STEAM Camp - How It Works

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How It Works

  1. Each instructor runs an event in their local area - in the nearest suitable population center or venue
  2. There is one instructor per event and two if the number of registrants is 24 or more.
  3. Each STEAM Camp is 9 days long and requires instructor to be there full time. We also run 4 day events.
  4. Each day is 8 hours of instruction time not counting lunch break
  5. We run 12 events concurrently - to collaborate on projects and share expertise.
  6. Instructors work with OSE to prepare the curriculum - see specifics of curriculum at STEAM Camp 9 Day Curriculum. Current project for the 5 days is the Raspberry Pi tablet. All instructors work openly on the wiki and Google Presentations and using other open source tools to promote open source collaboration.
  7. Each instructor provides relevant technology - most important because technology is the foundation of our product. Without technology, we could not substantiate practical development of open source products.
  8. OSE coordinates this effort, and shares revenue 50/50 with each instructor based on the net revenue of the particular instructor's event. See STEAM Camp Finances. Costs include venue, materials, overhead, and any others.
  9. All curriculum and design is published as open source to promote rapid learning worldwide as a service to humanity. The intent is to make the curriculum available to anyone who wants to teach it, as an open educational resource.

Content and Open Product Development

  1. Each camp has about 3 days of design, 4 days of build, and 2 days of enterprise. First 4 days are collaborative design boot camp - followed by 2 days of project builds - followed by 3 days of transitioning the project to a viable enterprise.
  2. Each Camp builds upon the results of the previous camp. The Projects are improved until economically significant products are created, with production engineering designed for distributed production in open source microfactories, hackerspaces, and fablabs.
  3. The process is collaboration and open source-centric. We are absolutely committed to open source as a vehicle to bring about economic freedom. Any competitive waste or information enclosure (Non-commercial licenses, patents, non-transparency) is simply not part of our game.
  4. We use open source tools, software, and processes. If these do not exist, we work to create them.
  5. We work on simple products that can be manufactured readily using 3D printers and other basic digital fabrication tools. We also recognize the limits, such as 3D printers without professional-grade high-temperature heated chambers are limited. Our solution is to develop the missing tools by upgrading the state of art that is available as open source hardware, until industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale.
  6. We believe in large-scale transformation of economic systems via open source production. For this reason, we start with common, every-day consumer goods - as opposed to exotic innovation or one-of-a-kind gizmo. Our innovation revolves around reworking the production engineering of common goods so that they can be produced in local, flexible, ecological microfactories - as opposed to centralized, specialized factories.

Learning Outcomes

See STEAM Camp 9 Day Curriculum#Learning Outcomes

Why We Are Doing This

  • We cannot think small when it comes to creating distributed microfactories, because creating industrial productivity on a small scale is a big deal
  • We gather a team of open source developers to create the Open Source Microfactory tribe
  • The return-on-investment is the next trillion dollar economy
  • Our vision is distributed open source manufacturing as the next engine of industrial production
  • We believe that distributed production is a prerequisite of a democratic society
  • We believe that eradicating artificial scarcity is a prerequisite for evolving as humans, and that this can be done by addressing the material security of civilization to free people to pursue self-determination. We believe that this can be accomplished through economic freedom - the last of the 4 Freedoms of Open Source
  • Our goal is to solve the last unsolved frontier of the economy: equitable distribution. We believe that a historic transfer of wealth from the few to the many is both ethical and inevitable.


  • See STEAM Camp Preparation
  • OSE ships kits to instructors (for all participants) 2 weeks prior to the event.
  • Instructors reserve a suitable venue, and OSE pays for the venue
  • Instructors present at the entire 9 day event from 9 AM to 6 PM each day.
  • Instructors are paid in full upon completion of the event.
  • All instructors cover a refundable $400 for a sample kit to build all the projects from all other instructors. Refund is offered if kit is sent back to OSE after the STEAM Camp.

Time Commitment

  1. Minimum of 20 hours of time to prepare for the event, depending on the skill set of the Instructor. If the Instructor is preparing prototypes, that will likely take more time.
  2. Time to learn the curriculum of all the other instructors to present effectively and to lead the builds
  3. 9 day time commitment during the event
  4. Please see the STEAM Camp 9 Day Curriculum to get a better idea of what knowledge is required.

Instructor Duties

  1. Preparing curriculum and prototypes that will be used during the STEAM Camp (if any are required). The level of completeness is such that the projects that we build will work, and that the curriculum/build procedures are teachable to the other instructors
  2. Practice building of projects from other instructors, in order to teach these projects
  3. Study of the material presented by the other instructors to teach their material effectively
  4. Identifying, and securing with OSE's oversight - suitable a venue for the STEAM Camp
  5. Shipping their curriculum to OSE for evaluation and approval, so that the technology can be spread to the other instructors
  6. Assisting OSE in marketing by spreading the word through available channels
  7. Meeting several times online to coordinate/learn/prepare curriculum with other instructors
  8. Teaching during the 9 day camp
  9. Releasing all designs and work (including written curriculum) under a CC-BY-SA or other OSHWA and OSI-compliant open source license.

OSE Duties

  1. Coordinating the development process of the STEAM Camp and setting up an organizational structure (nonprofit 501c3, already established) to organize, run, market, and scale the effort
  2. Creating online presence at the main OSE website for registration and information
  3. Marketing through OSE social media, email list, and other contract marketing
  4. Approving and paying for the venue selected by the Instructor
  5. Preparing publicity materials and social media assets for Instructors to use on their channels
  6. Event posting of all events on Eventzilla
  7. Shipping kits for as many registrants as sign up
  8. Customer support for registrations

Organizational and Legal

  1. The role of OSE is to create the organizational infrastructure (operations, admin, marketing, curriculum development, open source product development) that sustains and grows the STEAM Camps - as a general platform to disseminate collaborative product development skills throughout society - as a means to creating the collaborative economy.
  2. Initially, Instructors serve as independent contractors who run the STEAM Camp according to a performance contract. However, we would like to evolve the Instructor team to work with us as partners, where Instructors handle most of the organizational work. We envision an open source franchise where OSE provides the product package and branding - and the Instructors are independent partners who are franchisees in the STEAM Camps. The specifics of benefits, roles, and requirements for this are being worked out.
  3. OSE is the IP holder for all the knowledge generated. Translation: for legal purposes, some entity holds the intellectual property (IP) of the content. OSE is that entity. ALL of OSE's know-how is published open source under OSHWA and OSI compliant licenses.
  4. We are looking for funding to help develop the curriculum to improve the quality of the student experience. All of the curriculum is already developed to some extent - but it needs to be adapted to fit with the OSE design system as a tight and cohesive package. That means modifications and adaptations to run on a minimalistic hardware platform for easy replication and low cost.
  5. Phase 1 Current revenue share is 50/50 of the net between each instructor and OSE. Instructors serve as independent contractors.
  6. All of our materials are published under open source licenses, such that any other parties can adapt and modify our work. This is good from the OSE perspective if others are designing additional products for the Open Source Everything Store, which is based on distributed manufacturing.
  7. In Phase 2 - OSE intends to scale and open-franchise the STEAM Camps. We are currently planning on a 12.5% franchise fee based on gross revenue of future workshops for running the workshops under the OSE brand, where OSE provides the entire product package to support entrepreneurs. Others are welcome to run these workshops independently, based on our open blueprints. The franchise fee funds the creation of an open source product development platform.
  8. OSE provides ongoing product development, marketing assistance, training, startup assistance, kit production, and other enterprise support for franchisees, while building an open source product development capacity to shift the economic paradigm from proprietary to collaborative. Ongoing, regular Incentive Challenges are part of the support infrastructure in OSE's open source product development pipeline.

Risk Share

In an entrepreneurial spirit, this is a risk-share endeavor for Instructors. In Phase 1, we develop the event together - so we are all responsible for its success. Participating does not mean that OSE is guaranteeing success. We are all in it together to succeed - based on the promise that with each successive open source design and build - the whole program improves continuously. While the first 4 days may stabilize - the 5 project days will always keep pushing the limits of product improvement or new products. The end goal is commercial-grade product with distributed production. The more successful the event, everyone gets paid more in the 50/50 revenue share. The revenue share is 50/50 between an instructor and OSE for each individual event that the instructor runs. The products that we develop contribute to the Open Source Everything Store - using open source product design and production engineering for the open source economy.

Larger Picture

OSE is developing STEAM Camps, Incentive Challenges, and Extreme Build events - as a way towards scalable, open source product development. OSE uses the STEAM Camps as a spring-board for training in open collaboration. STEAM Camps also train people to participate in Incentive Challenges as the preferred way to large-scale collaboration. The incentive challenges must be resourced sufficiently to deliver a working product - as a solid foundation for an enterprise. This means that the incentive challenge will be designed to offer enterprise startup support. The Extreme Builds are large scale prototyping events - similar to conferences - but dedicated to rapid prototyping of ambitious designs.

The approach of running incentive challenges is based on OSE's learnings that typical open source product development effort is difficult to complete for reasons of contributor continuity and resources. The missing link is often a lack of financial feedback loops. Typical open source hardware projects rely on a heroic core team that does most of the work, due to the significant barriers to entry for mass participation in open hardware development. Volunteer turnover tends to be high. Thus, open source hardware has enjoyed only a limited level of success in terms of rapid, large-scale collaboration. And because taking projects from prototype to product requires a herculean effort - most open hardware remain as projects-in-development - not products. (Not to mention the enclosure of open source by many who get close to a final product). By injecting more resources into the development effort in the form of a well-funded incentive challenge, we aim to (1) break the participation barrier, and (2) assure product completion. The keys to success are a massive transformative purpose, and highly modular breakdown that allows many people to collaborate effectively in parallel.

Instructor Vetting

In the STEAM Camp program, vetting of instructors is essentially self-executing. We select qualified open source developers and allies as instructors - and their capacity is demonstrated by their ability to deliver their curriculum. This becomes evident via transparent logging, the Kickoff Meeting, curriculum submission, and collaboration with the rest of the team. After OSE approves everyone's Curriculum Submission - we open the event on Eventzilla for registration. OSE's role is to maintain quality control standards in delivering events.

See also


  • Are there any hidden costs here? There is no cost outside of building D3D Universal. Instructors can build one themselves from our instructions, or procure a ready-to-build kit from OSE After that, it's 50/50 revenue share with instructors, as projected in the STEAM Camp Finances.
  • What are your expectations from a collaborator running the Open Source Microfactory STEAM Camp? First, we need to secure a location that can accommodate a minimum of 12 people, with a 1m x 2m work space for each participant. The venue must have internet so we can collaborate in real-time with other teams worldwide. Second, you will need an Instructor who can teach the entire program. Third, the Instructor needs to study the curriculum in order to do the teaching - and do a practice build - from a kit shipped to the Instructor - of all the projects that the Instructor will be leading during the STEAM Camp. Fourth, the Instructor is required to prepare a small part of the overall curriculum and teach the lesson plans to other Instructors who will be running the STEAM Camp in other cities. For new instructors, it may be a good idea to attend a STEAM Camp first to learn more about it.
  • What do you pay instructors? Are there any out-of-pocket costs for instructors? We do a 50/50 revenue share of the net revenue from the Instructor's specific STEAM Camp, as shown at STEAM_Camp_Finances, where the amount is determined by actual registrations and costs. There is a refundable kit fee or up to $400 for the kit) for the Practice Kit, which is refundable within 30 days of event completion. OSE covers the venue costs, marketing, and admin. Instructors are paid upon completion of the event. The kit cost is counted as a cost prior to 50/50 revenue share. Kit Cost Notes.
  • It looks like the budget to a space is $1000, right? What special equipment is needed to get started? Yes, the budget for a space is $1000. It may be more or less, depending on whether the Instructor has their own space such as a workshop or a fab lab. No special equipment is required. The kits that are shipped to each instructor include all the parts and tools that are needed. Only small hand tools are needed: adjustable wrench, wire cutters, scissors, allan wrenches, screwdrivers. Therefore, the main requirement is sufficient workspace for 12-24 participants.
  • How do you assure that the ambitious builds of the STEAM Camp will be completed on time to satisfactory results? We test everything prior to the STEAM Camp. In the preparation cycle up to the STEAM Camp - see STEAM_Camp_Preparation, time is allotted for any required prototyping to reach the stage of a fully tested kit that can be built within the time frames allotted in the 9 Day STEAM Camp Curriculum. For this to happen, each collaborating Instructor has 3 roles. First, if the Instructor agrees to develop a small part of the curriculum, and if that part of the curriculum involves a build, they are required to submit a working prototype and build instructions to OSE. OSE staff then reviews the curriculum and builds out the prototypes, checks whether necessary quality control can be achieved readily for replicable results, and determines whether the build can be done in the allowed time frame. Second - if the prototype does not meet the requirements of a replicable and timely build, OSE and the Instructor collaborate until the desired performance is achieved. Third, after all prototypes from the different curriculum modules are tested, OSE prepares complete Practice Kits consisting of all the curriculum modules. The practice kits are shipped to each instructor. Each instructor must verify the OSE test results - to assure that each instructor is capable of a replicable and timely build. Once the instructor demonstrates this ability by submitting build timelapses and results vlogs - then that instructor is certified to run the STEAM Camp and the registration is opened online for that instructor's STEAM Camp.

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