Summer School Planning

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We design and build open source industrial machines, and publish the plans on the internet for free.

This summer, we are offering a one month immersion into hands on skills that take you from your laptop into the world of physical hardware. We will be building of real infrastructure: a 3D printed cordless drill, 3D printed computer tablet, a 3D printer - and then larger machines including the tractor, brick press, and a house.

Over the years, we've been developing open source, community-based building techniques that bring tangible skills back to people. See the OSE founder's TED Talk:

Then we discovered how to build a tractor, or 3D printer - in one day. Or a house - in 5 days. This is what we call Extreme Manufacturing. We're bringing our learnings to you through an immersion summer camp - STEM Camp - or just call it a crazy immersion experience where you learn that you can build yourself - and build your world.



Humanity has excess technology, lots of expertise and plenty of capital. It is simply not evenly distributed and this causes dire problems.

The Solution

In order to peacefully transition to a prosperous global society, we will need a concerted effort to build resilient communities with the moral wherewithal to express and implement a vision for prosperity founded on "Integrated Humans" - populations that have their material and spiritual lives in balance, populations that build diverse and complementary capabilities within individuals and groups all within a common framework with the express purpose of realizing the organic unity of the human race. This endeavour, of course, has many facets and will require audacious and systematic collaboration across disciplines traditionally separated by strong societal and psychological barriers.

OSE's Contribution - The FeF Summer School

The focus of the FeF Summer School is to lend to this process through the medium of Open Source Hardware, a potential substrate, ingredient or catalyst for the profound transformation of the human being that will be required for humanity's future viability. Through the means of open collaboration, we will naturally evolve to the point where we see the population of the entire planet as our common family. We will learn to powerfully support each other in common endeavours of increasing scope and sophistication, seeing each individual and group as a valued contributor, lending purpose and focus to a world perilously distracted by material pursuits such as wealth fame and status, providing a practical way forward to build, with urgency, the material and spiritual structures of the emerging global civilization.

We need to build and distribute humanity's scientific, technological and economic basis more evenly. Local and regional structures will need to be created in order to ensure that every community on the planet has the means to participate fully in the development of our civilization, gradually adding balance to the economic system in order to moderate the extremes of wealth and poverty. Imagine that a local community were to extract its resources and distribute them equitably, participating in a global system of allocation balance based on population rather than based on perceived ownership tied to entities such as corporations and states. Imagine, further, that each community were to focus its educational, economic and social efforts in a way that would maximize its contribution to science, society, material production and the like. In such a system, communities would leverage locally available resources, expertise and cultural strengths, building the capacity to live purposefully and prosperously while contributing any excess production to the wellbeing of the whole and, in turn, benefitting from excesses in other regions that would balance shortfalls in other areas. Open Source Hardware may thus be seen as one way to contribute to balancing humanity's various vital system. In an open source system, knowledge is shared, more individuals and groups are empowered to create viable enterprises and consequently, companies (redefined to equate profit with wellbeing and not just monetary gain) are smaller and extremes of wealth and poverty are moderated.

All of the above implies an enormous undertaking. Indeed, efforts complementary with the above vision are already underway in every region of the planet. Open Source Ecology proposes to contribute to this historical transformation through exploring desktop manufacturing as a way to empower individuals and groups to participate in this process. This is the rationale for the FeF Summer School 2019

Schedule and Remote Participation

In this summer school, we will take students through an immersion of skills necessary for collaborative design and builds of significant products. This is an opportunity for hands-on experience with efficient productivity - on a small scale - unlike that offered anywhere else. The schedule is packed with 8 hour days of classroom and hands-on experience, where we do swarm builds of large and impressive things.

The typical schedule includes 3 hours of classroom and design time in the morning from 9 AM to Noon, with 4 hours of hands-on build time in the afternoon from 1 PM to 5 PM. Students will work on a collaborative project on Saturday. We have just secured a 1 GB internet connection at our facility, which means that we will be able to work effectively with remote collaborators.

Remote participants are welcome to register for the course, and to purchase kit materials for doing the builds of the 3D printer and computer tablet. Remote participation allows for realtime viewing via Jitsi video conferencing - and the ability to ask questions after any of the presentations during the Q&A session.

Week 1: Design, Collaboration, and Prototyping using FreeCAD and a 3D Printer

In the first week, we will learn the basic workflows for open source design collaboration, and how to turn ideas into real objects. We will start with building a 3D printer, which we will then use to produce a cordless drill. We will design parts for this cordless drill, and learn how to modify these parts in FreeCAD to make different versions of the cordless drill. Thus, we will cover the whole process from ideation to build to usage of a real and practical product - the cordless drill - using a machine - the 3D printer - that we have built ourselves. This week includes gaining basic literacy in microcontrollers (Arduino) and using a small computer (Raspberry Pi) to build a 3D printed tablet with touch screen - from scratch. The week culminates with a Project Day on Saturday - where students begin work on the 3D Printed Cordless Drill over the 4 week Summer School duration. The goal of the first week is to show that advanced creativity can be achieved on a small scale - to produce practical products - and how that applies to designing one's own life.

  • Monday: Introduction
  • Morning: Introduction: OSE Introduction and Introduction to Collaborative Literacy. Design with a Purpose. Learning how to work in large and distributed teams on complex design problems by breaking them down into small chunks, and documenting everything as we go. Basic product development process, stages of development, and taxonomy for open hardware. Keeping Work Logs and using a Template for documentation.
  • Afternoon: Building a 3D printer.: Build beginning: 3D printer. We will build OSE's 3D printer, starting with the frame, axes, heated bed, controller, and extruder.
  • Tuesday: 3D Printing
  • Morning: Open Design with FreeCAD. We will learn to use the open source Computer Aided Design software - FreeCAD - as a powerful tool that allows teams to work together to create complex design. Basic workflow for design with many people working in distributed teams. Construction Set Collaboration. Part libraries. Merging files. Using the 3D Printer Part Library to design different versions of the 3D printer.
  • Afternoon: Finishing 3D Printer Build Assembly of modules + wiring. Printing.
  • Seminar, 6-8 PM - Integrated Humans. What does it mean to achieve self-determination, happiness, and freedom? Growth and Learning Mindset. How to Learn. The Mature Personality. Resilience Mechanisms. Learning how to integrate technology with humanity.
  • Wednesday
  • Morning: Designing 3D Printable Parts with FreeCAD Design Exercise - how to design useful parts that can be printed. How to find parts for 3D printing online. Exercises in desiigning gears, belts, pulleys, battery packs for a cordless drill.
  • Afternoon: 3D Printing Experiments. 3D Printer Configuration - Learn how to adjust the on-board settings of the 3D printer such as homing, first layer tweaking, and optimizing print quality. We will print the designs that we produced in FreeCAD. Learn how to prepare models for printing by arranging them on the print bed, resizing them and slicing using Lulzbot Cura. Learning about such factors as print speed, bed adhesion, support structures and print resolution.
  • Thursday: Arduino Microcontrollers
  • Morning: Understanding Microcontrollers. Arduino is the quintessential device that brought us into the age of Open Source Hardware. What is it and how is it used to power various devices from sensors to brick presses. Learn about using microcontrollers and Arduino for automation and control tasks. Basic programming in Arduino. Visual programming in Arduino.
  • Afternoon: Arduino Exercises We will make several devices using Arduino: a circuit for measuring temperature, measuring voltage and current, an Arduino Oscilloscope, and a charger for a battery which will be applied to the cordless drill.
  • Friday: Raspberry Pi Mini Computer
  • Morning: Understanding the Raspberry Pi Computer A computer the size of a pack of cards - compact and powerful. Perfect for robotics and other projects. Adding peripherals such as screen, keyboard, phone module.
  • Afternoon: Building a Practical Raspberry Pi Tablet We will take Raspberry Pi, a touch screen, 3D print our own case, and make a usable and practical touch screen tablet for $100.
  • Saturday: Project Day. This will be the first of 4 days dedicated to a collaborative design and build of a professional grade, 3D printed, cordless drill. We will start with individual 18650 battery cells and design a battery pack. We will design and 3D print the body. We will use our learnings of Arduino to build a charger for the battery pack. We will use an off-the-shelf motor and chuck for the cordless drill, or 3D print our own motor if the skill and time of the students allows. We will create all CAD in FreeCAD, and add that to the Cordless Drill Construction Set part library so that different versions of the cordless drill could be made. We will experiment with 3D printed chucks as well as a stand for using the cordless drill as a drill press. We will then enter an online Design Challenge where we post our creation as the OSE STEM Camp Team entry in the last week of the Camp. The Project Day focuses on the application of collaboration, 3D design, documentation, 3D printing, Arduino, and electronics towards the design of a useful tool. Moreover, we will use our Raspberry Pi tablets for picture and video documentation - showing how we can create our own infrastructure for learning and teaching others.
  • Morning Introduction to the 3D printed cordless drill design. Modular breakdown of the drill into parts. Includes battery pack, charger, chuck, and drill press attachment. We divide into teams to tackle the different modules. The rest of the day - students work on the project and document their work on their Work Logs while collaborating with Remote Participants.

Week 2- Design and Fabricate a Cordless Drill

During this week we will put together some of the introductory knowledge and skills from week 1 in order to design and fabricate a cordless drill.

  • Monday: Designing and Producing your own Power Tools a
  • Morning:Desktop Manufacturing?
  • Advances in the Internet and available technology now make this possible
  • Why would desktop manufacturing be desirable? - pros and cons
  • The capabilities, attitudes and insights required to make this happen.
  • Afternoon:Design, CAD and 3D print a drill body.
  • Modular design of the cordless drill - batteries, electronics, trigger, motor, gear box, chuck
  • Defining module geometries and interfaces
  • CAD - Visualize the drill in 3D
  • Tuesday: Motors Part I
  • Morning:Motors - Theory
  • How motors work; various types of motor
  • Brushless Motor Design
  • The Halbach Array
  • Afternoon:
  • Motor design considerations
  • Power, torque, energy, efficiency, heat dissipation, electronic control, etc.
  • Wednesday: Motors Part II
  • Morning: ESC - Electronic Speed Control
  • Electronic pulse frequency vs. motor speed and position
  • Accounting for unwanted emf in electronic circuits
  • Afternoon: ESC - Electronic Speed Control- Continued
  • Circuit design
  • Circuit components
  • Producing an ESC
  • Thursday: Modules of the Cordless Drill
  • Morning: Batteries and electronics
  • Battery life
  • Voltage and Amperage
  • Compatibility of batteries with motors
  • Afternoon: Gearboxes and chucks
  • Torque, power, etc.
  • Design of a gearbox
  • Performance requirements of component parts - strength and durability, etc.
  • Friday Putting it All Together
  • Morning:
  • Assembling the parts of the cordless drill
  • Afternoon:
  • Testing the cordless drill

Curriculum Under Construction

  • The following is under consideration for placement in another summer camp curriculum in order to focus on the cordless drill for summer school 2019

Week 2: Tractor Build

In the second week, we shift from desktop-size builds to real life builds of large machines. This is intended to teach students how to achieve industrial productivity on a small scale. We will build an open source tractor. We will teach a skill set of powerful techniques: basic welding, torching, grinding, and working with metal. We will also build upon the skills from Week 1 to produce additional parts. We will use the 3D printer to print accessory tractor parts such as a seat and rubber tires. We will build a modular Power Cube power unit for the tractor.

In this week, students will design a functioning, 5000 lb electric tractor completely from scratch, using complelely open source software and OSE's Part Libraries. The design will include loader, cab, steel wheels with 3D printed tires, 3D printed seat, and a bucket for loading soil for the Brick Press.

Students will learn about important engineering topics of modular design, hydraulic power, power calculations, and scalability. The design will be done completely in FreeCAD, with basic engineering analysis using FreeCAD engineering analysis capacity. We will build a Power Cube for 48 hp of tractor power.

Week 2 Workflow

We will learn how to work together in team design using FreeCAD. We will use proven library parts from the OSE Part Library. These parts can be used to design and modify the different modules of a tractor - and therefore - different variations of the tractor can be built. Students will collaborate by sharing designs on their Work Log - and for every module - we will choose the best design for the actual build. By uploading designs, others are able to build upon them.

Then we will apply the learnings to design and build a simple lifesize tractor with 50 hp

  • Monday
  • Morning: - 'Tractor Design 101 - How to design a tractor using Part Libraries. Universal Rotor, Frame, Arms, Cab, Power Cube, Hydraulics Modules, Quick Attach, Cylinders, Wheels, Tracks. Design Exercise: Using the Tractor Construction Set Part Library, we will design a basic, direct drive tractor frame. Welding 101: the Crash Course hands-on lesson on welding, torching, and cutting.
  • Afternoon: - 4 hrs - build of the tractor frame and cab from modular tubing.
  • Tuesday
  • Morning - Modularity 101: Modular breakdown of a tractor. How to design the tractor so that it can be built in parallel by multiple teams. Hydraulics 101: Explanation of hydraulics, motors, cylinders, basic hydraulic circuits, and modular hydraulic design using quick couplers.
  • Afternoon - Assembly of hydraulic valves, cylinders, and hoses, using quick couplers for complete modularity of the drive system.
  • Wednesday
  • Morning . Power Cube 101: Explanation of design and function of a hydraulic power unit. Structural Design 101: Space frame construction. Bolting. Leverage. Basic structural strength and weight calculations. Center of mass calculations.
  • Afternoon - Power Cube Build - Tuesday - 5 hrs - Power Cube build. 3 Power Cubes. 4 teams people weld frame, and 4 teams assemble tank, 1 team for pump-motor mounting, 4 teams on battery pack building.
  • Thursday.
  • Morning - Drive System Design. Here we will learn how to calculate the torque of the tractor so that it will move efficiently. Range of Motion Design - how do you design a loader geometry for moving, lifting, and dumping materials. Range of motion analysis in FreeCAD.
  • Afternoon - Drive system build. Loader build. We will use modular tubing and modular mounting plates to make the geometry work properly.
  • Friday
  • Morning - Understanding energy and power. Power, torque, stored energy density, comparison to stored energy of fuels.
  • Afternoon Final assembly of tractor and data collection.
  • Saturday. Project Time. Design review and continuing the build of the 3D Printed Cordless Drill.

Week 3: CEB Press and Soil Mixer Build

This week we continue the heavy machines - for construction. The CEB press uses a common building material - earth - as robust building material that constitutes most of the housing on this planet. We will build a soil mixer - which mixes cement and soil - loaded with our newly build tractor - to produce stabilized block.

During this week, teams will shift between building and documenting as needed. The workshop team will work on the build, and another team will support the build with documentation by updating CAD designs.

  • Monday
  • Morning CEB Press Design. How a CEB Press works and how to design one. Going through the design in FreeCAD.
  • Afternoon - CEB Press Build. We will begin the build of the CEB Press - welding, 3D printing, bolting, and grinding.
  • Tuesday
  • Morning - Microcontroller Applications - Design of an Ardunio-based controller for a brick press. Brick pressing logic and programming it in a visual programming environment - Ardublock.
  • Afternoon - CEB Press Controller Build - We will build an Arduino-based controller
  • Wednesday
  • Morning - Soils for CEB Blocks. We will go over the soil requirements for successful brick pressing. Moisture and composition. Why soil stabilization is important. How to test soil for adequacy for brick pressing. Stabilizing blocks for water resistance. Design of a soil mixer - we will go through the OSE part libraries necessary to design or modify the OSE soil mixer.
  • Afternoon - Build of the Soil Mixer.
  • Thursday
  • Morning - Design Calculations for the Soil Mixer - How much force is required to mix soil? How long will it take? How much soil can the soil mixer handle in a given time?
  • Afternoon - Soil Mixer Build Finish and Testing. We will test the soil mixer for its effectiveness, and use the mixed soil to press bricks.
  • Friday
  • Morning - Understanding Embodied Energy of Materials - How much energy does it take to produce CEBs? Or to produce concrete, wood, and steel? Understanding this helps us to understand our impact on the environment, and how we can shift to renewable energy to provide human needs. Concrete Production' - how is concrete produced, and how much energy it takes. Solar eco-concrete.
  • Afternoon - Exercise in making DIY concrete. If time allows and we are finished with the build of the CEB Press and Soil Mixer - we will bake a sample batch of limestone to produce lime cement - as a stabilizer for our compressed earth blocks. We will then press sample bricks with our DIY cement to see how well it works.
  • Saturday - Project Day - Morning design review and continuing on the 3D Printed Cordless drill.

Week 4: Housing

In the last week - we will put together our learnings from the first 3 weeks to the build of a demonstation CEB house. We will use 3D printing, the tractor, and brick press infrastructure to produce parts. The tractor and soil mixer will prepare soil, and the brick press will produce stabilized block. We will 3D print some parts of the home, such as plumbing fittings, electrical boxes, lamp shades, glazing panels for windows, window trim, and roofing tiles. This will be a proof of concept for sourcing as many local and recycled materials as possible in the build of a house. We call our house the CEED Eco-Home - CEED is short for Compressed Earth Expandable Dwelling.

In this week, students will be taken to a basic working knowledge of a house build from design to finish - with hands-on exercises for every step of the way.

The workflow will

  • Monday
  • Morning - Introduction to Open Building Institute Design. How to design using the OBI modular building sytems. Exercises in using the OBI building modules in Sweet Home 3D.
  • Afternoon - Groundbreaking 101. Hands on training in site preparation and installation of a foundation. We will clear a pad for the demo house using our brand new Tractor from Week 2. We will lay down gravel - and then build foundation forms for a slab foundation, to be poured the next day.
  • Tuesday
  • Morning - House Design 101 - how do you design a code-compliant house? We will cover the basics in this lesson. Scale Models of the CEED Eco-Home - This is a hands-on exercise in 3D printing scale models of the CEED Eco-Home modules - and using them to build a house. Everyone will print one or more modules - and we will pool them for a model design.Concrete Pour' - we will participate in building the foundation - seeing how to work with concrete and smoothing it to make it shine. Utilities 101 What are the infastructure systems that a house needs? Here we will cover the basics of electrical, water, waste, heating, and cooling systems - and how to design a basic implementation of these.
  • Afternoon - Construction Materials Production - We will begin pressing bricks as a team - 2400 of them - in a total of 8 hours over 2 days. Carpentry - another team will learn to make the wooden carpentry modules of the house.
  • Wednesday
  • Morning - Carpentry 101 - Lesson on how to build with wood. Measuring, cutting, connecting pieces.
  • Afternoon - Continuing on wooden framed modules of the house, and continuing on brick production - shifting teams between the two.
  • Thursday
  • Morning - Solar Energy 101 - We will cover the design of an off-grid energy system.
  • Afternoon - House Asembly. With all the modules completed, we will assemble them into place. Starting with the framed modules, we will then continue to the bricks and insulation. Insulation - We will hammermill straw into small pieces - mix borax into it - and use that as insulation.
  • Friday
  • Morning - Ecological Water and Waste Systems - Water purification using ozone, and waste processing with a biodigester. CEED Eco-Home Expansion - how to design the house for expandability - starting with a small core module.
  • Afternoon - Continuing on the house build with the roof and utilities installation. Installing a living roof.
  • Saturday
  • Morning - Finishing up the CEED Eco-Home.
  • Afternoon - Evening session - review and discussion session.