Open Source Microfactory Narrative

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3D printing and open source micromanufacturing, in their infancy, have great potential for distributing production. We start with a 3D printer, learn how to build one, and set up an online printing service for producing parts. In order to expand our enterprise - and enable the printing of large objects at low cost - we diversify into producing 3D printing filament from scrap plastic. We grind down scrap plastic, extrude it into 3D printing filament with our filament maker, and then wind it onto spools with the filament winder. Produced at a cost of only 10 cents per lb - we have inexpensive 3D printing filament that is almost free. So we can run an online 3D printing service successfully.

Can we then develop high value products that are competitive with standard consumer goods? That is our goal. So we collaborate on the Open Source Everything Store, where we design a whole catalog of products that compete with Amazon and Walmart - but are designed and produced locally. Household consumer goods total a $20T global market - so the pie is large and there is plenty of room for collaboration. It turns out that with 3D printing, a CNC Circuit Mill, and a small laser cutter/engraver - and readily available, off-the-shelf parts - we can produce a whole range of useful products, and thus begin to effect manufacturing in a substantial way. We are excited, and want to spread the word. So we run public workshops teaching people to build these machines, and how to design products that can be made with these machines - using a completely open source toolchain. We take this to our local libraries, schools, events - and involve thousands of people in collaborative product design. We teach people about massive parallel swarm-based development techniques - and every child and grandmother begin designing their own products and publishing the plans on the internet for free. The depth of local manufacturing increases - and people begin making more of the parts that would normally be purchased - such as motors and power supplies. We democratize the face of manufacturing - converting consumers to producers...

That is the narrative we'd like to see happen, and the 1 week OSE Boot Camp is an introduction to how to do this in practice. We will learn to design and use the open source Level 1 Microfactory, consisting of important desktop manufacturing tools. These tools are: a 3D printer, CNC Circuit Mill, Laser Cutter, and Filament maker. Participants will build a 3D printer to take home with them.

Some may say that this is already happening - but 3D printing and distributed manufacturing has not taken much of a hold in terms of replacing consumer goods. The key is high quality, proven designs - not fringe things on 3D printing websites that in many cases cannot even be printed. The key is engaging enough cooperation - that all the possible products truly become best-in-class - while remaining fully open source. We not only show you that this new mindset is possible - but how to build the actual production tools - and how to leverage massive collaborative development processes - so that we democratize product development on the face of this earth. Perhaps the greatest single impact is environmental - as people learn to build their products - they also know how to fix them - thereby putting an end to the throw-away society - with lifetime design that can be modified, improved, or recycled back into feed-stocks. Our aim in the OSE Boot Camp is to introduce people to the first steps in seizing democratic control of production.