On-Site Fabrication at Factor e Farm
After initial experience with the May 2011 Production Run, clear bootstrap funding potential is evident:
- Experiment shows that unskilled fabricators can enter the project and perform meaningful fabrication tasks under the condition that enough organization is provided for people to take on easy fabrication tasks - like cutting, bolting, drilling, grinding, measuring, and even tack welding.
- Experiment shows that improving the organizational infrastructure (well-organized workspace, proper tool repositories, clear tool labeling, dedicated workspaces) can increase productivity 30-50% over this initial production run, and jigs can easily improve the productivity by 500% (such as Power Cube cube structure jig).
- Presold orders generate about $5k net value (tractor, CEB press) per order.
- Workspace can be set up for 4 people using low-cost modular CEB construction or post-and-beam construction at $500 per 256 sq foot workshop section
- 4 unskilled people can generate $5k/month/person easily with proper guidance.
To facilitate the above, our next steps are:
- Build effective workspace, add fabrication equipment and shop power for 4-8 people
- Produce instructional videos for each of the fabrication steps. Provide access to a laptop at each work station.
- Add digital projector to project augmented reality (bolt hole locations, patterns, etc) onto workspace - this is entry-level AR coming into play. This should be done in the second phase of optimization, after the workspace, tooling, and instructionals are perfected.
Therefore, a paramount need emerges: developing quality instructionals for every fabrication step. This leads to the new direction of Factor e Farm - DDPV - Dedicated Documentation Project Visits. These consist of video, CAD, and detailed fab drawing generation, plus CAM file generation. The bottom line is a clear path to $20-40k/month bootstrap funding from a comfortable pace of work, which still allows time for other R&D activities. This assumes presence of preorders, infrastructure for which should also be established.
The above scenario could be: 4 full time fabricators on site; 4 R&D people burning through generated cash to fast-track GVCS development. There is clear evidence that the above is scalable to 1-2 people absorbed per month.