The 50 Technologies

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Walking through the 50 Technologies and Their Economic Impact

Disclaimer - Graph of completion Here we discuss all the tools, but please remember that in Part 1 of the 4 Part Series, many of the machines are still on the drawing board.


If you eat, you use a Tractor. Maybe not you directly, but the farmer that grew your food. And food is a $8T industry. The GVCS field agriculture machinery that support this $8T industry [1] are:

Fig 1. The Tractor, Microtractor, Microcombine, Universal Seeder, Spader, Hay Cutter, Hay Rake, Baler, and Dairy Milker, and a Bakery Oven are critical tools of the $8T food industry.

Tractor, MicroTractor, Bulldozer and Power Cubes

The tractor is a cornerstone of a farm, construction, or other materials production industries. A tractor has the traction to pull things, and to do utility work with variou implements that can be added to a tractor and use the tractor’s mechanical power through a Power Take-off (PTO). As such, the tractor can be a swiss army knife of heavy duty work. For the smaller individual or home scale, we have the MicroTractor in the set, which is a small, walk-behind or ride-on tractor at the 16-32 hp size that can perform many gardening and utility functions and can fit in a smaller areas where a large tractor would be impractical. If we go up in scale - use a stronger frame and at least 64 hp, and add a bulldozer blade to the tractor - then we have a bulldozer.

The tractor is a machine on the scale of 50-320 hp in the GVCS ecosystem, and unlike traditional tractors, we focus on modular power. We currently use small 16 hp engine units at $17/hp (ref), which is the lowest cost way to obtain engine power, while making maintenance very easy. Like in nature where a tree is made of many branches, our tractor is made of many small engine units. This way, the same design pattern can be used in the 16 hp tractor as in the 320 hp tractor. The price for using larger diesel engines is 2-4 times larger. [2]

By using the modularity concept, we create our typical construction set approach for heavy machines. For example, if a large tractor frame is fitted with a bulldozer blade - then we don’t require a separate bulldozer in addition to a tractor. This saves a lot of resources - making technology significantly lower cost to maintain. Exploring the limits of modularity, we found that it is much less expensive to scale our machines usig modular and overbuilt parts that make sense both for small and large machines. For example, we can use 4 of our identical track units, each rated for up to 80 hp - Our track unit, for example, allows for a $30k version [3] that matches the traction of a Cat D7 - a sizeable cost savings comprd to a base price of ½ a million. [4].

Fig. Pattern Language for a Tractor - up to automated control.

The key is making it easy and quick to interchange parts - from small parts to large implements. This is a great challenge for advanced industrial design.

Fig. Industrial smaller parallel and trained configuration. OSE machines can be designed like this, but higher flexibility of the OSE platform can allow for an improved configuration.

Fig. The flexibility of a modular OSE tractor. The modular OSE tractor can be built from the same components, but apply to 16 hp or 320 hp machines while using the same over-engineered components such as the ½” thick steel tracks [5]

Spader, Seeder, Bulldozer

Your food today is grown largely by tractor-driven tilling and seeding, unless you’re a breatharian. Tillage in the OSE system chooses the spader as a more progressive technology compared to the age-old plow.

Fig. (Image of 1800 steam tractor with 50 bottom plow)

The spader works essentially like a bunch of shovels moving rapidly - which till soil without crating a hardpan typical of the more common plow. Manufacturers claim that spading uses 40% less fuel than plowing - because a spader can combine tilling, harrowing, and planting in one operation. [6] A plow, which drags through the soil, requires a lot of wheel-to-ground traction, whereas a spader requires very little - thus avoiding soil compaction. It takes a spader under 9 minutes and 2 gallons of fuel per acre of field - such that feeding Dunbar Village [7] would take 6 hours to plant for a whole year of crop [8]Thus, one day to plant, two days to harvest - and the village has food for the year.

The tractor and universal seeder is an example of how we approach multiple purpose machines. The tractor is a large-size swiss army knife for doing many different tasks. The Universal seeder is designed to plant all types of seed, from alfalfa to wheat, to tubers, and to live plants like sweet potato slips. Modifying the device rapidly is key to this flexibility.

Fig. Swiss army knife tractor concept

The point of using powerful machines wisely is that in the OSE perspective of lifetime growth - life could become easy so we can focus on evolving as humans. Our experiment involves building a college campus where peole live this. When they graduate, they know how to organize a village to spend 2 hours per day working on survival, and then the rest of their life they pursue their highest ideals.

The experimental village thus requires one farmer who is employed 3 days of the year, assuming the equipment does not break down, and generates 30 acres * $20k/acre of sweet potato, and $5k/acre for 10 acres of wheat if that is turned into bread - or $650k worth of food for the community with direct marketing. That is $27k/hour if baking is automated - a decent pay, but not like the $25k/minute rate of Warren Buffett [9]

Of course these are unreasonable figures, but they do represent the idea. The only way that customer acquisition and marketing costs do not ruin such ideals is in the case of direct marketing - where the on-site farmer-scientist provides for a captive audience of the Dunbar village. If each person eats about $2600 per year [10], feeding 150 people would involve revenues of $390k - but that would be a full time job. We will look more carefully at the business model for resident farmer agriculture in the Enterprise chapter.

Now it would take more time to do a diversified operation, but this is shown just as a baseline to see what’s possible in terms of the effort. Several Ph.D.’s can be granted to develop a diversified, 40 acre subscription farm, using open source equipment and a captive market, or Local Food Nodes as part of a distribution platform. [11]

The OSE project will develop such a food enterprise both for its campuses and for the outside community - once all the farming machines are done, the aquaponic greenhouse production is optimized, and derivative food processing tools are developed.

The open source tractor can be built at a cost of $125/hp at a scale of 80 hp, compared to $370-$1000 for other brands. It is useful to understand the basic cost breakdown based on off-the shelf parts:

Fig. Cost breakdown of a tractor by Frame, engine, hydraulics, control, automation, and balance of system - $125/hp. (p590MJ)

The cost advantage is less visible at the 32 hp MicroTrac, at $160 per hp - though but a comparable mahine like the tracked Toro Ding costs around $1000/hp (ref).

Fig. Microtrac with tooth bar bucket can till your garden, and provide valuable utility work. It is an indidspensible utility machine for any prosumer.

Hay Cutter, Rake, Baler

If farm animals are involved, then you need these. Or if you want to move large quantities of materials, then a bale is a useful form: from a bale of hay, brush, cotton, cardboard, or plastic - bales allow large scale moving of materials. Bales of aluminum cans are likewise useful for melting down in your induction furnace. If you are making fuel pellets from biomass, plastic pellets for making 3D printer filament - you will need a baler to make 1 ton bales.

Dairy Milker

For animal husbandry, hay baling stores hay for the winter. Unless you are talking about the fish in your home aquaponic system. Dairy products themselves are $116B [12]

of the global economy - hence the relevance of the dairy milker.

Table: values of the overall food, dairy, cattle, vegetable markets worldwide. Combining the dairy milker with computer vision and automation, we envision a solar robotic milker - our MicroTrac with a milking stall - that drives up to a cow to milk her, and then brings the milk back for storage and processing. This allows field milking without human labor for small diversified robofarms that combine the best of regenerative agriculture with modern tehnology to relocalize farming.

Fig. Robotic milker


A very interesting use arises with a small, solar, robot tractor - the MicroTrac driven by a solar panel. By adding a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero Controller [13] and a $100 solar panel you can be your robotic tractor - for agriculture and other. You can now mow your lawn automatically, and even pelletize it for fuel for a pellet stove. This is possible because today - advanced microelectronics such as the Raspberry Pi is 100 times faster that the first supercomputer, which cost $9M [14] in 1975.

Fig. A solar-driven MicroTrac concept with solar panel and $50 arduino controller can provide autonomous agriculture


Now add a bulldozer blade to a beefed up, tracked tractor - and you have one of the most powerful devices for regeneration - or destruction - depending on how you use the machine. Bulldozers are powerful earth moving machines - to build roads, grade house foundations, and in agriculture - to build regenerative earthworks for water and erosion. The biggest example is the 12,000 square miles that have been regreened in China - the Loess Plateau. [15].

Fig. Loess Plateau reforestation

So, if you ever drove on a road - you used a bulldozer. Maybe not you, but whoever graded the road base.


The Microombine is used to harvest grains and seeds of any type. This is the core of human harvests world wide. For the OSE case, we have a much more flexible and modular machine in mind. Based on our module-based aproach, we can use the same drive platform as the tractor

Fig. Showing the base drive platform that can be used

Bakery Oven

Humble bread is a $419B global market . It is the 12th most popular food in the world. And 49% of Americans eat bread .

Now bulldozers, tractors, and combines are all good - but the next step for gobal agriculture is the transition to perennial polyculture , with only a small fraction of tillage ramaining.

Construction - 13 Tools

If you want to build a charter city or a smaller campus, you will need construction equipment - and a trencher to put in gigabit internet fiber between the locations.

The tools in the construction part outside of the tractors include the backhoe, trencher, cement mixer, sawmill, CEB press, well-drilling rig, soil pulverizer, hammermill. The universal rotor is a tool used in other sectors of the GVCS - and the SeedHouse is a living machine.

Fig. 13 tools of the construction part of the Global Village Construction Set.

Backhoe, Trencher, Cement Mixer

The backhoe or excavator can be used to dig aquaponic ponds, foundation trenches. It can be used to remove stumps, do trenching, and with a grapple it can be used to lift logs or to hoist heavy objects. Backhoes are relatively simple devices - a set of pivot joints that use hydraulic cylinders for their motion - producing thousands of pounds of digging force at the touch of control levers. There are both side-to-side moving backhoes, but a 360 degree rotating backhoe is much more flexible. The small side to side version can be used on a front quick attach of a tractor.

Fig. OSE backhoe from 2010 mounted on he original lifetrac, a small one used for water line trenching in 2012 , and a larger one from 2013 . Next iteration is the 360 degree backhoe with remote control drive to facilitate hydraulic line routing.

The trencher in the original GVCS icon is a wheel trencher. We built 2 prototypes, and the next iteration will be a chain-based trencher based on our favorable experience with oversized chain drive on the bulldozer tracks.

Fig. OSE Trencher - 2011 and 2013 builds. The cement mixer is indispensable. Cement has been used in ancient Rome and in mesoamerican temples. Scotland's County Cork had 23,000 lime kilns at one time - had one kiln per 80 acres. Wood or coal was used as fuel. Portland cement took over lime cement in the last 100 years, but lime concrete is favorable in foundations becaue it doesn’t crack as easily as Portland. Using modern appropriate technology, lime cement production in solar microfactories is a viable enterprise at the 1 ton per day scale using an open source microkiln the size of a refrigerator. Limestone goes in one end, and lime comes out the other. With such small appliances costing around $1k, cement production can be distributed - while making cement production carbon neutral, annihilating the current 5% CO2 emission share of the the concrete industry. This is possible in about 50% of America, where the bedrock is made of limestone. That’s a $10B industry in the USA alone.

The cement fryer - a rotary lime kiln - is much like the cement mixer: a Universal Rotor with a heating element. A rotating pipe heated by PV, and an Arduino microcontroller to measure temperatures and guide the process to efficient completion. While not part of the 50 GVCS technologies, it’s a ready derivative:

Fig. PV of the Open Source Materials Production Facility, a solar Power Cube, a Universal Rotor, metal pipe and an Arduino microcontroller constitute the lime cement maker.

If we want to go to the essence of construction, take the backhoe excavator, chase it with a bulldozer with ripper shanks, and then rock under a site could be extracted to build a pond. This rock, if limestone, is feedstock for your lime kiln. In some places, rock outcroppings make access to limestone easy.

CEB Press , Soil Pulverizer, and Sawmill

The Compressed Earth Brick press and sawmill are critical tools for construction in that they produce materials. The CEB Press allows one operator to load raw dirt right from the building site to produce about 5000 bricks in a day - enough for a small house.

Fig. The CEB Press is the first machine that we have prototyped, and it is ready for widespread replication around the world.

We have used the soil pulverizer to prepare soil for pressing CEB blocks. The soil pulverizer was used to both pulverize the soil, and its bucket was used to press bricks for CEB construction.

Fig. Soil pulverizer - Aidan on the tractor + loading the brick press by Yoonseo

Our next step on the CEB press is a full soil conditioner which pulverizes soil, adds cement at a measured quantity of 5%, and then loads the mixture into the CEB press - to allow for production of high quality, stabilized block.

Fig. The soil conditioner accepts raw soil from a tractor loader, mixes a measured amount of cement, and loads the prepared mixture into the CEB press for effective production of stabilized block at 12 cents ( 10 cent cement cost for a 20 lb block, and 2 cents gasoline cost). per block in materials. This means that we can build a 1’ thick CEB wall section for $50 in materials.

The sawmill is a machine that can produce dimensional lumber - a staple of construction. Our sawmill is a variety known as a swing-blade sawmill, which has a single blade that can rotate 90 degrees and make a dimensional piece of lumber by going forward and back on a piece of wood. We chose the dimensional sawmill for its simplicity over a bandsaw mill, as blade sharpening is much easier - and maintenance is the larger cost of any equipment if that equipment is designed for a lifetime.

The sawmill is a good example of how we can use GVCS product ecologies to reduce complexity and reduce the cost of equipment. We design not just individual machines, but machine ecosystems that feed off one another. We can obtain drastic cost reduction by borrowing existing modules from the GVCS. For our case, it makes sense to design the sawmill as a Bobcat standard quick attach implement. We borrow the tractor as a quick attach point, so that we do not need a bed upon which the sawmill head would otherwise ride. We borrow 32 hp from the tractor Power Cubes. We also borrow the hydraulic motor which we attach with hydraulic quick-connect hoses. Thus, we have essentially stripped down the entire sawmill to the long carriage with the cutting head - saving $2k on the engine, $2k on a trailer. The greatest advantage would be the setup time - if designed as a quick attach implement, the sawmill can be taken to a log, rested right by the log, and ready for action - as compared to systems where the carriage base must be set up or the log moved into cutting position. If the sawmill can straddle right over a log or be raised with the loader arms, there is no limit ot the size of log that the mill can handle.

Fig. The simplicity of the OSE swing-blade sawmill involves a long linear track mounted as an implement for the tractor. To provide 3 axes of motion - the loader mounting includes height adjustment (z motion), and a lightweight cantilevered head provides side-to-side motion. The cost of about $1500 is significantly lower than the $15k minimum for a comparable 32 hp sawmill. (ref)

And the sawdust that we generate can be used as animal bedding, insulation, or it can be pelletized to make fuel pellets.

Universal Rotor

The Universal Rotor is a fundamental building block for just about any moving machine. It is a combination of rotary motion and a useful tool-head. As a design pattern consisting of a shaft, bearings, and a motor - a wide array of working tools can be attached to it - so that the Universal Rotor can constitute a drill, a wind turbine, a wheel, a hammermill, cement mixer, sawmill - etc - essentially any machine at any size - from small cordless electric drills to a larger 50kW rotor of a wind turbine. The Pelletizer , Chipper/Hammermill, Dimensional Sawmill, Rototiler/Soil Pulverizer, Cement Mixer, Well-Drilling Rig, 50 kW Wind Turbine, Microcombine Thresher, and Bioplastic Extruder are direct applications of the universal rotor, and combined with precision machining structures, the Universal Rotor also include the heavy duty CNC Multim with lathe, drill press, slow cutoff saw, surface grinder, and other machines of fabrication. If we can build a Universal Rotor, a Power Cube, and weld together a supporting structure - then we have - broadly speaking - built 23 of the 50 machines of the GVCS. For example, if we consider the electric motor - it is a a shaft, 2 bearings, a structure, and the ‘tool head’ could be considered the electrical windings that make the shaft spin. Or, if we consider the metal lathe - a part of the Multimachine - then it is clear that the lathe consists of a heavy shaft, 2 heavy bearings, and the tool-head is a chuck for holding work-pieces.

12. Well-Drilling Rig and Chipper/Hammermill

The well-drilling rig is a machine used to dig deep water wells. It consists of a universal rotor which uses 3” ( 10’ of this pipe store 4 or 6.5 gallons of water. ) or 4” drill pipe to drill down to a depth of 100m or more using hydraulic rotary drilling. In this method, a stream of water is sent down the pipe during the drilling operation to send up tailings and soften the area of the drill point. A heavy duty hydraulic motor spins the drill rod - and new sections of drill rod are attached one after another. When the operation is done, the drill pipe is left underground and a submersible pump is inserted to pump water from the well. Fig. A hydraulic deep well pump drilling system explained. The water swivel is the key part here. Otherwise 3” pipe that can be used as drill pipe and casign is $12/foot. The chipper/hammermill is another application of a universal heavy rotor with swinging or fixed blades. This machine shreds or pulverizes materials, and can be as small or large as needed. Fig. Hammermill variations with various blades to chip wood or crush rock. A modified version of a heavy rotor can be a grinder. The scale can be from the largest - shredding cars - to the smallest - with small electric motors - if you have hydraulic drive and electric drive.

The House - Seed Eco-Home and Aquaponic Greenhouse

The Seed Eco-Home is a living machine - and becase it is the single largest cost of living today, we dediced to include that in the GVCS. (Initially, the house was not in the GVCS - but it was added as the Microhouse.) The Seed Eco-Home is the culmination of all the construction machines put to use. Homes are also about $3T ( - residential construction is about ⅓ of all construction) market worldwide - which if open-sourced, could provide 30 million regenerative housing jobs for open source home building entrepreneurs Earning $100k each per year. This is 30 million potential collaborators - through we need only about 1000 at this time.

The OSE/OBI Seed Eco-Home is a an affordable, expandable eco-home that can be built for ⅓ the cost of a typical home, while including ecological features. Rather than building a large house, we propose starting with a seed home, and then growing it as the need arises.

We are pushing ecological limits in our autonomous house design. The house is off-grid with PV, provides its own cooking fuel from a biodigester, includes roof-top rainwater collection, and grows its own food with an aquaponic greenhouse. Mowed lawn or biomass is used to provide heating biomass pellets for a hydronic stove that is fueled by pellets. The eventual product vision is a house that produces fuel for cars as compressed biogas or compressed hydrogen - by splitting water. Thus, we are correcting the oil and gas industry with 100% renewable energy, using simple, proven technologies. We are not relying on advancements in battery technology as a prerequisite to sustainable transportation, and by not requiring scarce lithium for batteries, we are aiming for an abundant and environmentally friendly energy future. We favor rooftop PV plus electrolysis as the preferred route for transportation fuels, where every house becomes a gas station. Using medium pressure electrolyzers that can produce hydrogen up to 33 atmospheres without needing a compressor - we can readily store hydrogen in large propane tanks or higher pressure steel pipe.

Fig. Seed Eco-Home

Fig. Aquaponic greenhouse glamour shot.

The aquaponic greenhouse is designed to provide a year-round supply of fresh eggs, vegetables, fish, and mushrooms. The goal is to include automated planting with a small Farmbot ( . By Shuttleworth Fellow friend Rory Aaronson.), where the resulting deep pots are planted in the towers. With a 1000 plant growing capacity in the main towers, the greenhouse can provide a robust salad daily, where we plant and harvest 15 plants per day from a small 800 sf greenhouse. A mushroom yield of 1lb is obtained per week from a tower that takes only 1 square foot. We also intend to use automated 3D printed aerial drones for planting seeds directly into towers - a great example of useful product ecology. Local food addresses the issue of food miles, where food travels an average of 1500 miles in the USA before ending up on someone’s plate. This is one of the numerous inefficiencies that will be addressed by a more efficient, open source economy. This brings us to transportation.


The microcar, truck, electric motor, and hydraulic motor are the 4 GVCS machines directly related to transportation.

The worldwide production of cars is a total of 95M per year, 75% of which is done by the top 15 companies. This lends itself to massive distribution of power. The OSE paradigm proposes instead that there would be on the order of million distributed enterprises - essentially one per 10,000 people. Each facility would produce cars on the scale of dozens or hundreds in the community-supported manufacturing (CSM) scenario. Thus, car producers replace car dealership - as the producer takes to dealing. This would go well with a gas station at every home, splitting Seed Eo-Home rooftop water for fuel at a cost of 80 cent per gallon of gasoline equivalent.

Fig. Seed Eco-Home to car fuel infrastructure consists of rooftop water collection, 10kW of PV panels, a storage tank for hydrogen, and compression to 200 bar. Piece of cake if you consider not doing this - wars for oil. This gives us about 100 miles of fuel worth per day in a 100mpg microcar.

OSE Microcar

The OSE Microar is a Hydrogen Hybrid Hydraulic (H3) vehicle. Hydrogen is chosen because an internal combustion (ICE) engine running on hydrogen is twice as efficient (40%) as a normal ICE (20%), and only 25% under the 50% efficiency of fuel cells. A hydraulic drive train (71% efficiency) - has a higher efficiency than a continuously variable transmission (60%) for fuel cell electric vehicles - meaning that the humble hydrogen hydraulic car gets a higher mileage than a fuel cell car, at significantly lower cost. At a design weight of only 850 lb, less than ¼ of a typical car, the OSE microcar focuses on moving the passenger, not a large chunk of metal accessory to the core purpose. Lighter cars have a good safety record. Before the S.U.V. boom, the country (USA) had the world's lowest highway death rate. e-us-car-is-tipping-scales-at-4000-pounds.html Additionally, gas mileage for the OSE Microcar is specified for 100mpg. While not as testicular as a Tesla, the OSE specification requires higher self-esteem on the part of the driver to accept acceleration from 0-60 of 12 seconds, as opposed to under 3 seconds for a Tesla Model S.

Fig. The OSE Microcar concept.

Are smaller cars safer? This is controversial. Physics says that energy of motion is proportional to v squared, and data shows that 56% of car deaths are single-car collisions. So unless you are going to hit another oncoming car or an immovable object like a large tree, your tiny car of under 1000 lb has 36x less energy to dissipate than a Chevy Suburban of 6000 lb. And, the lightest car - the Smart Carfortwo at 1800 lb and it certainly does get eaten up in a frontal 2 car collision with a larger car. And crashes took more than 37k lives in the US , with 20-50x more if injuries are counted. (are injuries better or worse in large cars?)

But this is all before self-driving cars enter the scene - which have been tested for 0 driverless car crashes over 1.8 million miles by Google - with 13 fender benders caused by other cars. In other words, the case is there for super-small, super-efficient cars that are robotically controlled.

What we have in mind follows the standard of the 200 mpg fuel efficiency of the VW L1 first prototype car, at 640 lb weight, 8 hp, top speed of 75 mph, with tandem seating for 2. The efficiency dropped to 170 mpg in a hybrid version - If OSE achieves the same with 16 hp instead of 8 hp, and using hydraulics while not needing to go to a hybrid drive-train that apparently reduced its initial mileage performance - then we will have a major victory for open source- Hydraulic accumulators may be used for peak power. Plus, we’d like to achieve this with hydrogen as fuel in later versions.

More specifically - our model is an H3E car - including a hybrid electric component. The hydraulic component is a peak power electric-hydraulic micro-Power Cube of about 40 lb additional weight - powered by the onboard starter battery for its cranking amps. This additional 30 seconds of a starter battery would double the power of the 16 hp engine - such that burst of energy for passing and sudden acceleration can be achieved easily.

B The Solar Car

The Solar Challenge is a fascinating event that shows PV-covered cars traveling 62 mph average across Australia. Granted that the driving is in expensive prototypes ad a sunny country - only in daytime - this still bodes well for the feasibility of solar transportation. The typical cars used are small - surface area of a Toyota Prius - and the OSE version would be twice as large 24x8 feet for 3kW of installed PV + 44 lb Lithium ion batteries + 2.5 kW small engine. This allows for a total of 7kW of continuous power for one hour, or 4 kW total power continuous - at 750 lbs of weight. This just may work - if we 3D print a form frame for carbon fiber layup. 3D printing here may be the enabling technology.


The truck is a medium-size, hydraulic, 80 hp driven vehicle comparable to the Mercedes Unimog. With a design top speed of 62 mph, a weight of 6550 lb, and a hydraulic power take-off, the OSEmog could function as an agricultural tractor as well. The OSEmog is designed to accept a loader or various implements on the front or back. Using basic hydraulic circuits, the machine would have high and low gear, and speed cotrol via simple flow control valves.

Fig. The OSEmog is a multipurpose truck for carryng loads or operating various implements. With off-the shelf parts, it is designed to be field serviceable, and the working hydraulic fluid can be grown - canola oil with additives.

Hydraulic and Electric Motors

Both the car and truck have a choice of using hydraulic or electric drive. The advantages of hydraulics are low-cost, high torque, and simplicity of resulting drive design. Hydraulic motors cost only $10/hp, half that of electric motors - but a typical 40 hp hydraulic motor weighs about 50 lb as opposed to about 350 lb . Typically electric motors are high speed and need to be geared down - whereas hydraulics can be used largely with direct drive. If high torque electric motors are used - these are more like $100/hp when the controller is included - making the drive system 10x as expensive for larger machines. Electric motors are sensitive to moisture and dirt, while hydraulics are designed for dirty environments.

We use electric motors and generators - in solar electric power cubes - or in wind turbines. But the flexibility, power, and simplicity of hydraulics is a better choice for practical applications - especially when powered by hydrogen and transmitted by canola oil as the hydraulic fluid.

The electric motor can also be 3D printed, making it fit with the OSE product ecology.

Fig. A proprietary, 3D printed, 600W, 80% efficient electric motor. The equivalent is worthwhile to open-source.

Electric motors can be both linear and rotary. In the linear form, they are known as solenoids - very useful devices that are used to make valves. For automation - we use hydraulic valves to control machines like the brick press - and solenoids are used wherever pneumatic or hydraulic controls are needed. This means any automated system - from the water control in aquaponics to the control of an industrial robot.

The electric motor of interest ranges from a small 5W one to power a cordless drill - to the 50kW scale for use in the 50kW wind turbine.

This brings us to the energy sector.

Energy Tools

The sun currently shines 10000 times more power to the earth than the entire civilization uses. The implications are profound: there is no such thing as an energy shortage. Energy scarcity is an imagined problem if we talk about actual availability of energy.

We look at it as- it is a high priority to trap solar energy directly - by effective solar design of buildings (Homes and businesses spend about 50% of their energy on heating and cooling. )- and using photovoltaic energy (Solar Concentrator) to generate electricity locally, with wind (50kW Wind Turbine) wherever possible. For machines, the choice is to use hydrogen, charcoal, and compressed biogas.

Hydrogen is by far the most efficient and clean when derived from water (as opposed to refining from oil and gas). The process gives 0 pollution, and the product of hydrogen combustion is water. The OSE platform calls for provent internal combustion engines running on hydrogen as an immediately executable transition to a renewable energy future in transportation. Leading research institutes, such as the Rocky Mountain Institute (ref), promotes the hydrogen economy as the future, and hydrogen as a future energy source is not controversial if one assumes abundance of fuel feedstocks and distribution of energy production. Solar hydrogen can be produced anywhere, and wind hydrogen can be produced in most places around the world. We do not put such a high stake into batteries or supercapacitors when it comes to energy for cars, simply because chemical fuels are up to 140 times as energy dense. A typical energy density chart typically has chemical fuels off-the-charts good:

Fig. Show specific energy density of storage media, with bats and caps, and chemical fuels, for perspective - With supercapacitors having 100x less energy storage per weight than Lithium-Ion batteries, while costing 10x as much as ($2.85/kJ) as those batteries ($0.8/kJ), they are super-completely out of the question with today’s technology except for niche applications. Engines are .5kW/kg and Fuel (gas, diesel, methane) is 50MJ/kg and hydrogen is 140MJ/kg - or 50-140x more energy per weight than batteries. Given the environmental challenges of mining and recycling scarce metals, there is little case for battery-powered cars.

That means that a non-battery car can lug around a higher percentage of payload (persons, cargo) rather than carrying around more car structure and batteries.

For other purposes, biofuel pellets are desirable for heating fuel (after energy efficiency and solar thermal is maxed out) - such as by an aquaponic greenhouse with a black tubing heat exchanger.

Biofuel pellets can be burned partly to release heat in winter - and if taken out of combustion after the volatile chemicals are burned off but before carbon burns to ash - then we have produced charcoal that can be used in a combustion engine. Thus, dual-fuel hydrogen/charcoal cars are in our view the transportation of the future. We are open to fuel cells entering the scene, and at $134/kW they are almost feasible. They are too complex at this point for easy DIY production, so we may revisit this in 10 years if the technology becomes more accessible. Currently, fuel cells require exotic plastics and platinum, both of which are scarce resources. We are aiming for a sub $10k car which can be made with a standard internal combustion engine (ICE) running on hydrogen. Did you know that the first internal combustion automobile in the world ran on hydrogen in 1808? Furthermore, ICEs are about 20% efficient - ICEs running on hydrogen are about 40% efficient. For comparison, fuel cell vehicles are 50% efficient. Given that the efficiency gain of 25% of fuel cells over hydrogen ICEs comes at a 10x larger cost today, the case for pursuing hydrogen ICEs is much higher than the case for fuel cells. much cheaper H2ICE are seen by many experts as the means to provide a transition between emitting and non emitting transport and stationary system.

Fig. The possible cost of a fuel cell car today for a 200kW sedan is $26k - and an overall minimum of about $75k. The open source hydrogen microcar is aimed at an under $10k cost and more than 100 mpg using widely available technology. (comparison of components and price, using ref 3 above)

The answer already under our nose that is perhaps the most optimistic case for the energy revolution is solar power - at 0.015 cent per kilowatt-hour - demonstrated in 2016 by the Seed Eco-Home. This is 4x cheaper than gas turbine electric generation , and it allows for an equivalent 80 cent per gallon electricity cost for producing hydrogen.

The Power Cube

Our current Power Cube is a universal power unit that can power any of the large GVCS machines, from cars to lathes to the brick press. The Power Cube is gasoline powered and has a 16 hp engine. We already ran this on charcoal gas - and as such - the same power cube can readily be used in dual-fuel operation - gasoline on the one hand, and charcoal on the other. Once we add the gas production infrastructure - the power cube can run on the hydrogen and biogas production from the House. Because the pelletizer is part of the GVCS - we can make charcoal pellets from biomass pellets as a byproduct of space heating. The concept of pellets is important - in that pellets are a flowable fuel. Meaning - that just like gasoline or tradition fuels - it can be stored in a tank and delivered as fuel as if it were a liquid - by using a small auger. This makes pellets a convenient fuel source, which unlike wood - can be used automatically in small machines.

Moreover, the Power Cube can be run on solar energy, allowing for autonomous tractors and solar cars to enter. Solar power cubes are a good idea for shop power - where PV on the workshop roof feeds electric power cubes for hydraulic shop power. Power cubes can also be made very small - on the 1 kilowatt scale. They can also be stacked readily for higher power, so if we want a 160 hp bulldozer, we can do that based on our existing Power Cube.

The Power Cube involves developing open source engines so that they enter the realm of lifetime design public technology. A universal version of an open source engine means that such an engine could be maintained and produced in a distributed fashion, bringing it closer to appropriate technology with a lifecycle that includes more reusability of parts.

Fig. The Power cube and its different fuel sources - from gasoline, to charcoal, to compressed biogas, hydrogen, and electric.

The large torque of hydraulics makes them very flexible for driving a wide range of machines. A small power cube, such as a 300W version running on a single solar panel, can be used to drive a 2000 lb MicroTrac as a practical, autonomous tractor. The idea is that the machine would move very slowly - all day - on solar power. This is afforded by that fact that hydraulics have high torque at any speed - making this a perfect application of solar energy to autonomous, robotic tractor drive via a small microcontroller such as a $10 Pi Zero with Wireless. Thus, we can pull chicken tractors or pig tractors with a solar robotic tractor for a diversified agriculture operation.

Fig. Infographic. Mega power cubes for 160 hp for a bulldozer, and a micro power cube for a solar grinder/pelletizer or chicken tractor.

Autonomous animal tractors are another possible application of Power Cubes…

Fig. The economic breakdown of an autonomous chicken tractor. PV panel + micro power cube at $500, plus the tracked drive for another $500 with open source hydraulic motors. The hydraulic motors (SME) are produced on the open source lathe (SME).

The Gasifier

The OSE gasifier is a device that converts charcoal into gas for fueling engines. Note that this gasifier uses charcoal that is produced as a byproduct of space heating. The gasifier is a metal container filled with charcoal, which upon being lit via in a small burn zone with an air inlet - burns and produces gas. This gas can be used as fuel in a regular internal combustion engine. The power of this lies in that with minimal modifications, a standard engine can be fueled by charcoal - which is derived from wood or other biomass. This means that wherever plants grow - they provide a distributed and practical fuel source byond oil wars. To produce charcoal, biomass is first pelletized. Burning pellets for space heat - and removing them from the burn before they turn to ash - produces charcoal pellets.

Fig. Infographic. Space heating produces charcoal in the OSE ecosystem. The Gasifier vaporizes charcoal, which is then burned in a standard engine. This process can be used to fuel cars - no engine modification required.

The first reaction may be that if we turned plants into vehicle fuel - then we would destroy all of nature. That is not true, because there is plenty of biomass reserve that can be used to fuel the entire American car fleet, which uses about 60% of all the energy in the transportation sector. Did you know that the largest single crop in the United States is lawn? There are 40 million acres of turf grass. What if we turned lawns into fuel crop, while increasing esthetics and reducing herbicides? Yields of grass are 4 dry tons per acre - and if charcoal is produced at 25% efficiency - that is one ton of charcoal per acre - or 40 million tons of charcoal can be harvested from lawns alone, with no effect on food production, while increasing the ecological diversity of lawns. The average american uses 500 gallons per year of fuel. Lawns could thus provide ¼ of the entire car fleet fuel in the USA! (Charcoal is ¾ the energy content of gasoline by weight. At about 3 kg/gallon - 500 gallons is 1500 kg- about 1.5 metric tons - so 33M people could be supplied by fuel from lawns. If 95% of households have cars - - and household is 2.6 - there are about 120M drivers in the USA. Thus - ¼ of US drivers can be fueled by lawns.) This is at the crappy USA 23 miles per gallon - so increasing fuel efficiency to 100 mpg with super-efficient micro-cars could mean that the entire US car fleet is supplied by fuel from grass. Efficiency and ecology - as opposed to battery technology with questionable environmental side effects and its centralization based on scarce resources - make the OSE platform converge on biomass and hydrogen as the fuels of choice. The OSE platform reserves the role of batteries only as a small part of vehicular power, not the backbone of the auto industry.

The biomass route needs no technical invention to realize - today - and is also a carbon-neutral route. From the OSE perspective - hydrogen is clean (it produces water as the byproduct) but not better on ecological grounds (it does not contribute to biological ecology) - but it is much better on efficiency grounds.

When discussing biofuels, it is important to point to the food-fuel-fiber integrated agroecology route as the preferred OSE route to agriculture. As opposed to genetic engineering to produce super-crops, the OSE platform favors ecological integration over genetic manipulation - so that we avoid creating super-problems at the same time. The ecological route means that we learn more about dealing with integrated ecosystems, not trying point solutions (genetic engineering) as a cure. When dealing with powerful technologies like genetic engineering, we must pay attention to unintended consequences. The current economic paradigm of profit maximization is not compatible with care in the use of genetic engineering. We favor increasing productivity by stacking yields of multiple crops that work harmoniously in a polyculture setting - with tree crops as a significant component. For us, the breakthrough work of Badgersett Research Farm is seminal in providing this leadership. They are developing perennial crops (hazelnuts and chestnuts) that could serve as a viable replacement for soybeans and corn. (ref). Hazelnuts and chestnuts provide the same nutrition as their annual counterparts - but are perennial - and therefore do not contribute to the average 4 ton per acre annual soil erosion in the United States. (ref). Let me repeat that - the avarage topsoil loss in the United States - per acre - is 4 tons. What that means is that agricultural soils today are so depleted that they could not grow crops if it were not for the heavy inputs of fertilizers. The biological activity of commercial farmland is severely depleted (ref), not sustaining the soil food web of microbes that bring fertility back to the soil. (ref). Our proposition for perennial polyculture - is not new (ref on seminal works, Tree Crops, Regrarians, etc) - and it can produce food, fuel, and other materials.

To improve the world, all you need to do is plant trees. Desertification still claims an additional ______________ square miles every year, and it would be good to reverse that.

It takes less than 60x the land area to produce solar hydrogen compared to the land area required to grow biofuel crops. Between biofuel (easy) and hydrogen (hard), humanity’s fuel needs can be met. Let’s look at numbers: we already said 300 gallons of fuel equivalent per acre (enough to fuel one car for a year at a fuel economy of 40 MPG ) fuel consumption - roughly one gallon per day. If we apply this to hydrogen - 50kWhr of electricity is required to produce 1 kg of hydrogen, roughly one gallon gas equivalent. This can be obtained from a 9 kW PV array - running 6 hours per day - 54kWhr. The space required for a 9 kW array is 60 square meters if the panels are 15% efficient. An acre is 4000 square meters - so producing solar hydrogen requires 66 times less land area than growing the equivalent grass. Our materials cost for 9 kW of solar panels is under $9k. So one can obtain 20 years of hydrogen fuel for a PV investement cost of $17k.

Fig. Home hydrogen production. The OSE open source goal is $9k for PV panels, $2k for storage, $2k for pump, $2k for plumbing, and $2k for the electrolyzer. That is $17k for a lifetime supply of hydrogen. Compare to gasoline - $1250/year on average. Payback time for home fuel station is 14 years in the USA and 7 years in Europe. We intend to make hydrogen production a standard feature of the Seed Eco-Home.

Add a paragraph about renewable energy plantations - perennial polycultures for fuel, food, fiber.

Fig. Basic economic model for renewable energy plantations involves $x/acre in coppiced fuel, $1000/acre in nuts, and $2k/acre in sustainable chickens that fertilize the crop via autonomous chicken tractors.

Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is a device that takes heat from one medium and puts it into another. For example, in the Seed Eco-Home - we have a hydronic stove with heat exchanger which is used to heat water for heating the house.

Fig. Hydronic stove with heat exchanger. A heat exchanger heats water, and if that water is boiled, it can be used to run a steam engine or turbine. Small steam engines have been used for shop power 100 years ago, and they can be used even more effectively today. You can get a working kit for $275 on Ebay.

Simpler examples of the heat exchanger are the Hillbilly Heater. This device traps solar heat and puts it into water circulating through the black tubing. This energy is released through another coil in the aquaponic ponds, for example. A closed heat exchanger means that the water in the black tubing does not mix with the pond water. Or, this heat exchanger could be an open heat exchanger, where the water is heated and then used as hot water in a shower - so that a steady supply of new water is fed through the exchanger instead of just circulating - as in the pond heating case.

Fig. The hillbilly heater can be used to heat ponds or to provide hot water for the house.

Modern Steam Engine

The modern steam engine is an engine that produces power from steam. The industrial economy was created by steam power. And steam turbines are the main way that power is generated today.

A modern steam engine is a small engine that makes sense to build wherever space heating is involved. For example, a centrally heated building could be generating power at the same time as its being heated - if a heat engine with a generator is added to the system. Thus, we are piggy-backing on an existing power source, while using all the waste heat.

Under 500 hp - or in any small scale installation - it is more effective to have a steam engine as the engine of choice. Above 500hp, it is more effective to use a steam turbine. Large power plant steam turbines reach 50% efficiency.

A flame-fired or solar-powered heat exchanger can produce steam - for electricity generation. This makes sense for combined-heat-and-power systems. Most of today’s electricity is produced by water that is boiled in power plants to provide electricity via steam turbines. (ref) This can be done effectively on a scale of 500 or more horsepower - which is village scale, not home scale. For the smaller scale, a small steam engine can be used. For this reason, we have incorporated a modern steam engine into the GVCS - as a machine for producing electricity on top of a heat source. This could be done in our hydronic stove - where the water goes from the steam engine and then to house heating after some power has been extracted for electricity. It makes sense to convert the heat into high grade electricity - when the steam engine is connected to a generator.

Fig. Hydronic stove with power generation.

Did you know that the modern steam engine - a specific advanced version - is more efficient than the internal combustion engine? The Cyclone engine is a high tech, high temperature steam engine made of stainless steel and exotic materials - with thermal efficiency over 30%.

There is another steam engine that received a lot of attention on the internet but appears not to work well - the Green Steam Engine. We do not endorse the engine, as suggested by Tom Kimmel of Kimmel Steam Power - and you can read more in an old blog post. ( . I have since contacted Mr. Greene for data on Feb 1, 2018, but I have not been presented with any data.)

All together, the modern steam engine is valuable for household power, if the Power Cube is used for mobile power. What would be the cost of a steam engine add-on to a household infrastructure? Small models of ¼ hp are available for under $300 in parts, ( ) and these are scalable readily to larger sizes. The current seed eco-home stove has sufficient power to run this engine, so only an additional pump would be required to feed water to this system.

Integration of such a system would work well if pelletized biomass were used as fuel - and subsequently - charcoal would be produced for use in cars as a byproduct of household power generation. An interesting milestone would be an automated biomass energy system from an autonomous tractor-pelletizer - up to the production of charcoal as car fuel using gasifiers - all from one’s former lawn converted to bioenergy crop. In such case, nickel iron batteries may be desirable in so far as excess energy storage from daytime solar power.

Fig. The energy product ecology of the Seed Eco-Home includes solar hydrogen, biogas for cooking, and production of car fuel from the lawn.

Solar Concentrator

The modern steam engine equation becomes much more exciting when solar concentration is used. Using 30% efficient, modern steam engines, proven linear solar concentrators, and a night-time storage system based on large, insulated propane tanks with hot water - it is possible to produce an off-grid energy system with $100/kWhr energy storage costs - 4x cheaper than lithium ion batteries. A breakthrough company - Terrajoule - has already demonstrated this. Then the question becomes - if this has already been shown in the first prototype of Terrajoule, why isn’t everyone doing this when the technology is all proven? One cannot beat the simplicity of water and solar heat as the ultimate storage medium.

What can water really do? When water is heated but not allowed to expand, it turns to what is known as saturated water. A saturated liquid is a liquid whose temperature and pressure are such that any decrease in pressure without change in temperature causes it to boil. In other words, if a tank was not holding the water at pressure - that water would turn into steam.

Just how much energy can that water store at a medium pressure? A lot. Looking at the total heat content of water that would otherwise turn to steam, but is held under pressure at 18 atmospheres (250 PSI) in a tank instead - we see that each kilogram of such saturated water holds about ¼ kWhr of energy. That means that a 10,000 gallon propane tank can store about 4MWhr of energy! We can extract that energy with a modern steam engine, where steam engines from the 1950s got to about 30% efficiency. After all the losses, we would have 300kWhrs of electricity when the modern steam engine runs a generator.

We can scale that down to a residential system - just a 1000 gallon propane tank - and 30kWhrs of electricity produced.

Fig. Cost and energy of a home-scale solar energy storage system using water and modern steam power. From energy content of 400kWhrs to 30kW hours of electricity is quite doable using proven technologies, at ¼ the cost of battery storage.

Nickel Iron Battery

Nickel-Iron Batteries are long-life batteries that have a track record of lasting 50 or more years. Unlike other batteries, these can be discharged fully without decreasing their lifetime. These are chosen for the Global Village Construction Set specifically for their long life - and becuase nickel and iron are not scarce resources. While heavier and 2x more expensive than lithium ion batteries, (Read an intereresting pro-con discussion - ) they make up by their long lifetime, and lend themselves to decentralized production. New developments are in progress, ( ) though OSE does not rely on new developments for feasibility given that OSE internalizes social and environmental aspects for true cost accounting. The cost is currently high because production volume is low - only 2 US manufacturers. Based on a nickel price of $6/lb and iron at 25 cents/lb, and a weight of 100 lb for 1kWhr - and a 20% content of nickel in nickel iron batteries ckel-iron-ni-fe-battery - the base materials cost of materials in Nickel Iron batteries appears to be $150/kWhr. That is similar to lead acid batteries and ½ of lithium ion costs - but if the lifetime of these batteries is really 50 years, then they are 5-10x cheaper than other batteries based on lifetime.

According to recent research:

There are many reasons favouring the use of NiFe cells as cost-effective solutions to store grid-scale amounts of energy, such as low cost of raw materials, environmental friendliness, electrical abuse tolerance, long life (in the order of thousands cycles of charge and discharge) and compatibility with photovoltaics (PVs). Due to the nature of the heavy metals involved in its construction this technology is suitable for stationary low gravimetric energy applications (30–50 Wh kg-1 ). As a consequence, there are good reasons to foresee a large scale utilization of this technology. Due to their outstanding safety properties (zero flammability, fail safe, no over/ under charge), low cost and long lifetime, we anticipate that they will receive widespread public acceptance for customer-connected energy storage.

It is our hope that the nickel iron battery would be only a small fraction of electrical power storage needs in the future - such as replacing 5-year lifetime starter batteries in vehicles. For night time electricity, it would be useful for warmer regions to use solar concentrator saturated water storage - as one possibility - or solar hydrogen as another.

In colder areas, biomass is typically available as an abundant energy crop - where PV may not be adequate if there are weeks without sun. The exact mix of solar concentrator electric, PV, wind, charcoal, biomass, biogas, and hydrogen is to be determined at Factor e Farm as we measure the value of all these systems side by side. The main requirement for OSE is true service to humanity, environmental regeneration, and freedom from resource conflicts.

50 kW Wind Turbine

A wind turbine converts a renewable form of energy - wind - into electricity. It provides a good backup to PV electricity, as wind typically blows when the sun is not out.

We propose a vertical axis wind turbine for the initial OSE version based on integration with hydraulics and the Universal Rotor. A simple system can consist of a pole mounted 40 hp hydraulic motor ($400), serving as a pump - which transfers fluid power to an on-the-ground hydraulic motor ($300) + 24 kW generator ($1000). The power generator related costs are ~ $2000 here, and the rest is the tower and structure. With $6k spent on the materials for this wind turbine, this would be $250/installed kW in materials costs - with installation being 15% on top of this - a very attractive package in a sweet spot of cost for readily-available components. This is compared to $1590/kW standard costs of large scale wind installations.

The OSE design features a generator that is mounted on the ground, with only the hydraulic motor on top of the tower. This facilitates maintenance considerably. The savings is due in part to the great simplification of the nacelle - in the OSE case, the vertical axis design doesn’t have a yaw mechanism - it’s just a hydraulic motor that accepts wind from any direction. These turbines are not as efficient in terms of wind capture as they are lower to the ground - but the low capital + maintenance costs make up for the lower efficiency. Because they can be packed more tightly in the same area, however - VAWT wind farms can actually produce 10x the energy of a propeller-type wind farm. They also self-regulate their speed, so they do not need a braking meachanism for overwind conditions.

Fig. OSE VAWT concept. Simplification of design include ground-mounted generator, yawless rotor, screw pile foundation , and braking via the hydraulic motor as the overspeed protection. The wind turbine module is designed for 24 kW, and it includes the Electric Motor/generator, Universal Rotor, Hydraulic Motor, Power Cube, and Universal Power Supply for managing power.

8. Universal Power Supply The Universal Power Supply (UPS) is the last of the energy machines. It is a universal device for powering large electronic machines - induction furnaces, welders, plasma cutters, laser cutters - and for controlling power delivery and transmission to homes or electric cars. It is also used for charging. The UPS has feedback such that it would know when batteries are full, or for optimizing the power transfer into a load of metal that is melted with the induction furnace.

The Universal Power Supply in general converts AC and DC into voltages and currents of any amplitude and frequency. The UPS is scalable from a few watts to 20kW based on the same design of modules. The Universal Power Supply can also be used to condition power from the wind turbine or PV system and pump it into the grid. It can also be used as an inverter to convert DC to AC, or it can be used to control the speed of an electric car. It can also be used to step power up to high voltage for power transmission over longer distances, such as up to the 69,000 volts for rural power lines.

As with the mechanical machines, the Universal Power Supply is based on modular design, such that we can arrive at a Construction Set. Just like power units, wheels, shafts, hydraulic motors, control valves, and frames can create any mechanical industrial machine, so can a small number of modules provide just about any electrical power function in the Universal Power Supply. These modules are mainly: a microcontroller, a current measurement device, a transistor, wires, laminated cores, ferrite beads, diodes, optocouplers, resistors, capacitors, and inductors - plus a few mechanical components such as plugs, cases, cooling systems. With advanced transistors that now cost $1 per kW of power handling, large power electronic devices can be built on the cheap if open source knowhow is available.

Wires and metal cores themselves produce a wide range of devices: inductors, transformers, relays, solenoids, switches for large currents, electric motors, spark generators, electromagnets, and other devices.

Lasers, charge controllers, inverters, welders, induction furnaces, plasma cutters, oxyhydrogen generator power supply, and motor controllers are all functions that can be generated with the Universal Power Supply. These are all based upon currents and voltages at different frequencies and amplitudes that perform radically different functions. This has to do with the nature of electricity - jus like a few atom types (100 or so) make up millions of different substances that are all around us - so can electricity be manipulated to perform a wide array of functions. Any of the above devices consist of a microcontroller and a power transistor - along with some resistors, capacitors, and inductors. The microcontroller could be an Ardduino or a Rasperry Pi - which now cost as little as $5 for these small computers running with a 700MHz cpu. This CPU - via software - can produce a voltage of any amplitude and frequency using transistors. In other words - a ‘brain’ - the CPU - can massage electrons so they maifest at any voltage or frequency - by using transistors - or devices where a small signal from a CPU controls a large voltage. Essentially - a transistor is a switch - which is activated by a small signal.

For example - taking DC voltage - one can make it pulsed and appear as an oscillating sine wave. This is an inverter for household power - which can for example take electricity from PV cells and convert that into household current. Or - this same inverter can be pulsed much faster to create a 30kHz voltage used in an induction furnace. And regulation can happen - such as an induction furnace delivering power most effectively to the molten charge - when the same microcontroller can measure the voltage, and change the frequency of the applied voltage to pump power more effectively into the melt.

This is all possible because superfast microcontrollers, and high power handling transistors - can all be purchased now for a few dollars.

Energy Summary

Combining biomass, charcoal, biogas, wind power, the solar concentrator, steam electricity, hydrogen, PV - and the electronic controls of the Universal Power Supply - makes for a resilient power infrastructure without necessitating resource conflicts.

Open Source Microfactory

The Open Source Microfactory (OSM) is the crown jewel of the Global Village Construction. It is the part that allows for GVCS self-replication - in that the Open Source Microfactory allows for the production of all the GVCS tools - including the Microfactory itself..

The Open Source Microfactory is broken into 2 main parts: precision CNC tools, and metal production tools. The CNC tools - which stands for Computer Numerical Control - are automated machines that can be programmed to build things - from small parts, to engines, and everything in between. The metal production tools allow for the production of virgin steels from scrap. The steel that can be produced with the GVCS metal tools thus allows for the creation of advanced civilization - wherever there is access to scrap steel. Scrap steel is abundant, and so it iron ore from which steel is made. Iron is the 4th most abundant element in the earth’s crust - after oxygen, silicon, and aluminum.

What if there is no scrap steel available? We can go to aluminum - which is even more abundant in terms of the crust’s composition. Aluminum is found in common clay. Clay is aluminosilicate, from which aluminum can be extracted. Because Aluminum is so abundant - the GVCS goes so far as the extraction of aluminum from clay. This is intended to break through any notions of scarcity in today’s civilization. Clay is abundant, and it’s an essential part of the GVCS: compressed earth blocks, soil for growing food, clay for 3D printed pots and cookware - in addition to the production of aluminum metal.

Fortunately - silicon is even more abundant. We get solar cells for producing electricity from silicon - a core technology for the GVCS such as in the Seed Eco-Home. In less than the time it takes to read this paragraph, the sun will have provided as much energy to Earth as used by all of human civilisation in one day. Thus silicon solar cells are important. And silicon is used to make semiconductors - so silicon creates the computer age.

With the Open Source Microfactory - we thus aim to show that literally, modern civilization may be created - from dirt and twigs. This can happen on any parcel of land - as solar cells can easily produce about 500kW of energy - from an acre. So a facility such as the OSE headquarters can produce all the technology required to produce an advanced civilization. For example, 500kW of solar energy - or 3MWhrs per 6 hours of daylight - can produce 200 kg of aluminum per day. Aluminum requires 15 kWhr per kilogram to smelt. ( . This one says ,05 GJ/kg - )Aluminum is energy intensive - but its production may one day be improved for more environmentally-sound production - as can any other process by internalizing environmental costs.!

This shows how energy intensive aluminum production is - but its 3x better weight to strength ratio compared to steel makes it a desirable product. With the proposes 200kW solar microfactory - we can produce 80 kg of aluminum per day. That’s not a lot - but acceptable as a proof of concept for an appliance-size machine.

Aluminium is the most abundant metallic element in the Earth’s crust (about 8%) and the second most widely used metal next to steel. The aluminum production process involves taking ordinary clays such as abundant kaolin clay - and leaching out alumina with hydrochloric acid to produce Al203, which is subsequently turned to Aluminum via electrolysis at a cost of 15 kWhr per kg of aluminum produced. For reference in terms of energy requirements - this is like converting one gallon of gasoline to one kg of aluminum. That’s a lot of energy. But the main point here is that this can be done anywhere where there is soil - clay for making aluminum is an abundant feedstock.

If we talk about the carbon dioxide emissions - whether from aluminum or steel production - the way we propose to make it sustainable is to make the CO2 recyclable. If the carbon involved in the reactions for producing metals - or for that matter any other product - comes from charcoal derived from biomass - then the industrial process is regenerative as the plants that were used to produce the charcoal took the carbon out of the atmosphere in the first place. Thus, a sustainable industry is possible when civilization evolves to using charcoal instead of fossil fuels.

However, it should be stated that CO2 in the long run may be more advantageous for ecology - even from fossil fuels - if that CO2 yields more plant growth. While many people see CO2 per say as a global warming problem - it is also possible that the CO2 will make the earth more green. Nobody knows what will happen at this point - we can only speculate as to the long term effects of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

The open source microfactory is intended to produce an entire technosphere from local resources, pushing the limits of what can be done:

Fig. Open Source Microfactory cyclic material flows can be based on local resources. Metals, bioplastics, ceramics, PV cells, concrete, carbon, hydrogen, glass, rubber, fuels, food, construction materials, and many other chemicals can be produced from local abundance.

If it is indeed that PV cells can be made from local sand, and aluminum from clay - and everything else as noted - then we have truly stepped into a world of post-scarcity. At the point where material production is guaranteed, it may be possible for people to evolve full time - without being held back by mere survival. That is the essence of society that OSE intends to create - one in which material needs are not in the way of human evolution.

For any other processes of industry - the Open Source Microfactory can provide. If you can make buildings, glass, metal, and plastics + other materials - you can build anything. Advanced processes such as chemical plants or semiconductor fabs - are nothing but buildings, metal vessels, motors, vacuum pumps, and a few other basics - and from there spews out any product - in a nutshell. This does not even involve the nanotech of molecular manipulation - where it is deemed that in the future we will be able to synthesize substances by moving atoms directly - without regard for chemical reactivity as we know it today. Yet we do not invoke the Technological Singularity as a prerequisite for meeting all human needs.

Let’s move to the specific tools in the Open Source Microfactory:


Fig. Tools of the Open Source Microfactory. They include everything needed to produce precision metal parts starting from scrap metals, glass, bioplastics, and even semiconductors for solar cells.

Universal Axis

Six of the Open Source Microfactory tools are based on the Universal Axis. The Universal Axis is a modular, and scalable CNC axis which can be used to create cartesian CNC machines. The core of the axis design is belt drive and linear motion rods where carriages are pulled on the rods. The system is scalable to any size and number of axes, including rotary axes. The system uses a combination of 3D printed parts, metal plates, and belt-driven shafts. Applications include 3D printers, CNC torch tables, heavy duty CNC machines, and many other production machines.

We intend to use the 5/16”, 1”, and 2” versions for 3D printers, CNC torch tables, and heavy duty CNC machines - which are among the key machines that can be built with the system - though a variant of any size and shape can be designed.

Fig. The universal axis comes in 5/16”, 1”, and 2” variations, and is based on belt drive, though a screw and nut system can also be used as a drive. Various tool heads can be attached. Non-contact tool heads are attached magnetically, such as the laser cutter and 3D printer. Rotary attachments can even be used for 3D scanning or indexing.

For heavy duty applications, the plastic plates may be reinforced with steel plates - making a steel-plastic composite that has the required strength - while being easy to produce because the complex geometry is 3D printed. The metal plates themselves can be CNC cut using the CNC torch table. This allows for the lowest cost route - the 2” bushings capable of 8000 lb force on these axes currently cost only $9.41 at McMaster Carr.

Fig. Metal-plastic Universal Axis System.

The power of the universal axis lies in its flexibility. The same design of the drive system can be used to make an unlimited range of fabrication machines, putting the manufacturing process completely in the hands of anyone - without high barriers to entry. This is aimed at the Open Source Microfactory in every town, where our goal is to distribute at least 10,000 of these open source microfactories around the world, each generating at least $100,000 of net revenue per year. Once production returns to communities, we expect that taxes will go down as communities once again become responsible for their own prosperity.

The 3D Printer, Bioplastic Extruder, 3D Scanner

The 3D printer is a machine with diverse applications. Essentially, the technosphere is made from plastics, ceramics, and metals. 3D printers can print with all of these, and are as such ubiquitously applicable to manufacturing of all sorts. Currently, it is easy to print with all kind of plastic, including rubber for printing tires and polycarbonate for printing glazing. It is likewise easy to print ceramics - by printing clay and then baking it. Here we can produce ceramic cookware or clay parts such as insulators or building bricks. If the clay contains a large fraction of glass or metal - then upon kilning - 3D printed glass and metal objects can be printed as well. Metal printing can also happen via a MIG or TIG welder as the working toolhead - where large metal structures can be printed additively like this. If we go a step up to lasers - we can do selective laser sintering of any kind of powder - from plastic, to ceramic, to metal. Extremely strong, precise metal parts can be created this way - such that for example the rocket engine for Elon Musks’s SpaceX rockets has been 3D printed.

Fig. Different applications of 3D printing: plastic, rubber, glass, metal, ceramic, and housing.

Carbon fiber or metal fibers can also be embedded in plastic 3D prints to make the parts as strong as aluminum. 3D printing can also print ceramic molds which can then be used for casting directly into these molds - using either molten metal from an induction furnace or a MIG weld right into the metal form.

Fig. Apparatus for automated metal casting using 3D printing of molds + induction heating of melt to fill the molds.

Currently - open source printing includes plastic + rubber 3D printing, welder 3D printing, clay printing for ceramics, clay-metal 3D printing for metals, selective laser sintering of plastics, and 3D priting of concrete or clay buildings. With a little bit of work, the full printing with metal or glass using selective laser sintering can be developed by using off-the-shelf technologies. An 80W laser tube like in the Laser Cutter + shielding gas allows for selective laser sintering of off-shelf metal powders.

Fig. If metal powder is available (it is, such as iron at $1/lb) - then we can use a laser to fuse a powder bed to complex 3D objcts that cannot be produced in any other way.

The world of 3D printing is in its infancy - and this is definitely worth refining to achieve full 3D printability in any material. Perfecting all of the above 3D printing can go far towards local production of just about anything.

Bioplastic Extruder

The Bioplastic Extruder is part of a system that enables the production of biodegradeable bioplastics from natural feedstocks such as cellulose or sugars. The system includes 3D printing filament production as well as direct extrusion of useful parts.

Four main aspects are involved in the Bioplastic Extruder System. First, a bioplastic reactor is used to make bioplastic from abundant biological feedstocks such as cellulose, sugar, or starch. Second - once the plastic is produced - or is available from the waste stream - it can be extruded with the Bioplastic Extruder to make 3D printing filament. Third, the 3D printing filament is then used directly in 3D printers to make useful objects. Fourth, other useful products can be made with the extruder: plastic lumber, which can be made from recycled plastic and sawdust. This could be a great way to recycle plastics into durable construction materials. Other useful profiles - such as tubing and glazing panels - can also be produced with the bioplastic extruder. Thus, the bioplastic extruder per se can be used for 2 main purposes: making 3D printing filament as an intermiediate feedstock for 3D printers - or extruding useful products directly.

Fig. The bioplastic production system of the GVCS consists of bioplastic synthesis followed by extrusion to produce 3D printing filament, tubing, sheets, or plastic lumber. 3D printing filament can be used for 3D printing. Thermoplastic elastomers - or rubber - can also be printed.

There are 3 types of bioplastics - those derived from: (1) petroleum and biodegradeable; (2) biomass and biodegradeable; and (3) biomass and non-biodegradeable. OSE is most interested in bio-based, biodegradeable bioplastics, as the feedstocks are most widely available and can be produced ecologically anywhere in the world.

The OSE bioplastic system allows for local recycling such that the plastic never ends up in the landfill - but is either reused or recycled. By eliminating plastic waste and turning it into valuable products, wealth can be multiplied. Also, we can clean up the environment by reusing plastics - which can otherwise persist in the environment for 1000 years. Such recycling also reduces the need for petroleum - the typical feedstock of plastics.

Bioplastics derived from biomass that are non-biodegradeable can be produced from petroleum substitutes. Petroleum can be replaced with charcoal. As such, any plastic typically derived from petroleum can also be produced from renewable, plant-derived charcoal. In the OSE system, plant matter is pelletized, then burned partially for space heating or process heat - with the byproduct being the important charcoal feedstock. If one is interested in replacing petroleum-derived chemicals - charcoal is first burned in a gasifier to produce CO and H2 - just as the gasifier fuels regular engines with CO and H2 - a combustible mixture. Instead of being burned in an engine as a renewable fuel, these molecules can combine under heat and pressure and an iron catalyst to produce long hydrocarbon chains and water. The long chains are alkanes - the typical long-chain molecules of -[CH2]- found in petroleum. This conversion process is known as Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, and is important from the abundance mindset - in that all products than now come from coal and petroleum can be made more ecologically - from plants.

Fig. The circular economy of OSE is based on wood - to make charcoal, paper, bioplastic, rubber, and fuel.

Cellulose acetate is a bioplastic that is easily made from the most abundant organic polymer in the world - cellulose. It can be made readily from trees. Did you know that wood fibers can be converted to this bioplastic by reacting these fibers - with glacial acetic acid? The product is 3D

printable. You can make windows with it. Instead of trees, one can use any source of cellulose - paper, cotton, straw, or other cellulose materials.

Straw and wood are thus very important in the overall product ecology for making fuel pellets, insulation for the Seed Eco-Home (with borax), strawboard, charcoal, paper, steel (charcoal with iron ore), and bioplastics.

Polylactic Acid, or PLA, is the most popular bioplastic used in 3D printing. It can be derived from bacterial fermentation of sugar - and is thus an accessible technology within the GVCS.

Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) or polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) bioplastic polyesters are considered the best candidates to replace the current petroleum-based plastics due to their durability in use and wide spectrum of properties. They are made by bacteria from sugar or starch at an efficiency of up to 80% of bacterial cell mass. Some PHAs are elastomers. Thus - it is realistic to include rubber production for tires - from sugar or starch - within the industrial ecology of the GVCS. Unlike latex resin from dandelion roots - which can be used to produce thermoset plastics - PHA rubber is thermoplastic, so it can be recycled easily. Both PHA rubber and dandelion root rubber can be grown anywhere - thus removing the strategic importance of tropical rubber tree plantations. It appears that PHA rubber is more viable from the decentralization perspective. Wood, broken with acid to simpler sugars - can also be used a feedstock for PHA - thus making PHA rubber production possible anywhere in the world. However, woody crop can compete with food crops - so we once again emphasize perennial polycultures as ways to produce food, fuel, and fiber. With perennials, it is also easier to use degraded lands, which can be regenerated back to fertility and health when annual crops are removed from the equation.

In addition to sugar and cellulose, starch from common sources such as potatoes or corn can be polymerized readily in the kitchen. For example, mixing vinegar and glycerine with the starch makes a bioplastic. This is the easiest route that can be used for 3D printing

The bioplastic extruder has 2 main functions: one is to perform extrusions directly - or to produce intermediate 3D printer filament which is then used to 3D print final objects. For the latter, we are currently building upon two open source projects working on plastic extruders: the Lyman Filament Extruder, and the Thunderhead Filament Extruder from Tech For Trade. These are simple versions of plastic extruders - which if scaled up and made more robust - can produce not only 3D printing filament, but larger extrusions.

3D Scanner

The 3D scanner allows for scanning of 3D objects to produce Computer Aided Design (CAD) models for reverse engineering. This is very useful - as we can take existing parts and digitize them for use as editable CAD models. A single camera can be used for photogrammetry, which is a computational technique for converting a set of pictures of an object taken from multiple angles into a 3D object. There is a number of open source programs that can do this. A 3D digital object can also be generated using multiple cameras, laser beams, or other light sources reflected from an object. As the simplest route, OSE will build on existing work to develop the toolchain and procedure for photogrammetry - as that requires no hardware outside of a simple camera and a computer to process the images. If markers are used on objects, accurate CAD can be generated with proper dimensions.

It gets more interesting: we can 3D scan internal features, too. This is known as industrial Computed Tomography (CAT) - essentially - a CAT scan for metal objects. By using an x-ray or gamma ray source - and then photographing an image - we can build a low-cost DIY CAT scanner. Combined with an open source code base for image processing from CERN, 3D industrial tomography scans can be obtained.

CNC Circuit Mill + Small Laser Cutter

We have already prototyped a circuit mill - the D3D CNC Circuit Mill. This shows a great example of the Unversal CNC axis modularity - where we have used the same motion system as in the 3D printer - but now strengthened the motion system by doubling the x axis to hold a small router. While the 3D printer is a non-contact manufacturing method - the circuit mill requires that the axes withstand contact forces of the milling operation. The strong, steel space frame of the D3D platform can handle these forces.

Furthermore, other tool heads can be used on the Universal Axis. One useful example is a small 4W laser cutter, which cut up to ¼” plywood for prototyping purposes.

Fig. The OSE CNC circuit mill and example circuits produced. The Router Tool Head is one of many tool heads that can be used on the Universal Axis system. A small laser is another, and can be retrofitted readily. The laser cutter toolhead allows for cutting cardboard for rapid prototyping. (4-picture - mill+product, laser+product)

Prototyping with a laser cutter is important to the GVCS because the laser cutter can simulate the cutting that is typically done with a CNC torch table. Just like the CNC torch table typically cuts ½” thick flat parts out of sheet steel - the small laser cutter can cut parts out of paper stock. These parts can then be glued or fit together - just like the CNC-torch-cut metal parts are welded to make real-life 3D machines such as the CEB Press.

Fig. Flat metal is used to generate 3D objects by welding. We thus use 2D cutting to create 3D objects.

An open source project for a larger laser cutter - the 100W Lasersaur - is already well-developed. We can use this platform to build upon as well, to reduce cost from its current $7k to something more on the scale of $3k for a large format laser cutter. The Universal Axis could be applied here, such that only the laser system ($2000) remains as a significant cost - and the rest of the system is ($1000). This would be another great application of the Universal Axis to show its flexibility.

Another useful example of a practical tool-head is a ceramic 3D printer head - which is an extruder for clay materials that can be fired to make functional ceramics. Examples of very useful ceramics are insulators and pottery - especially stovetop cookware made of flameware clay - which can replace commercial cookware and provide artistry in the open source Seed Eco-Home kitchen.

Fig. The ceramic print head allows for the production of practical objects such as pots and pans for cooking, bringing artistry back into the kitchen.

Collaborative Prototyping + Model Kits + Product Ideas + The Open Source Everything Store

With access to the OSE Developer Kit - 3D printer, CNC Circuit Mill, and Laser Cutter - all as different tool heads on the same Universal Axis system - collaborators access a powerful capacity to prototype the larger machines of OSE. Using these tools, accurate scale models can be built. This can extend the collaboration capacity on OSE machine development significantly. There are 4 major ways that collaborative prototyping can be done using the 3-in-1 Universal Axis machine.

First, there is collaboration is CAD verification. Computer Aided Design (CAD) is used in the OSE design process in order to save countless hours during the build. In a proper design process, it is easier to design in virtual CAD - and figure out how everything fits together - rather than going straight to a build and having to fit everything on the fly. The ability to model accurately in CAD is the power that allows OSE to do builds on the scale of a day - as opposed to weeks. However - this works only if the CAD is accurate, because if the CAD drafting is not accurate, it may be impossible to build a machine. CAD quality depends on the skill of the draftsperson. For this reason, it is important to verify the CAD as one of the steps that takes place prior to a build. If mistakes are not caught prior to the build, time and materials are wasted, people can get frustrated, and schedules are delayed.

How do we guarantee that a machine can be built as drafted? With an accurate scale model. First, we must make sure that the CAD of individual parts is correct. This can be assured when accurate CAD files are available - whether the files are generated from measurements, provided by manufacturers, or 3D scanned with the open source 3D scanner. Second, we can verify the actual buildability. This can be done by laser cutting from paper the parts that would be CNC Cut from steel, and then 3D printing the components that we would otherwise get off-the-shelf. For the 3D printing - it is critical that we print every single part - up to bolts and nuts - so the entire assembly we can verify every single step of the build.

This leads to the second use of collaborative prototyping - producing build instructional manuals and videos using the scale models. This allows contributors all over the world to produce meaningful content - without requiring that the contributors have access to a workshop. Since qulaity intstructionals production requires as much effort as the design work - this is another way to contribute to a large, parallel development effort.

The third route to collaborative prototyping is the production of Model Kits for actual products. For example, the Seed Eco-Home lends itself very well for such modeling. Another company, Arckit (ref), is a good model for how we can design the model kit for the OSE’s collaboration with the Open Building Institute.

Fig. Arckit is a great example for modeling. In the OBI case, the models correspond to real building panels and real build procedures. This makes the OBI Architecture Kit a tangible way for people to get involved in meaningful design of future house models.

The OBI Architecture Kit lends itself well to 3D printing as well as laser cutting. 3D printed parts would snap together like Lego blocks.

Another model kit that would be very useful to GVCS prototyping is the Machine Build Kit - a kit for producing tractors, heavy equipment, and other automated machines. Combined with the OBI Arch Kit for buildings - this would produce the Civiliation Model Kit. The concept for the Machine Build Bit is a mixture of Lego Mindstorms, MakeBlock, Erector Set, Capsela, Box Beam Sourcebook, and Solar Micro Power Cube (all refs) - so that the system can run on solar power. The value proposition is that the kit would once again be based on real buildable parts - thus extending its use from childsplay to real design work.

The OSE Developer Kit + Model Kits pave the way for the 4th route to collaborative prototyping - that of developing open source enterprise. These 2 kits are products in themselves - and can be used as the basis for collaborative business development of distributive enterprise (ref). The concept here revolves around reaching the $1T tipping point for the open source economy - the point at which mainstream adoption of open source economics is likely ($1T is calculated as the 10% tipping point at which viral adoption of open source economics can occur. This coincides with the next Enlightenment of humanity - see Tipping Point on the wiki - ). This is as large as the combined revenue of Apple ($229B), Google ($79B), FB ($41B), Amazon ($178B), and Walmart ($486B) combined (Microsoft ($90B) - not includes so total is $1T.) - the latter being the single largest corporation in the world.

OSE’s distributive enterprise approach to the tipping point is distributive. The core of OSE’s economic theory is that, by definition, a distributive enterprise serves its customers more effectively than any proprietary enterprise. Thus, a DE has a high likelihood of deposing the corporation as the dominant societal institution, replacing it with the next phase of the human economy - the open source economy. The transition is in our view likely - because the goal of a distributive enterprise is to produce free enterprise - defined as distributing wealth most equitably. Current economic paradigms do not internalize distribution in their economic models. The next economy is achievable via full cost accounting and zero competitive waste, thereby achieving zero marginal cost (ref ZMCS). This proposition is simple to grasp, but most challenging to execute. We are not interested in DE as an ideology - but as a pragmatic proposition that simply meets needs more effectively - in an integrated sense - than current models.

The ask for distributive enterprise is to create the Open Source Everything Store - a networked and collaborative store based on Open Source Microfactories. That is - for people to collaborate on open source product development as a massive parallel effort. Decentralized, distributed, networked production is not a new idea - many people love and claim the idea as their own. To date no successful, economically-viable implementation exists, and certainly not open source. There were many attempts, from the FabLab, Local Motors, 1000 Garages, Ponoko - but none are both distributed and open source. The FabLab is a distributed microfactory concept, but none of its machines are currently open source. FabLabs are are externally funded, and none are used to run a successful business. Local Motors works on distributed production, but their designs and microfactory tools are not open source. 1000 Garages appears stalled. Ponoko and many operations like Ponoko are available. They are successful enterprises, but they do not use open source production tools or software. None of these projects provide open source enterprise information. Perhaps the best examples are 2: first, Lulzbot, which shares its machine designs and enterprise blueprints (blog post from 2014 visit, google Distributive Enterprise) - which makes it a fully open source hardware company - but it has a centralized business model. Second, there is the poster child RepRap project - which is the design/collaboration repository for open source 3D printers. RepRap is responsible for producing most of the consumer 3D printing industry’s companies - both open source and proprietary. (ref) However, RepRap in itself does not have a revenue model. Our own work is also based on the RepRap - it’s the basis that saved us hundreds of development hours - as we could simply build upon their designs. We do have a successfully-demonstrated revenue model of ongoing Extreme Manufacturing workshops.

For The Open Source Everything Store (TOSES), any product developed must include open source blueprints, as well as open source enterprise documentation. Assets such as marketing materials, revenue models, business plans, projections, and entrepreneurship training - among others - must be included to facilitate startup by others. For successful startup - the enterprises themselves must be tested and proven. Thus, case studies of projections, actual revenue, and growth must be included.

With as small an infrastructure as a Personal Microfactory with 3D printing, the CNC circuit mill, laser cutter, filament extruder, and off-shelf components - production of many valuable products can be distributed far and wide. Moreover, open design allows for extended product lifetime - as parts can be upgraded, modifications can be 3D printed, and breakages fixed with readily-accessible parts. The success of TOSES revolves around a massive parallel open source product development process - resulting in best-in-class products. These products are then produced by distributed players. Thus, a networked effort could reach substantial distributed production - and distributed sales volumes on the scale of Amazon.

Our claim is that Distributive Enterprise has a good chance of succeeding because of its distributive nature. The cost structure of distributive development is efficient - as it relies on an open source process. We are assuming here that the zero marginal cost prediction - that everything trends to zero marginal cost - which is the competitive advantage of TOSES. However, zereo marginal cost is inherently impossible within the current system. The profit motive of the corporation prevents zero marginal cost, and leads to a permanent inefficiency in human economics. This can be resolved only by a transition away from the traditional corporate IPO form (ref). This is the reason why OSE proposes that a transition to the open source economy is inevitable. However, leading economic theorists such as George Gilder claim that human constructs are not inevitable - they have to be created. Thus, it remains up to human will to decide whether we would like to implement true-cost accounting to transition to the open source economy.

The choice is up to us, and as such we are working on the DE model. Once open source product and enterprise blueprints are available - it means that everyone has access to them. This indicates that efficient production can be distributed into a networked form, which can gobble up Amazon and Walmart. Such a transition to the true-cost accounting economy is the promise of open source economics.

In practice, this requires that open source microfactories, as well as open source materials production facilities - are distributed far and wide. These take abundant natural resources and convert them to a modern standard of living in a distributed way. People can produce with their personal microfactories. Using the 3D printer, circuit mill, laser cutter, and filament extruder - and off-shelf components - people can produce many household goods, electronic gadgets, toys, tools, kitchenware, small appliances, lab equipment (ref), and many others. The size of the plastic industry alone is $2T - and the size of the injection molding industry is about $100B. Between vaccuum cleaners ($1B), consumer 3D printers ($1B), cordless drills ($1B in the USA alone), drones, phones, cameras - the market size for those goods is on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide. The current limit is 20% of GDP - the manufacturing sector of the economy - or about $16T.

The centralized factory can become obsolete, and many parts of global resource flows can become localized. Specifically - as resource constraints to longer fuel resource conflicts and poverty - humans as a whole have - for the first time in world history - a chance for collective evolution. That simply means that the leading preoccupation transitions from making a living, surviving, or paying off debt - to thriving. This means that the multidisciplinary genius will become much more common - as society reaches a new level. An Einstein could be born every minute. (That makes it 1/250 - or 0.4% of the population.) This means that we transcend William Gibson’s — 'The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed”. This means that most people will gain access to significant improvement in their quality of life. But this is also not a state of coerced equality as in communism - there will always be outliers who are more ambitious or skilled. But all have a good oportunity to thrive.

CNC Torch and Larger Machines: Heavy Duty CNC Machining

CNC Torch Table

The universal axis can handle much larger forces - up to one thousand pounds - when it is scaled up. The universal axis has aleady been used with the 3D Printer and the CNC circuit mill.

We have already built a prototype of the CNC torch table using the Universal Axis, scaled up to a 2x3 meter working area:

Fig: CNC Torch Table build workshop results. (

The CNC Torch Table is near release status, and it will be the critical machine used in digital fabrication. The CNC Torch table will be used to cut all metal from flat sheets, which are then welded into 3D machines such as the brick press and tractor. The CNC Torch Table will also be used for cutting holes in 4” square tubing - which is our characteristic life-size erector set design.

Typically, acetylene is used as a cutting gas. In the OSE case, the CNC torch table integrates with the oxyhydrogen production - where water is split into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis. These hydrogen and oxygen gases are used as the cutting gases. Oxyhydrogen cutting has been in use prior to the discovery of oxyacetylene cutting in 1903 - and was preferred for 2x the cutting speed with thick metal. Currently, oxyhydrogen is use whenever a clean cut is required. Otherwise, the gas is 2x as expensive as acetylene. The advantages of hydrogen are the ability to cut aluminum and stainless steel, which acetylene cannot do. Furthermore, if the open source oxyhydrogen generator is used with PV electricity at 1.5 cents per kWhr, then the cost of the gas should go down to about 5x lower than acetylene. Given these advantages, it is interesting to see that oxyhydrogen cutting is not used more commonly in the workshop. The apparent reason for this appears to be the lower price of fossil-fuel derived acetylene. Off-shelf on-demand oxyhydrogen generators appear to be expensive, so they would benefit greatly from being open-sourced. Hydrogen generators which can produce enough gas for cutting ½” steel are are available for around $300, not including power supply.

The OSE CNC torch table system includes a water bed to minimize smoke and prevent steel from warping while cutting, automatic height control which follows the surface of the metal for optimal cutting, an automatic ignitor, automatic gas control, open source controller, and open source controller software. Each of these piecces has been tested separately, and now we are putting the entire system together to a product that from 2018 onwards will be used to cut all steel for OSE in house. We cut steel for frames of the 3D printer, metal for the brick press, tractor, and just about every other GVCS tool.

Heavy Duty CNC Multimachine

The CNC Multimachine is a mill, drill, lathe and other tools in one machine, designed for modularity and flexibility, including rotary indexing and a grinding attachments. It can be used to produce engines and hydraulic motors, threaded parts such as bolts and pipe threads, as well as myriad other parts. The lathe has historically been the cornerstone of precision machining, and is a critical tool in civilization. It is also another application of the OSE Universal Axis system - using the 2” rod size.

Two other GVCS machines - the induction furnace which melts scrap metal to make virgin steel - and the Mill which makes Rods and Wire - provide feedstocks for the CNC Multimachine.

Fig. The 2” Universal axis can produce parts with accuracy of 10 microns, based on the deflection of 2” rods with 200 lb of force. This image shows the size comparison between the 2” version - and the 1” and 5/16” versions. The belt drive system can be identical to the smaller machines.

We are interested in developing a core set of modules for a heavy duty machine - including mill, drill and lathe, with rotary and angle tables, plus capacity to function as a screw machine for making threads and bolts. We also include internal threads splines.

Just like with the OBI Arch Kit (make sure reference is correct to rapid prototyping above), the Multimachine Construction Set will allow for modeling with 3D printed parts, which will correspond directly to real life - and thus serve as an educational kit and product. Together with the Multimachine Design Guide and FreeCAD workbench, people will be enabled to build their own multimachines and screw machines.

For the 2” universal axis system, the practical limit is 400 lb of tool force with 0.001 precision and GT2 belt drive. For higher tooling forces, we must use lead screws instead of belts.

The goal of the CNC multimachine is to produce electric motors, hydraulic motors, engines, cylinders, and valve blocks, among others. With a grinder attachment, the idea is to be able to achieve high precision, down to 0.0005, which is the positioning accuracy of the stepper motors at 16 microstepping and 1” GT2 pulleys.

Using the Universal Axis, CNC linear motion control, and CNC rotary chuck control - we can get a wide array of functionality of a screw machine for making various precision parts. With a surface grinder, we can get precision parts down to 25 microns of tolerance. If we build a precision CNC surface grinder, then we can achieve up to 1 micron accuracy for making air bearings. Air bearings open the possibility of lubrication-free engines and high pressure pumps for storing hydrogen and a prerequisite for certain clean-room semiconductor manufacturing.

Robotic Arm - trainable for welding + 3D printing

The robotic arm is a powerful manufacturing tool as it is can move almost as flexibly as a human arm - but with increased precision and strength. Practical tasks that a robotic arm can accomplish depend on the end effector or tool that the arm is holding. For the GVCS, two good applications include automated welding and 3D metal printing using a MIG or TIG welder.

Fig. Robotic welding - [nice pic] is useful for high quality welding to assist the open source renaissance woman. Spot welding or wire welding can be used.

A useful application of robotic arms emerges from trainable robotic arms. Trainable robotic arms are arms which a human operator can train to move as needed. This eliminates complex programming tasks, making robotic collaborators accessible to the general public. An open source software platform already exists for robotic arms in the Robotic Operating System (ROS) project, including trainability. - such that the open source trainable industrial robot is around the corner by building on existing prior art.

Induction Furnace

An induction furnace is a device use to melt metal. Metal can then be recycled - from scrap to useful stock. The advantage of the induction furnace over any other means of melting metal is a clean, energy-efficient and well-controllable melting process. In a typical induction furnace, a water-cooled copper coil with alternating current induces a current in a crucible of metal - hence the name Induction furnace - and that current heats up and melts the metal. Due to the heat being generated within the work piece, energy transfer is extremely efficient.

Fig. In an induction furnace

The induction furnace brings us from the stone and wood age - when stone and wood were the most common materials for making houses and machines - into the iron age - which is synonymous with the industrial age and modern civilization.

It may be said that modern civilization has culminated with the production of ball bearings. Bearings are a critical component that allows for engines, turbines of modern power to work - and precision machines that use precision ball bearings are used to manufacture these machine. Finally, vacuum pumps and precision instruments - necessary in semiconductor manufacturing - depend on the use of bearings. As such, the information age today also relies on ball bearings - a combination of material science and precision manufacturing.

Metal Rolling, Rod & Wire Mill

The induction furnace can be used in metal casting, where round rods or billets are cast and then used as feedstocks for metal rolling.

Metal rolling uses rolling dies to shape metal into various profiles, from flat, to round, to angled.

Fig. Metal rolling uses dies of various shapes to produce final stell shapes.

Rolling of thin rounds - or rods - around dies and pulleys - is used to elongate and thin the rounds results in wire - a fundamental building block of civilization. Wire is used for house electrical wiring, suspension, or fencing.

Fig. A wire drawing machine starts from rod and stretches it to wire through a number of dies. The modular open source version can take rod and turn it into wire of any diameter.

Metal rolling that occurs above the crystallization temperature (700C) is called hot rolling - and it takes less energy to do so as the metal is pliable. Cold rolling occurs at room temperature, and therefore requires more energy to deform the metal - but it also provides more accurate dimensions in the metal.

Forging, Ironworker

The press forge is a heavy duty press than can be used to squeeze metal like butter. When metal is hot, it can be deformed into useful shapes by using a die. Bolt heads are made this way.

Forges can take the form of press, drop, or roll rolling - preferably using the induction furnace for efficient forging. Cold forging may also be done, but that requires larger force for a given deformation.

Forging is useful but the disadvantage is using specialized forming shapes or dies. Thus, the preferable route to forging would in many cases be subtractive machining, metal 3D printing, or welding - as these are general-purpose procedures that do not require custom forms or dies.

Fig. The press forge can shape hot or cold metal like butter.

Plasma Cutter, Welder

The plasma cutter, welder, and induction furnace are high-power electronics that use modern technology for efficiency. By using transistors and inverter circuits instead of large transformers, they can be light-weight and low cost - as the cost of power transistors is 10 cents/kW of power handling ability. This means that the simplest welder circuits can cost only a few dollars in electronic components (not counting wiring, structure, and the balance of system) to get industrial welders on the scale of 10kW (500Amps).

Fig. Diagram of a welder. From first principles, a welder includes power handling electronics, wires, a case, cooling fan, and a welding gun with an electrode, and shielding gas for high quality welds. In the simplest case - a tungsten electrode creates an arc to the metal and melts the metal, without using filler. This is an example of autogenous welding, where no welding rod or wire is required. Welding is not complicated - the simplest electric arc welder is a 12V battery connected to a welding rod.

A plasma cutter is a transistor-based power electronic device that cuts conductive metals with a plasma - or ionized gas. The plasma cutter creates ionized air between an electrode and a work piece. The plasma heats the metal. By directing a focused stream of air around that plasma through a nozzle, the heated metal is oxidized and blown away, creating a clean cut. For comparison, cut quality in order of improvement is plasma cutting, oxy-fuel, waterjet, and laser cutting.

Fig. Cut width - or kerf - of plasma, oxyfuel, waterjet, and laser cutting.

Both the plasma cutter and welder are similar to each other. They have similar power electronic circuits. For a welder or plasma cutter, the main difference is in the gun and electrodes. The gun in both cases has a large copper power wire and a gas line for shielding. For the MIG welder, it also has wire feed. The electrode is tungsten for the TIG welder and plasma cutter, and consumable welding wire for the MIG.

More Power Electronics

Is EDM practical? EDM is a high-voltage spark erosion system for cutting thick metals - where a moving wire at 10,000VDC spark-erodes metals as tiny sparks are established between the wire and metal to be cut. This system is insulated


  5. Current design is rated for rated for 40 hp per track or 80 hp with double drive, . (ref - do calculations) and 3600 lbs or 7200 of pull each. Thus, a four-tracked machine can have 29,000 lb of pulling force with direct drive using our current 15k in-lb motors.
  7. A village of 200 - based on Dunbar’s number
  8. Assuming field crops planted with a seeder, not slips like sweet potatoes.
  15. John Liu reported on this -