M (ref) off the shelf, while it is approximately $50k in materials for the GVCS version, or about $100k if fabrication labor is included by means of flexible fabrication. The tools included are the entire RepLab list, which is shown in the RepLab product ecology. Return on investment is already verified by the fact that TechShop has shown itself to be a viable business venture. In such a model, as little as 100 memberships is sufficient to The added value in our proposition is a business much like TechShop, but with additional tools, and with tools that are desiged to be largely self-replicating in order to facilitate startup of new RepLab subscription enterprises. The innovative nature of this proposition is that by reducing the startup cost of such RepLab facilities, new facilities may be started readily, such that any city or town that has such a facility has a chance to become a beacon of localized industrial capacity, bringing significant wealth to any host community. The key to success in terms of local economic development lies in access to product designs, CAD, and CAM (ref) files, as well as fabricatortraining. The role of OSE in this package is to provide open access to collaboratively-developed, globally-accessible designs/CAD/CAM – in its role as a world-class, open source product development organization for distibutive economics. This is a viable path parallel to centralist, corporate research and development.24

The OSE infrastructure should also focus on providing augmented learning opportunities for fabricators, with virtual reality assist. Thus, the RepLab investment enterprise should have solid backing from OSE for its training infrastructure, and non-profit investment in OSE should consider high-quality documentation and learning aumentation in as deep a way as possible.

The basic business model includes these economics, where Off-Shelf refers to commercially-available tools and equipment that exists prior to the complete build-out of the GVCS:







5000 Square Foot Facility






Legal Costs






To achieve the above, we are proposing the creation of an investor-funded development entity with in-house flexible fabrication and general contracting capacity, with a goal of massive deployment of an open source Industry 2.0 infrastructure around the globe. This seed entity should include in-house flexible fabricators and builders who are trained to: (1), fabricate the RepLab tools; and (2), build the facility using modular CEB construction,25 with startup time of 6 months per facility. In-house fabrication and general contracting capacity is intended to reduce startup cost. This development entity should partner with a nonprofit GVCS development entity, which provides training to fabricators and builders, and which develops the designs for economically-significant, high-performance products. Because of its distributive economics vision, such an investment opportunity should be positioned with ethical, enlightened angel investors as the primary audience. Intended results are technological leapfrogging in the developing world, and economic regeneration/relocalization in the developed and 4th worlds.

Appendix B. GVCS Products and Services – Sample List of Products

Appendix C. GVCS Enterprise Opportunities

Appendix B. Development Team – Subject Matter Experts

Appendix C. Fabricators and Prototypers

Appendix D. Community Design – Enterprises

Appendix E. Reinventing Education – K-Ph.D. Experiential Education Program with AR

Appendix F. FAQ

Appendix G. Lifestyles in the Historical Context.

Appendix H. Publicity Plan, Proposal Readers, Subject Matter Experts, and Recruiting

Appendix I. People Who Need to See this Proposal

Appendix J. Nonprofit Strategy

APPENDIX G. Lifestyles in the Historical Context.

Here’s a Wikipedia article stating that hunter-gatherers only work about 20 hours a week; the paper behind it; and another article stating that the move to agriculture shortened lifespans. Looks like the data is really pretty sketchy though.

APPENDIX H. Publicity Plan, Proposal Audience, Subject Matter Expert Recruiting, Organizatinal Development

Publicity Plan:

  • Factor e Farm Blog

  • Devin Balkind, Sarapis Foundation

  • Sergio Lub, Friendly Favors

  • Larry Santoyo – Permaculture for Humanity

  • The Daily Kos (ref) – George G., True Fan, can post diaries on Daily Kos (progressive Democratic site with > 100,000 subscribers, many in California) going into details of the program and the events etc.  The maximum is one diary per day which theoretically means he can blitz the site with five diaries in the week.

  • Kickstarter (ref), Tim O'Reilly (ref), Boing Boing (ref), MAKE (ref), Worldchanging (ref)... by Isaiah

  • Julia Valentine's Heart Advisory Panel

Proposal Audience:

  • Bob Berkebile

  • Puck Mickleby

  • Tim O'Reilly and Saul

  • Bill G.

  • Glen Gall, Ohio branch

  • Lars MIT Global Challenge

Subject Matter Experts and Co-developers:

Village Design Integrated Proposal

Subject Matter Expert Recruiting

Organizational Development Team

  • Seeking Resource Developers

    • Kendra S.

    • Susan – announcement to be published

    • Contests, Fellowships, and Other Distinctions

  • Marketing Team

  • Media Development – Isaiah

    • Ingite/TED short

    • 8 Minute Explainer – sticking to the facts

    • Full Presentation – Exploratorium, TED

Bay Area Networking

  • Maya Whitner

  • Survival Research Labs

  • Jay Baldwin

  • Sergio Lub

  • Sam Putnam

APPENDIX J. Nonprofit Investment Strategy


With LifeTrac-CEB, Steam Engine Power Cube, Pelletizer, and Basic RepLab Package fully developed, we can promote this as a local economic development package free of dependence on the provider of this package – assuming that proper training and documentation is available. This package allows for locally-fueled, locally-fabricated tractor infrastructure for developing communities, and could be an example of leapfrogging in the 3rd world or economic revitalization in the 1st world. The basic fabrication aspect could provide the components for a tractor, and with the Advanced RepLab package, could provide complete resilience in equipment maintenance that is made possible by the production of virgin steel from scrap resources.

Oxfam provides appropriate infrastructure support to villages, and may be a suitable user of the GVCS:


It would be possible to approach them at some point to introduce a feature where people can buy 1/10th of a tractor for a village in an underprivileged part of the world. they already have many unorthodox appropriate technology "gifts" that they deploy.

1See Appendix : Energy 101

2Gernot Minke reference – Building with Earth

3See http://www.adobemachine.com/ ; quiote obtained from manufacturer.

4We have demonstrated the feasibility of modular CEB construction – see bitly.





11This design looks promising - http://www.piclist.com/techref/io/stepper/hipwrbp-gm.htm









24See The Second Industrial Divide by M. J. Piore.