.  Outline


Collaboration Notes

  1. Abstract – GVCS in 2 years & $2.4M with parallel development
  2. Introduction 
  1. What is the GVCS?        
  2. Salient Features of the GVCS – OSE Specifications
  1. Lifetime design
  2. Modularity
  3. Low Cost
  4. Replicability
  5. Open Business Model
  1. 51 GVCS Technologies
  1. Technology Overview
  2. Problem Statement, Motivation, Applications
  3. Development Status and Needs
  4. Development Budget
  1. Pattern Language
  2. Technology Selection Process
  1. OSE Metric Score
  1. Cost and Comparison to Existing Options
  1. GVCS Technologies
  1. List
  2. Development Needs
  3. Development Status – Master Index and Resource Map
  1. Product Ecologies – descriptions and diagrams of packages; General Problem Statements (with significant data)
  1. Introduction
  2. General: LifeTrac (Agriculture, Housing, Utility), RepLab I and II, Solar Turbine, Fuel and Power
  3. Food – General Problem Statement
  4. Electricity – same topics as Food
  5. Housing -
  6. Transportation
  7. Fuel and Power Cube
  8. Power Electronics
  9. Fabrication – RepLab up to Hot Metal Processing
  10. Materials – Aluminum from Clay
  1. Replicability
  2. Context and Applications – connection to Solving Pressing World Issues and Connection to Existing Projects and Movements
  1. GVCS is a Flexible Tool Set for Creating Advanced Civilization
  1. Global Village: Basic Design of Communities that Work
  2. Substitution towards Doing it Right: Ecoindustry, Relocalization, Permaculture, Permafacture
  1. Economic Development
  1. The Vision of Decentralized Production; Schumacher, Gandhi, Fuller, Piore; Schor, FabLabs, Homebrew Industrial Revolution, Whole Village Project
  2. Transition Towns, One World Villages, Village Towns, and Retrofitting into Existing Infrastructures
  3. Leapfrogging in the 3rd World and Regeneration of the 4th World
  1. National Security
  2. Cultural Shift
  1. Towards Integrated Humans: K-PhD Experiential Education with Augmented Learning
  1. Rapid Learning Strategy – Pattern Language and Learning Augmentation
  2. Alternative Education Movements
  1. Experiential Education: DIY Scouts
  2. Shifting Culture: DIY in 3D and Remaking the World
  1. Economic Analysis
  1. Base-Line Cost of Infrastructures and Comparison to Existing Options
  1. Ergonomic Analysis: Roles and Labor Requirements
  1. Production vs. Consumption: Augmenting Capacity of DIY Production
  2. Lowering Replication Cost – OS, and (something missing here)
  3. Self-Replicability of plants and machines
  4. Immersion Education
  1. Development Strategy
  1. Overview of Parallel Development Strategy
  2. Publicity and Outreach Presentations
  1. Simple GVCS site (presently being designed)
  2. 5 Minute Talk/Ignite Talk
  3. 18 Minute Talk/Exploratorium
  1. Funding
  1. Viral Kickstarter/True Fans campaign for Funding
  2. Nonprofit Sector
  3. Production Earnings
  1. Collaboration Platform – Bettermeans with Wiki
  2. Team
  1. Team Development – Outreach Presentations, Schedule and Outreach Team Development
  2. Core Roles Filled – Media Advisor, Resource Developer, CFO, Technical Director
  3. Subject Matter Experts and Reviewers
  4. Prototypers and Fabricators
  1. Technical Development
  1. Development Process and 3 Prototype Cycles
  1. Proposals
  2. Design and CAD Work
  3. Prototyping
  4. Testing and Review
  1. LifeTrac Package (strategy and problem statement)
  1. LifeTrac
  2. MicroTrac
  3. Bulldozer
  4. Power Cube
  1. RepLab: Flexible and Digital Fabrication
  1. Multimachine: CNC Mill, Drill, Lathe, Surface Grinder, Cold Cut Saw, Abrasive Saw, Metal Bandsaw; includes indexing head, vertical and horizontal position
  2. Ironworker Machine
  1. Hole Puncher
  2. Metal Shear
  1. RepTab:
  1. CNC Torch Table
  2. CNC Router Table
  1. RepRap: 3D Printer
  2. 3D Scanner
  3. CNC Circuit Mill (10 total)
  4. Robotic Arm: welding and moldless casting
  5. Laser Cutter and Power supply
  6. MIG Welder and Power Supply
  7. Plasma Cutter and Power Supply
  8. Induction Furnace
  1. Alloying
  2. Surface treatments
  1. Hot rolling – flats, angle, tubing
  2. Moldless Casting
  3. Wire Extrusion
  4. Forging (simplest is an anvil) (19 total)
  1. Modern Steam Engine - 1 kW Off-Grid Generator
  1. Gasifier burner – pellets or other
  2. Steam generator
  3. Steam Engine Power Cubes
  1. Solar Turbine – Solar Thermal Electrical Power
  1. Reflectors
  2. Tracking
  3. Receiver
  4. Steam Engine
  1. 50 kW Wind Turbine
  2. Extraction of Aluminum from Clay (25 total)
  3. Agriculture and Utility Implements
  1. Pelletizer
  2. Universal Seeder
  3. Rototiller
  4. Spader
  5. Microcombine
  6. Universal Auger (String Trimmer, honey extractor, posthole digger, tree planting auger, slurry mixer, washing machine)
  7. Materials-moving Auger
  8. Hay cutter
  9. Baler
  10. Hay Rake
  11. Loader
  12. Backhoe
  13. Chipper/Hammermill
  14. Trencher (39 total)
  1. Open Source Car
  2. Built Environment
  1. CEB
  2. Dimensional Sawmill
  3. Cement Mixer
  4. Well-drilling Rig
  1. Agriculture
  1. Nursery
  2. Bakery
  3. Dairy
  1. Other Technology
  1. Electrical Motor/Generator
  2. Hydraulic Motors and Cylinders (50 total
  1. Team
  1. Organizational Core Team and Consultants
  2. Collaborators and Subject Matter Experts

  1. Collaboration and Investment
  1. How you can help
  1. Documentation – CAD, Fabrication Drawings; Techical Writing
  1. Investment Opportunities
  1. Open Source TechShop
  1. Lifetime and Ethical Investors - $40k Tuition – in lieu of Disintegrated Education
  1. Towards a Million Points of Light: Reservation of a spot in a future community, with a production contract; Groups of 10
  2. Includes Augmented Immersion Education
  3. Lifetime Investment Contract
  1. Coworking Production Investors
  2. Nonprofit Sector Resource Development
  3. True Fans

Abstract: This is a proposal for deploying the GVCS by year-end 2012 and within a $2.4M budget. This document explains the nature of the GVCS, its relevance to the progress of humanity, and makes a case for funding its development. The audience for this proposal includes collaborators, funders, and developers who are interested in open-sourcing a set of critical, distributed production and infrastructure technologies for global economic resilience.

Abraham Lincoln once said that the future of America depends upon teaching people how to make a good living from a small piece of land.

Foreword and Disclaimer – The nature of this proposal is highly interdisciplinary, in that best practices in agriculture, technology, enterprise creation, organizational development, and many other topics are considered for the creation of resilient communities as enabled by the GVCS. Because this proposal draws from best practices in many disciplines, infrastructure solutions arise from synergies and efficiencies that emerge from an integrated approach. Such solutions are otherwise impossible to conceive of if one is approaching the problem from a disciplinary perspective. Specialists and subject matter experts may question the claims stated in this proposal. Because of this, we encourage the reader to evaluate the validity of the claims by independent, critical analysis from a scientific approach based on first principles –  as opposed to believing the 'gospel' – ie, the limitations of possibilities presented in a disciplinary approach. A critical approach based on first principles, is desirable for the highly-integrated and creative development path undertaken by the GVCS (ie, http://openfarmtech.org/w/index.php?title=OSE_Specifications developing all the requirements for building resilient communities from scratch based on proved principles and proven technologies – as opposed to trying to build resilient communities based on retrofitting into existing economic, financial, and governance infrastructures, which are largely dysfunctional.

Collaboration Notes. This proposal is being developed collaboratively. Please download the latest copy of the proposal from the wiki. If you are invited to the Proposal Writing Team, please go to the Google document and edit from there. There is a number of links and supporting material to be filled in to support this work. Older dupporting graphics may be gleaned from Linz Slides, Linz Presentation. Key questions, to be updated, are at OSE FAQ. The underlying design principles are at OSE Specifications. Old work on Pattern Language for hardware design is here. The closest educational curriculum to the future GVCS curriculum is the Ecovillage Design Curriculum from Gaia University.

A significant amount of editorial work and supporting graphics are desired for all the descriptions. The initial phase of the proposal, until January 15, 2011, is to provide a throwdown of all the necessary concepts, which can then be wordsmithed and backed up with further references and basic accounting to verify the costs/ergonomics involved in village creation. Translations, to be started as soon as the document or at least some given sections stabilise, are also desired into: Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish, and Chinese, among others.


Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters that has, for the last four years, been creating the Global Village Construction Set - an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform which allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts. The GVCS lowers the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing and can be seen as a life-size lego-like set of modular tools that can create entire economies, whether in rural Missouri, where the project was founded, the mountains of Oregon, or in the heart of Africa.

Key Features of the GVCS:

Open Source - we freely publish our 3d designs, schematics, instructional videos, budgets, and product manuals on our open source wiki, and we harness open collaboration with technical contributors.

Low-Cost - The cost of making or buying our machines is on average, 8 times cheaper than buying from an Industrial Manufacturer, including labor costs of $15/hour for a GVCS fabricator.

Modular - Motors, parts, assemblies, and power units can interchange, where units can grouped together to diversify the functionality that is achievable from a small set of units.

User-Serviceable - Design-for-disassembly allows the user to take apart, maintain, and fix tools readily without the need to rely on expensive repairmen.

DIY - The user gains control of designing, producing, and modifying the GVCS tool set.

Closed Loop Manufacturing - Metal is an essential component of advanced civilization, and our platform allows for recycling metal into virgin feedstock for producing further GVCS technologies - thereby allowing for cradle-to-cradle manufacturing cycles.

High Performance - Performance standards must match or exceed those of industrial counterparts for the GVCS to be viable.

Flexible Fabrication - It has been demonstrated that the flexible use of generalized machinery in appropriate-scale production is a viable alternative to centralized production.

Distributive Economics - We encourage the replication of enterprises that derive from the GVCS platform as a route to truly free enterprise - along the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy.

Industrial Efficiency - In order to provide a viable choice for a resilient lifestyle, the GVCS platform matches or exceeds productivity standards of industrial counterparts.

2.1 What is the GVCS?

The GVCS is an open source construction set for creating civilization with modern day comforts. The GVCS includes machines, equipment, tools, components, and other infrastructures for creating a complete economy: food, fuel, energy, building materials, transportation, materials, and fabrication. Since most of the GVCS is a machine of some kind, we generally refer to the GVCS as a set of machines, even though the GVCS includes items such as Bakery, Dairy, and Agricultural Nursery.

The GVCS aims to simplify, modularize, and make transparent the critical technologies used by humans. The scope of this is to make technology user-friendly to the extent that all of our technology base functions like a life-size Lego set that people can use, play with, adapt, and maintain. Thus, the central question of this work is the development of an unprecedented user-friendly interface to common technologies, which to date have been operated and maintained by specialized 'wrench-turners' or technicians. We are demonstrating the limits of modularization and simplification of technology – without compromising performance – towards the goal of creating user-friendly modules or 'black boxes' of functionality. It is not required that the user know the inner workings of these modules, but it is critical that the user understand the resulting functionality, range of use, and other properties that allow the user to combine these modules into working wholes – in the nature of a life-size Lego set for real technology. This applies to  mechanical devices (ex., cars and bulldozers), electromechanical devices (ex., windmills and solar turbines), electrical devices (ex., renewable energy equipment and laser cutters), computer automation (ex., computer-controlled machining and robotic arms), and materials processing (ex., induction furnace and hot metal rolling). The goal is to reskill people towards self-sufficiency, without giving up the advantages of the division of labor and the trappings of modern civilization (ex, internet and airplanes).

One of the central themes in this work is that we are in the Age of  Substitutability (ref). This means that scarce and strategic resources may be replaced by ubiquitous and common resources – under the assumption that we have access to the enabling information and to energy[1]. Substitutability further implies that any toxic, centralized, industrial process has a completely benign, closed-loop, small-scale, open source, ecological variant.

2.2 GVCS Components: 50 GVCS Technologies

This section outlines the 50 components of the GVCS; related problem statement; project status and development needs; development budget requirements The comprehensive list is this (Table: item, sector (ag, fab, etc, specific products and services provided, ease of development?)

LifeTrac; MicroTrac; Bulldozer; Power Cube; Multimachine: CNC Mill, Drill, Lathe, Surface Grinder, Cold Cut Saw, Abrasive Saw, Metal Bandsaw; Ironworker Machine; RepTab (CNC Torch Table; CNC Router Table); RepRap; 3D Scanner; CNC Circuit Mill; Robotic Arm; Laser Cutter; MIG Welder; Plasma Cutter; Induction Furnace; Metal Hot Rolling; Moldless Casting; Wire Extrusion; Forging; Modern Steam Engine; Gasifier Burner; Steam Generator; Solar Turbine; 50 kW Wind Turbine; Extraction of Aluminum from Clay; Pelletizer; Universal Seeder; Tiller; Spader; Microcombine; Universal Auger (String Trimmer, honey extractor, posthole digger, tree planting auger, slurry mixer, washing machine); Materials-moving Auger; Hay Cutter; Baler; Hay Rake; Loader; Backhoe; Chipper/Hammermill/Stump Grinder Trencher; Open Source Car; CEB Press; Dimensional Sawmill; Cement Mixer; Well-drilling Rig; Nursery; Bakery; Dairy; Inverter; Electrical Motor/Generator; Hydraulic Motors and Cylinders (50 total)

Project status is defined based on these necessary steps: (1) Conceptual design – schematics, diagrams; (2) Recruitment of Subject Matter Expert (SME) engineer or designer ;(3) Model of concept; (4) CAD design and fabrication drawings; (5) peer review; (6) Identification of SME fabricator or prototyper; (7) fabrication; (8) field testing; (9) iteration up to 3 prototypes prior to Full Product Release. A summary table for project status is shown in the section following the definition of the 50 technologies.

Pattern Language

A pattern language is a structured method of  communicating good design practices within a field of expertise. The authors point out 3 salient pattern languages that contribute to the design of the GVCS: (1), mechanical equipment pattern language; (2), power electronics pattern language, and (3), flexible fabrication pattern language. By understanding these languages, the user gains the capacity to understand, design, build from modules, modify, and adapt any tools associated with the particular pattern.

The mechanical equipment pattern language is a set of patterns that underlies the mechanical infrastructure (LifeTrac open source tractor and others). It may be described as these main patterns:

The power electronics pattern language is the language that allows the composition of a Universal Power Supply – a device that powers any electrical devices such as: induction furnace, welder, laser cutter, plasma cutter, inverter, converter, charger, wind turbine charge controller, electric motor controller, and others. The Power Electronics Construction Set (PECS) is the set of techniques and tools for building such a Universal Power Supply. The pattern involved is:

The flexible fabrication pattern language allows one to understand and to perform on-demand fabrication of anything from scrap steel as a feedstock:

Tool Selection Process

Take each need of an advanced civilization infrastructure. Think of the easiest way to provide that need. Think carefully about OSE Specifications for hardware.  Then limit yourself to 50 tools to provide the whole set. You will find then that you will come up with a very similar list, if not identical.

2.3 – Salient features:

2.4 Cost and Comparison to Existing Options

Open source economic development has demonstrated significant cost reduction (~8) of open source products (ref) compared to off-shelf counterparts, under the assumption that DIY assembly is feasible. For example, a commercial 3D printer costs $10k (ref), while the open source counterpart, RepRap, costs $400 in parts (ref).

It may likewise be shown that power electronics devices, such as induction furnace power supplies, cost approximately 10-20 times their component cost.

Thus, if the intellectual property of such devices is open-sourced, and if the devices are redesigned for flexible manufacturability as opposed to mass production – then users end up with significant cost reduction for such products.

The vision of Industry 2.0 via flexible fabrication relies on such cost reduction, and flexible fabrication facilities such as TechShop may become the new productive engine in society.


0-CEB Press

Definition: The Liberator is the world's first, high performance (16 brick per minute), open source, Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) press. It is used to compress clayey soil (20-30% clay by volume) from  local or on-site soils into structural masonry (700-1000 PSI) building blocks. The Liberator is a hydraulic press which presses from the bottom to produce 6”x12”x(2-6)” block, and it is fully automatic. It requires only a single tractor operator to produce block – using a front-loader to feed soil into the 6 foot wide hopper. The Liberator is designed-for-disassembly, in that most of the structure is fastened together with bolts. This constitutes lifetime design via easy serviceability, and this allows for crating the machine into a compact package (6'x3'x3') for shipping.

Problem Statement: Housing is the most significant cost in one's life in the Western world. Earth is the most abundant resource that is suitable for the construction of homes. Earth has excellent thermal mass properties, and is extremely durable. Over ½ of the world's entire population lives in some form of earth construction (ref). Many techniques for building with earth[2] exist, including cob, adobe, earthbags, earth tubes, and rammed earth. However, all of these techniques are extremely labor intensive – or in the case of rammed earth, both labor and capital-intensive due to the necessity of using forms.

Solution: A CEB press is a solution to rapid production of brick for both natural and industrial-scale construction. Access to CEB machines, along with effective soil-handling infrastructure, allows for rapid, low-cost, high-quality construction from on-site earth. Stabilization with cement may be used for additional weather resistance. Timbrel and other vault techniques may be used to produce roofs out of earth as well. (MIT ref) This has the potential for significant reduction of one's largest, single cost of living, and allows for build-out of communities at minimal material cost. CEB also lends itself to the construction of floors, paved areas, retaining walls, storage structures, or any other structures where a uniform, structural building block is desired.

Further Infromation -  Wikipedia, Analysis of Interlocking block construction; Powell and Sons, leading competitor, costs $45k[3]; The Green Machine; OSE CEB Modular Construction development

Project Status and Development Needs: Full Product Release reached in June, 2010. This is the first Full Product Release from Open Source Ecology. 2D CAD drawings are available in dxf format (ref), but need organizing. 3D CAD, complete fabrication blueprints, and fabrication documentation video need to be produced. Architecture drawings for archetypal CEB houses and other structures, as well as building technique[4] best practice documentation, are required to assist others in building with CEB. Documentation of CEB construction workflow and ergonomics is also required, as is full documentation of open business models for: (1), CEB machine fabrication; (2) brick production operations; (3) CEB construction enterprises.

Budget: The budget involved in developing The Liberator was approximately $40k, of which $10k went directly to materials, and the rest covered buildup of the entire facility infrastructure starting from  raw land and no facilities.

Basic Specifications for the CEB Press

CEB PRESS – hydraulic, micro-processor controlled


Production rate

up to 16 bricks per minute

Hydraulic fluid flow requirements

Up to 28 gallons per minute

Brick size


Hydraulic fluid pressure

Up to 3000 psi

Tested[5] compressive strength of unstabilized/7% cement-stabilized bricks

700 psi/1200 psi

Maximum possible comprehensive strength of unstabilized bricks

1400 psi

Power source

Add-on module


Definition: LifeTrac is a versatile, 4-wheel drive, full-sized, hydraulically-driven, skid-steering tractor of 18-200 hp with optional steel tracks. LifeTrac is intended to be a minimalist but high-performance, lifetime design, design-for-disassembly workhorse and power unit of any land stewardship operation. It features easy serviceability by the user. Its modular nature allows for quick attachment of implements; interchangeability/stackability of multiple power units (Power Cubes) for adapting power level to the task at hand; quick attachment of all hydraulic components via quick-coupling hoses; including quick interchangeability of hydraulic motors for use in other applications. It can be fitted with up to two sets of loader arms. LifeTrac is intended to be used with modern steam engine Power Cube module for fuel flexibility, such that locally-harvested, pelletized biomass crop such as hay, may be used for fuel. Regarding safety features, LifeTrac replaced the traditional power take-off (PTO) shaft for driving other implements with a detachable hydraulic motor for the same purpose, where this motor may be mounted on the tractor, on the implement, or wherever it is required.

Problem Statement – Industrial tractors are being designed increasingly for planned obsolescence with 10 year lifespans, and the user typically cannot service their own tractor due to complexity of design.  Power transmission and engine systems are the dominant failure modes of tractors. Fuel costs are a significant expense of operating a tractor. Capital costs of purchasing tractors typically place their users in debt.

Solution – LifeTrac is designed to be the peoples' tractor. The user is able to service, modify, and produce fuel for the tractor. Gear transmission is replaced with a hydraulic drive train, where quick-connect, flexible hoses are the means of transferring power. Lifetime design (bolt-together construction, modularity) with general purpose parts allows the tractor to be passed down from generation to generation, before its life-cycle is completed as feedstock for the induction furnace. The absolute simplest design facilitates creation of small-scale enterprise for manufacturing these tractors in as little as 3 days of time using a RepLab[6] facility. This allows communities to be entirely self-sufficient in their mechanical power infrastructures, while reducing lifetime costs of tractors by a factor of at least 10.

Further Information – Tractor on Wikipedia; skid loader Wikipedia; CADTrac; DIY tractors in post-war Poland

Development Status and Needs – We have completed Prototype I and Prototype II, and have secured an order to fund the building of Prototype III. Prototype I (ref) was an articulated version of the tractor without roll cage, and Prototype II (ref) was an enclosed version with tracks and skid steering. Prototype II has demonstrated quick-attachment and stackability of power units (ref), as well as interchangeability of wheel motors and control valves via quick-couplers for repurposing in other applications. A complete 3D model of LifeTrac with correct scaling is available (ref). 3D CAD and fabrication drawings are needed. The next steps are fabrication of Prototype III (ref to be blogged), as well as development of toolpath files for producing LifeTrac with CNC torch table assist. Moreover, minor redesign of LifeTrac lends itself to adaptation as a tracked bulldozer – via addition of chain gear reduction to the direct-coupled wheel drive. The next step is CAD drawings addressing outstanding design issues.

Development Brief for LifeTrac Digital Fabrication - Download the LifeTrac Blender file. Then import it into a professional CAD package like Solidworks to generate 2D fabrication drawings, and further, these drawings have to be converted to toolpath (xy) files for a torch table.

The problem requires virtual dismounting the tractor into all of its structural tubing and plates - the components that we will be cut with the torch table. The tubing is 4x4x1/4" mild steel tubing, and the plates are 1/2" mild steel plate plate steel.

The final step is optimizing the cutting strategy based on available stock steel that can fit on a torch table. For example, we can start with a sheet of 1/2" thick steel, not individual plates, for producing all the mounting plates.


Definition -  The MicroTrac is a small-scale version of LifeTrac. It is a solution for small-scale agriculture (acre scale), or where land features require a smaller tool than a full-size tractor. The front mount allows for quick attachment of implements, and like LifeTrac, it uses a dismountable power unit, the Power Cube.

Solution -  We are scaling down the full-sized LifeTrac to address the need for a microtractor. We are using most of the same components as LifeTrac, except we are shrinking the strucural members – to retain part interchangeability between MicroTrac and LifeTrac.

Further Information – BCS Tiller

Development Status and Needs – We have produced Prototype I (ref), which was a walk-behind version of a micro-tractor. Weight distribution and balance issues indicate that the development path should migrate to a design similar to LifeTrac, except at ~¼ the size. The next step is CAD drawings for the new design.


Definition – A bulldozer is a high-traction, earth-moving machine indispensible to building ponds, berms, or other earth-moving tasks such as building roads or clearing land.

Problem Statement – A bulldozer is an expensive and specialized machine. Few permaculturists have access to such machines, thereby not being able to perform constructive terraforming activities for improving the ecology of landscapes or for mitigating erosion. Renting a bulldozer costs $500 per day plus transport. Access to a bulldozer allows any community to reduce its infrastructure cost significantly.

Solution – The GVCS involves a ready modification of LifeTrac to make it suitable for bulldozing duty. LifeTrac has already been built with high-traction, metal wheel tracks. To allow LifeTrac to have 4-10,000 lbs of pushing force, the drive on LifeTrac must be geared down significantly (3-10 times). The flexible design of LifeTrac allows for an easy retrofit of gearing chain drive, which allows LifeTrac to be converted into a bulldozer at a cost of about $1k, as opposed to $15k for the smallest available commercial bulldozer.

Further Information – See wikipedia;

Development Status and Needs – The LifeTrac platform is at the Prototype II stage of development, which is sufficient for testing the bulldozer-duty retrofit. We are ready for the design stage of the bulldozer with LifeTrac as the base platform for this development.

4-Power Cube

Definition - The Power Cube[7] is a universal, self-contained power unit that consists of an engine coupled to a hydraulic pump for providing power to different devices in the form of hydraulic fluid at high pressure. The Power Cube is a module that can be attached to the LifeTrac, Microtrac, Bulldozer, and Open Source Car (OSCar) platforms. As such, any of these platforms can be used as power sources for other devices, such as workshop tools, power generators, ironworker machines, or any other devices which require a power source. The key to this flexibility is the self-contained nature of the Power Cube, where quick-connect hoses and quick-connect physical mounting allow the Power Cube to be coupled to used with other devices. It has frame-integrated fuel and hydraulic reservoirs. It currently contains an 18 or 27 hp gasoline engine, coupled to a hydraulic pump, and produces fluid flow up to 15 gallons per minute and up to 3000 pounds per square inch (PSI) pressure. It connects to other devices via quick couplers and quick-connect hydraulic hoses.  A modern steam engine will be retrofitted as soon as it is developed to allow complete fuel flexibility

Problem Statement and Solution – Power machinery and equipment typically uses dedicated engine  units, such that a large number of different engines is required to power a large number of powered equipment. The engine unit is the heart of any powered device.

Solution – By decoupling the power unit from a powered device via quick-attach coupling – it is possible to turn a dedicated power unit into a flexible power module. We have shown proof of concept – in that power units can be shared between different machines. This allows for drastic cost reduction in the overall cost of mechanical infrastructures.

Status – The second prototype of the Power Cube has been built, and we have an order for a Prototype III of the Power Cube, which we will be building at Factor e Farm after April, 2011.

Market analysis -
$6k for 10 gpm; $1250 materials cost for OSE


Definition – The GVCS Multimachine is a multipurpose precision CNC machining and metal cutting device. It includes a surface grinder head, CNC lathe, mill, and drill capacity, as well as cold-cut, abrasive, and band saws for metal cutting. The working table is 8 feet long for working on large objects. It is powered by interchangeable hydraulic motors, and it can work along the vertical (mill, drill) or horizonal axis (lathe, saws), and is equipped with an indexing head, rotary table, and digital posting readout.

Problem Statement – A flexible fabrication facility requires a wide array of equipment, and dedicated machinery is typically used. This takes up lots of floor space and involves significant capital cost per each machine.

Solution  -  The multimachine combines a large amount of fabrication capacity in a small floor space by involving a single structural frame and an oversized, precision motion xyz table. Functionality may be added to this machine when a flexibly-coupled module is added to the machine for each specific function. Thus, the overall machine cost is reduced from a total of about $50k for individual machines to about $5k materials cost for the Multimachine.

Development Status and Needs – We have identified a subject matter expert on precision machining[8]. Our next step is refining the conceptual design.

6-Ironworker Machine

Definition: An ironworker machine is a device that can cut and punch holes in structural steel on the order of 1” in thickness. An ironworker machine is the central workhorse of any custom fabrication shop, as it allows metal cutting and punching on the time scale of a second, as opposed to drilling or torching, which requires a time scale on the order of a minute. The GVCS multimachine is a 150 ton model that can punch up to 1.5” holes in 1” thick metal, and which can shear up to 12” wide slabs of 1” thickness.

Problem Statement – A professional Ironworker machine costs on the order of $20k[9], so it constitutes a significant capital investment for any flexible fabrication shop.

Solution – Open-sourcing an ironworker machine results in drastic cost reduction, allowing an entire RepLab to be produced for under $50k, as opposed to about $400k for the industrial counterparts.

Development Status and Needs -  Factor e Farm (FeF) has already built and field tested Prototype I[10] of the 150 ton hole puncher. We have gone up to 1” holes in 1/2” steel, and our next steps include destructive testing for the maximum capacity of Prototype I. We have not yet begun on a design of the metal shear component, which we aim to integrate into the existing design of the holepuncher.


Definition – RepTab is an open source, CNC torch table and CNC router table. The torch table has a light frame design, as torching is a non-contact process. The router table version is based on the torch table design, except it is more stiff in order to handle side loads associated with material routing. Both are designed to be self-replicating, in that all the metal required to assemble the torch table can be cut on the torch table itself. The design is bolt-together, such that minimal fabrication is required to build this CNC device.

Development status and needs – Prototype I of RepTab[11] has been built, but has not been operated successfully because the radiation emitted by the plasma cutter that was used with the table caused electronics failure. We will finish Prototype I by retrofitting it with open source stepper motor controllers[12], which we aim to build from open source plans using a CNC circuit mill for the prototype controller circuit.

8-3D Printer

Definition – A 3D printer is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material.[1] We are building a copy of RepRap, short for "replicating rapid prototyper", a 3D printer which prints in plastic and which can print all of its nonmetal components.

Problem Statement – RepRap is working on optimizing its replicability. Part sourcing and standardization remains a challenge in terms of massive replication of the project. By engaging in RepRap building, we aim to help in this process. There is also a number of spinoffs such as MakerBot (ref) and Ultimaker (ref). OSE's goal is to produce a robust kit package for making RepRaps or similar spinoffs. A robust 3D printer is useful in local production of plastic parts, such as plumbing fittings, electronics cases, molds for casting, and a wide variety of useful objects. It is furthermore useful to generate plastic feedstock for RepRap by recycling of plastic waste.

Development Status and Needs – Peter Koeleman is building a prototype RepRap, both Darwin and Mendel versions[13].

9-3D Scanner

Definition - A 3D scanner is a device that can generate a 3D digital file by scanning a real-life object. Such a device is useful to generate toolpath files for application in 3D printing and moldless casting - whereby a replica of a 3D object can be produced readily from an original.

Problem Statement – Open source scanner designs exist[14] but they may not be sufficiently robust for generating fabrication files. Existing open source know how should be used as the starting point for designing a high-performance 3D scanner, such as this one.

Development Status and Needs

10-CNC Circuit Mill

Definition – A CNC Circuit mill is a computer-controlled device that can mill circuits and drill component-mounting through-holes on copper-clad circuit boards. Such a mill provides the ability to produce prototype circuits on demand, which can be subsequently populated with electronic components to produce functioning electronic devices.

Further Information – KiCad  circuit board design software for Linux;

Project Status and Needs – We are evaluating a mill design[15] for replication, and CubeSpawn[16] may be another suitable platform. We need to settle on the most efficient solution: accuracy, open source stepper controllers, open source control code, and efficient G-code. Need to identify effective toolchain for milled board production: board design, CAM  file generation, CAM software, computer-mill interface.

11-Robotic Arm, UPS

Definition - A robotic arm or industrial robot is a device which can perform certain human tasks - such as welding or milling of castings for metal casting. A robotic arm is part of fabrication automation and optimization, allowing the creation of effective flexible fabrication enterprise. A robotic arm may be used to reduce human toil or dangers to human health. It is an important part of RepLab.

Problem statement - In the context of sustainable communities, the robotic arm is one of the enablers of flexible fabrication. In centralized production, a robotic arm means loss of jobs. In the shift of the economy to distributive production, it is important to develop an open source robotic arm to handle a wide array of flexible fabrication tasks. While many open source toy robotic arms exist,[17] economic significance arises from developing an industrial-scale robot. The goal of this project is to develop such a robot at a cost of under $5k in parts for a heavy-duty robotic arm, as an open source variant of the most advanced industrial robots that cost $100k and up.

Further information -

Development Status and Needs – We are looking for a Subject Matter Expert to design the open source robotic arm.

12-Laser Cutter, UPS

Definition - A laser cutter is an industrial machine that can make precision, finish cuts in a wide array of substrates including metal. A laser cutter is particularly useful for precision cutting that does not warp the metal.

Problem statement – A laser cutter is useful in flexible fabrication operations, but costs $30k[18] and up for a 100W model. To this end, the Kickstarter-funded Lasersaur project appears to solve this issue.  We are interested in a higher power laser cutter for sheet metal cutting - on the 1 kW scale. Well-organized resources on DIY lasers do exist[19], and the key is to identify an SME to help work out a complete open source design.

Status – We are recruiting an SME to consult on the project.

13-MIG Welder UPS

Definition – a MIG welder is a device to bond, or weld, metal by that uses a handle which feeds a wire that is shielded by inert gas. The inert gas prevents weld corrosion in the presence of air. The typical cost is $2k for a welder capable of welding 1” steel. The MIG welder is a key flexible fabrication tool.

Problem Statement – An open source MIG welder will allow for lifetime design and easy maintenance of this key tool. The MIG welder power supply may be designed as a universal

Development Status and Needs – We are currently developing a conceptual design of a MIG welder system. We are assuming that a power generator will be used to provide the electric current.

14-Plasma Cutter UPS

Definition – A plasma cutter is a device to cut metal using a plasma torch.

Problem statement – A plasma cutter is essentially a power supply and a cutting torch. Because power electronics are inexpensive, a power supply for a plasma cutter can be built for about $200 in components. The power supply design should be part of a Univeral Power Supply pattern language.

Solution – To address the need of a wide range of power electronics components in village building enterprises, we are pursuing a Universal Power Supply, wherein a plasma cutter power supply is one of the functions.

Development status and needs - Concept design advisory team is needed to refine a conceptual design based on proven techniques.

15-Induction Furnace

Definition – An induction furnace is is an electrical furnace in which the heat is applied by induction heating of metal. The advantage of the induction furnace is a clean, energy-efficient and well-controllable melting process compared to most other means of metal melting. It allows one to melt scrap steel, thereby providing the capacity to produce virgin metals from scrap feedstock. The flexibility of an induction furnace arises from the ability of an induction furnace power supply to power a wide range of coil geometries for different heating and melting purposes – from the same power supply. An induction furnace is the core of the RepLab package.

Problem Statement – A new 300 kW induction furnace costs about $300k off-shelf (ref), for a melting capacity of 1kg/kW/hr (ref). We believe that we can produce a power power supply for the same at a cost of $5k, given baseline component costs of $1/kW for power-handling transistors.

Further Information – Comprehensive survey – Handbook of Induction Heating, V. Rudnev et al.; includes references (ch. 8) on induction heating power supplies. Melt rate data should be available in this book.

16-Metal Rolling

Definition – Metal rolling is a metal forming process in which metal stock is passed through a pair of rolls to produce a desired shape, such as flat bar, angle, or u-channel, from a given feedstock. This step can be used with billets produced by an induction furnace to generate structural steel sections. Rolled metal can be combined with welding to produce tubes.

Problem statement – Metal rolling is a centralized industrial process that is done in large-scale (kiloton  per day) steel mills. We aim to open-source this technology for use in small-scale (ton per day) flexible fabrication facilities which allow local communities to produce virgin metal from scrap feedstocks.  

Development Status and Needs – We are recruiting an SME and organizer for this project.

17-Moldless Casting

Definition - Moldless casting is a casting process for making metal parts, where instead of using a mold, the casting sand with binder is milled with a robotic arm. This allows one to produce castings with computer control assist, on demand, without having to spend time to prepare a mold. Molds are made typically by placing an object into a container, then packing casting sand around the object, and are the bottleneck in the casting process.

Development Status and Needs – We need to recruit a subject matter expert to consult on the project.

18-Rod and Wire Mill

Definition - This is a process for making metal rods and wire. This is a subset of metal rolling, used to make shafts, rebar, thin rods, down to wire. Thin wire can then be produced by wire drawing through a die.

Further Information – Rod and Bar Rolling: Theory and Applications, by Y. Lee

Development Status and Needs – We are looking for SME consultants.


Definition: Forging is the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. The simple example is using a hammer and an anvil. Press forging is the application of a shaping die to form metal by applying a continuous pressure or force.

Development Status and Needs – The preferred method of heating is induction heating for flexibility, so the induction furnace is a prerequisite to forging. We are seeking an SME consultant on forging.

20-Modern Steam Engine

Definition – The steam engine is an engine wherein a heat source is used to turn water into steam, and the steam in turn moves reciprocating pistons to provide motive power. The steam engine is an external combustion engine, meaning that fuel combustion does not occur inside the piston, but instead provides heat to a steam generator which feeds the working steam into the engine cylinders. The steam engine was the source of power behind the industrial revolution of the 19th century. The steam engine was replaced by the internal combustion engine in the 20th century, and in the 21st century a water-lubricated steam engine has been developed with thermal efficiency nearing the top diesel engines on the market today.

Problem Statement – The advantages of steam engine include multi-fuel capacity, lower emissions, carbon-neutral operating capacity, water lubrication (no engine oil is required), and quiet operation. The main advantage from the standpoint of resilient communities is self-sufficiency in fuel provision for power needs, including the possibility os using steam engines as the heat engine of choice in solar thermal concentrator electric systems. The problem is that most people associate steam engines with outdated technologies. We aim to demonstrate that an open source, modern steam engine can be a viable and practical engine choice with environmental advantages.

Solution – Developing a scalable, water-lubricated, high efficiency, open source modern steam engine is a worthwhile contribution to humanity.

Other links - military robot that eats biomass

Development Status and Needs – We have recruited an SME[20] for the project, and we are working on a funding proposal.

21-Gasifier burner

Definition – A gasifier burner is an efficient burner that is used to heat the Steam Generator for use with the Modern Steam Engine. This burner is designed to handle pelletized biomass via an automatic hopper, and it can also burn any other solid fuel.

22-Steam Generator

Definition – The Steam Generator is a device that genearates steam with a monotube coil, heated by the gasifier burner.

Problem Statement – A steam generator is the heart of any steam engine. If it designed to be compact, efficient, and lightweight, it can serve as the feed system for stationary or mobile steam engine systems.

23-Solar Turbine

Definition – The Solar Turbine is a solar thermal concentrator (STC) electric system which produces electricity from sunlight. It works by concentrating solar radiation onto a receiver tube by using mirrors. Focused sunlight heats up water to generate steam, which in turn powers a modern steam engine to produce electricity.

Problem Statement – STC electric systems are a commercially-proven technology, which is commercially feasible in sunny areas such as the Southwest USA. Our goal is to reduce the cost of producing such systems by open-sourcing this technology. If the cost of this technology is reduced by a factor of 2, then STC electric systems will be feasible in areas with half the insolation of sunny areas. If this occurs, then STC electric technology will be feasible in most of North America and in most other parts of the world. We aim to reduce the cost not only by a factor of 2, but by a typical factor of 4-8 that we have observed with open-sourcing of other technologies. This indicates that such systems will be feasible not only on the power plant scale, but on the scale of individual homes – providing a robust and inexpensive solar energy solution to most parts of the world.

Solution – Our preferred choice of technology is the linear fresnel reflector (LFR) type solar concentrator system, which uses flat, low-to-the ground mirrors as the reflectors. The primary costs of STC systems are structural costs – which dictate that the requirement for the most economically-feasible system must be a system that optimizes structural costs. The low-lying linear structure of LFR systems fits this criterion, and the LFR design is the most cost-effective option compared to parabolic, dish, or other curved reflector systems.

Proposal Brief -

24-50 kW Wind Turbine

Definition – A wind turbine is a device that produces electrical power from wind energy, where the wind turns propellers that drive electrical generators.

Problem Statement – Wind is an environmentally-benign source for generating electrical power. While several plans for small (kW scale) scale exist (ref), these do not come with open source charge control systems, and no proven designs exist for larger (tens of kW) wind power systems. Our goal is to produce a scalable 50 kW system, including blades and associated power electronics - as the smallest implementation of a system for a community of 10 housing units.

25-Extraction of Aluminum from Clay

Definition – Clay consists of aluminosilicate. Aluminum may be extracted from aluminosilicate via a closed-loop leaching process. This process may be used to convert abundant clay into aluminum oxide (bauxite), which is then smelted by the traditional Hall-Herault process to make pure aluminum.

Problem Statement – Aluminum is the most abundant element in the earth's crust, and closed-loop production of aluminum from clay is desirable from the standpoint of enabling local metal production in any community with a clay resource. The solution to this capacity is the

Solution - By using the solar turbine for electrical power generation, 2000 lbs of pure aliminum may be produced in a 6000 square foot facility. The energy requirements of this aluminum production process may be covered by a ¼ acre solar turbine system.

Proposal Brief – A prototype bench-top model which demonstrates the production of 1 lb of aluminum per day from clay may be deployed within a budget of about $35k:



Consulting fee for SME

100 hours, or $10k

Facilities cost at a supporting laboratory




Dedicated Equipment and Suppleis (labware, Hall-Herault process cell)




To continue the project, a pilot plant may be built for about $60k, not counting the facility structure and heavy equipment for materials handling:



Process equipment – materials preparation


Process equipment including inert container vessels


Mechanical systems


Ion exchange system


Hall-Herault process cell




The operating costs of a facility that produces 2000 lb of aluminum per day are approximately $100 per day plus labor.


Definition – A pelletizer is a device that compresses small particles of biomass or other substances to compact, flowable pellets. We are developing a rotary die pelletizer, where pellets are made by the action of a stationary roller upon a rotating die. We are developing a scalable pelletizer, at ~$800 materials cost, compatible with the LifeTrac power infrastructure, capable of producing 6000 lbs of pellets per day. This volume of production allows one to produce about 500 gallons-equivalent of fuel for tractors and cars in the form of pelletized biomass, or pellets for other applications, such as fertilizer, feed, and other purposes. This system produces at least $1000 of value per day.

Problem statement – Biomass is the most productive and ecological fuel source known to humankind, yet fossil fuels are being used instead of the more ecological alternative. Humankind has not yet demonstrated the feasibility of biomass as a replicable fuel source because: (1) biomass-burning engines are not available; (2) people have not figured out a way to produce biomass fuel without infringing on food crop production.

Solution – By transitioning to biomass-burning, modern steam engines, and by designing perennial polyculture food systems with biomass byproduct, it is possible to address the 2 issues presented in the problem statement. To address the second point, it should be noted that polyculture systems may be designed to produce higher yields than annuals, where both food and fuel crop is considered simultaneously. Moreover, biomass is carbon and materials neutral, as carbon emitted in biomass burning is absorbed by future crops, and minerals in the biomass are recycled into the soil by returning the ash back to agriculture fields. While this solution may appear pedestrian, we are pursuing this as proof of concept that biomass fuels, combined with solar turbine electricity, are sufficient to meet energy and fuel needs of modern civilization.

27-Universal Seeder

Definition – A universal seeder is a tractor-pulled seeder than can handle any seed, from small seeds like clover to large seeds such as potatoes, with spacing either as field crop or row crop. The Universal seeder is scalable in swath width and seed size handling ability.

Problem Statement – Specialized seeders are currently used for different crops. For example, a seed drill is used for wheat, another type of seeder is used for corn, and another seeder is used for potatoes. There is no universal seeder that can handle all types of seed. We aim to develop a swath-scalable seeder that can handle all types of seeds, thereby simplifying the equipment infrastructure required for integrated farming operations.

28-Rototiller and Soil Pulverizer

Definition – A rototiller (ref) is a rotating tiller – a tractor implement that tills soil via rotary action at  ~200 rpm. It is  used in a one-step process for preparing soil for planting. A soil pulverizer is a fast rotating tiller (~600 rpm) that is used to pulverize soil to a fine consistency, in preparation for pressing Compressed Earth Bricks (CEBs).

Problem Statement – A rototiller is one of the many implements for a tractor, and is part of a general agriculture infrastructure. In the GVCS program, the rototiller is an add-on module to a front loader, with interchangeability of hydraulic motors to provide different speeds. The rototiller can be fitted with different tine sets for different purposes, such as tilling for agriculture, weed control, soil puverization for CEB construction, and others. In the soil pulverization function, the tines could be chains – such that stalling of the tines in hard soil is eliminated completely.


Definition – A spader is a set of mechanical shovels that prepare soil for planting without causing a hardpan typical of rototiller tilling. The spader is the most advanced form of mechanical cultivation.

Problem Statement -  Agricultural spaders at the 40 hp and above range are expensive ($10k and up). An open source version has favorable cost reduction properties, especially if detachable hydraulic motors are used.


Definition – A micro-combine is a small-scale combine, with a cutting swath of about 2-6 feet in width.  A combine is a combination harvester (cutter) and thresher, and consists of a cutting element, auger, rotating drum for threshing, and a fan for winnowing.

Problem Statement - A micro-combine is useful in small-scale agriculture (acre scale), where a full-sized combine is too large or where land features  prevent the use of a full-sized combine. The micro-combine should be adjustable readily for different crops, so that it becomes feasible for farming operation to produce a diverse array of grain crops. This is currently not feasible in modern agriculture, where the cost of a combine, and difficulty in adjusting a combine to multiple crops, eliminates diversified field crop operations from existence. Moreover, combines and microcombines are expensive ($25k and up, new (ref)) Used combines are not recommended due to mainenance costs, as dictated by their complexity. A flexible, low-cost micro-combine could enable Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) (ref) operations to diversify into grain production. The Micro-combine may produce grain for the Bakery, beans as a staple food, seed crops for oil extraction, or seed for planting cover crops – among others.

Solution – A hydraulically-driven combine with independently-driven sickle bar, augers, drum, and fan is both easier to fabricate than a standard combine, and easier to adjust because each component may be adjusted independently.

31-Universal Rotor 

Definition – A universal Rotor is a tractor-mounted rotor that can be fitted with a wide array of toolheads. The Universal Rotor is designed to be mounted vertically in the up or down orientation, horizontally either to the right or left, and in the forward orientation for a wide array of tasks: String Trimmer, honey extractor, posthole digger, tree planting auger, slurry mixer, washing machine, power take-off, stump grinder, rock drill, and a number of other purposes. It must feature heavy-duty construction and easy change of orientation.

Problem Statement – A large number of implements consist of a motor with some kind of a rotor attached. These implements are typically sold as complete units, but hudraulic drive allows for wide adaptability in the range of uses for a single rotor with interchangeable motor and bits. Thus, it is useful to have a single rotor, with a couple of motors and a wide array of working rotor elements, instead of a large number of dedicated implements. The existing design with tractor implements is not far from using a set of electric hand drills where every hand drill has a dedicated drill bit, instead of the drill bits being interchangeable with a single electric hand drill. Cost reduction by a factor of over 10x is feasible by using this strategy, as there is no point to have an entire set of dedicated implements when the only difference in these implements is the nature of the work head.  

Solution – A flexibly-designed, overbuilt, single rotor is sufficient to accommodate a wide range of functions at less than 1/10 of the cost of dedicated implements.

32-Materials-moving Auger

Definition – A materials-moving auger is a device for moving materials via screw action of a screw-shaped flighting. This is relevant to pellet feeders for pellet burners, for collecting cut hay in a baler, for moving grain out of the threshing drum of a combine, and for many other materials-moving operations.

Problem statement – By designing an auger as an attachable module, one can use a single basic design in a number of applications. An auger is an important materials handling device whose production should be open-sourced to allow for low cost maintenance of one's equipment base.



Definition – A baler is a device that compresses hay and other light materials into more compact bales (cubes or rolls). Hay bales and straw bales are used as storage of biomass crop for animal feed. A baler is an essential part of any integrated agriculture opration.

Problem Statement – We are designing a flexible baler for use with the LifeTrac infrastructure. This bales is hydraulically driven, so that it does not require a power take-off shaft. We are considering hydraulic cylinders for the compression mechanism, since that is a simple and robust way to perform the compression function. We are interested in designing a modular, design-for-disassembly baler, where each major component is attachable as a module, such as: (1), hay cutting module; (2) materials-moving auger; (3) compression chamber; (4) tying mechanism.

Development Status and Needs – The baler is being designed in a modular tool with detachable hydraulic motors. We have not done any design work on the tying module yet needs to be developed.

Conceptual Diagram and Proposal Brief - 

35-Hay Rake

Definition – A hay rake is a mechanical implement for a tractor that rakes hay or other light materials into windrows or other formations for drying or baling.

Problem Statement – A hay rake is an essential part of any agricultural operation where biomass haying is required, such as for food, fodder, or fuel production.


Definition – A loader is a bucket attachment to a tractor that can be used for digging or loading of  soil and other loose materials. This provides an essential materials-handling operation in any agricuture, construction, or other utility application.

 materials loading.

Problem Statement – For maximum flexibility, we are building a quick-attach version of a loader bucket. We are also designing the bucket to accommodate a tooth bar, the soil pulverizer, and other possible applications.

Devopment Status and Needs- We have built a bucket for the soil pulverizer[21] prototype II. We need to finalize a quick-attach standard so that all LifeTrac implement attachment is uniform, and subsequently to publish complete fabrication drawings for the loader bucket.


Definition – A backhoe is a piece of excavating equipment or digger consisting of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm. It is an implement for digging trenches or large holes in the ground for foundations and other applications.


Definition – A tree chipper or wood chipper is a machine used for reducing wood (generally tree limbs or trunks) into smaller parts, such as wood chips or sawdust. A hammermill is a machine whose purpose is to shred or crush aggregate material into smaller pieces via the action of swinging hammers.

Problem Statement – To maximize flexibility, a flexible chipper or hammermill may be designed such that a universal rotor mounted on 2 ends may be used with interchangeable blades. Thus, a single device can function as a hammermill, chipper, or other shredding device. To make this feasible, a quick-interchange mechanism must be designed. The esiest route is to slip the blade set on and off the shaft, by removing mounting bearings.


Definition – A trencher is a piece of construction equipment used to dig trenches for laying pipe, cable, or drainage. We are building a rock wheel style trencher for trenching in soil and rock.

Problem Statement and Solution– A trencher is a useful piece of equipment for infrastructure-building. We are designing a low-cost, 40 hp version with 3 foot digging depth for about $500 in parts, using the rock wheel design, which is simpler than a digging chain design.

40-Open Source Automobile         

Definition – An automobile or car is a wheeled motor vehicle for transporting passengers.

Problem Statement – A car is a useful human invention for on-demand, personal transport. However, cars contribute significantly to carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere, as well as to pollution, congestion, and resource conflicts over liquid fuels. We are designing a high-mileage (75+ miles per gallon), modern-steam, biomass pellet-fueled tilting microcar. This design addresses the car congestion issues  of modern civilization, where a tilting microcar can more than double the vehicle-handling capacity of roads – which is not only a nice idea but a critical one to handle the mobility needs of growing human populations.

Development Status and Needs – To integrate steam power, biomass fuel, and car chassis development, we need to gather a development team. The Steam Automobile Club of America is a resource with a diverse array of practical and state-of-art talent. To this we need to add the development of a tilting chassis. We have already recruited an SME on the modern steam engine[22], which will be our first prototype of the steam engine, to be scaled up to Power Cube requirements.

Further Information and Resources – Hyrban open source fuel cell car

42-Dimensional Sawmill - http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/File:Sawmill_3d_picture_2.jpg

Definition – A dimensional sawmill is a circular blade sawmill for producing dimensional lumber. It consists of two blades attached at a right angle to one another, allowing the production of a dimensional member in one pass of the mill.

Problem Statement – Efficient production of dimensional lumber is desirable for creating the built environment from local resources.

Solution - The dimensional sawmill is a higher yield solution for producing dimensional lumber compared to chainsaw, band, or circular sawmills – as it produces a dimensional piece of lumber in one pass as opposed to two passes, and is capable of processing a log of any size. A dimensional sawmill can also work both in the forward and reverse direction, thus being capable of producing 4x as much wood as a single-edged band sawmill.

Further information – Dimensional sawmill in action - video; peer review of OSE dimensional sawmill at TractorByNet;

43-Cement Mixer

Definition – A concrete mixer (also commonly called a cement mixer) is a device that homogeneously combines cement, aggregate such as sand or gravel, and water to form concrete.

Problem Statement – To optimize the ability to produce concrete on a small scale, a self-loading mixer with weight-batching of ingredients is desirable. The speed of on-site concrete production can be increased by 30% - 40% by the use of a mixer with a batch-loading hopper. This enables the ingredients for one batch to be assembled while another batch is mixing, eliminating the time lost by shoveling materials directly into the mixer drum. Such a mixer may also be used for mixing of other substances, such as soil cement. If it is built sufficiently heavy, it may be used for pulverizing applications such as ball milling.


Development Status – We have identified a subject matter expert who has experience with batching cement mixing systems, and are currently following up on conceptual and CAD design on the wiki[23].


44-Well-Drilling Rig

Definition – A well-drilling rig is a device for digging deep water wells.

Problem State1

ment – A water well drilling rig that can dig 300 foot deep wells costs $50k and up (ref), outside of consumer models of dubious performance ($5k, Rockmaster ref). There is no robust, open source well-drilling rig available, outside of shallow, manual drilling rigs (ref). For hydraulic rotary drilling, effective mud pumps are expensive. We aim to open-source the well-drilling rig, to enable DIY water well digging up to 300 foot depths, at a cost of $2k in materials.

45-Permacultural Nursery

Definition – A permacultural nursery is a genetic repository which can be used in efficient self-replication of its entire stock. This nursery includes the 5 kingdoms. For plants, it focuses on useful and edible plants such as fruit, nut, and berry plants, as well as perennial vegetables, herbs, and other useful plants. For our purposes, the nursery provides all the genetic stock for creating hea

Problem Statement – It costs approximately $3k (ref) to provide all the genetic stock for a full, year-round diet for one person. However, once the genetic stock is available, it is self-replicating. With human management and access to agriculture and processing equipment, a full, year-round diet can be provided.

Development Status and Needs – We need a person experienced in plant nursery operations and raising of livestock, from chickens and fowl to goats, cows, pigs, fish, worms, fungi, microbes, algae, and other life forms.

46-Bakery and Grain Products

Definition – A bakery is an establishment which produces or/and sells baked goods from an oven, such as bread and burritos. It is also an excellent small enterprise. In our case, we would like our bakery to diversify into

Problem Statement – Bread is an important staple, and Wonderbread doesn't necessary cut it as nourishing food for resilient communicates.

Development Status and Needs – We need a subject matter experts to design a pellet-fueled gasifier oven, open source dough machine, tortilla machine, pasta machine, potato and corn chip procution, process design, and product line for an integrated grain product operation.

47-Dairy and Products

Definition -  A dairy is an establishment used for the harvesting of animal milk—mostly from cows or goats—for human consumption. Dairy products include  butter, ghee, cheeses, yogurt, kefir, and others.

Problem statement – Goats and cows are relatvely easy to manage, but managing these efficiently is much harder. The open source dairy includes milking machines and efficient design of the operation, especially rotational fencing strategy.]

Development Status and Needs – We need to recruit someone with experience in livestock management, dairy operations, and dairy processing.


Definition – An inverter is an electrical device that converts DC voltage from batteries to AC voltage for off-shelf electrical tools and appliances.

Problem Statement – Off-shelf inverters have about a 2 year lifetime (ref), and 5-10 year lifetime for higher quality models (ref). Lifetime design inverters with plug-in replacement components are required for sustainable communities which use battery storage for electricity. The only other feasible, non-battery, non-fuel energy storage may be via heat storage coupled to thermoelectric generators.

Development Status and Needs – We need to identify a subject matter expert with experience in inverter design.

49-Electric Motor/Generator

Definition – An electrical motor/generator is a device that functions as a DC motor when energized with DC voltage, which can also function as an electrical generator when it is spun.

Problem statement – A range of different DC motors and generators are required to generate power and to drive different devices. For our purposes, we need a generator for the 50kW wind turbine,  Solar Turbine, and Modern Steam Electric Generator, Power Take-Off Generator. We also need items such as electric motors for common appliances; low-speed, high-torque pancake motors; electric car motors; fan motors, pump motors, etc. Having a universal Electric Motor Construction Set is a great asset to any community. Such a construction set would be applicable to the design and fabrication of any type of electric motor.

Development Status and Needs – Rotor and core fabrication, copper winding, scaling strategies, electromagnetic simulators for modeling motors, and other aspects of electric motor and fabrication need to be developed. Subject matter experts familiar with electric motor and generator design need to be recruited.

50-Hydraulic Motors and Cylinders

Definition – A hydraulic motor is a mechanical actuator that converts hydraulic pressure and flow into torque and angular displacement (rotation). A hydraulic cylinder (also known as a linear hydraulic motor) is a mechanical actuator that provides a linear force. These devices are the core of drive systems for hydraulically-powered equipment.

Problem Statement – With access to CNC machining techniques and other automation, it is possible to fabricate hydraulic motors at low cost. It is useful to reduce this cost in order to produce low-cost hydraulic devices.

Development Status and Needs – We need to identify a subject matter expert with experience in hydraulic motor/hydraulic cylinder design and fabrication


Status:  Status numbers (1-22) refer to the following Levels of Completion. For each Level of Completion, 1-4 is used, and refers to the prototype developed, where 4 refers to Full Product Release.

Update this to DEVELOPMENT TEMPLATE with 28 points (see this)




Project Manager recruited for project work-flow management


Subject Matter Expert recruited for consultation on matters of technical development


CAD Drafstperson/Designer recruited for lifetime-design, design-for-modularity, design-for-disassembly (for repairability and packaging purposes), design-for-manufacturability (using stock components and easiest techniques), design for manual assembly


Project Developer recruited as the main overseer of project direction and quality control for adherence to OSE Specificiations


Marketing Support Generalist recruited for stakeholder identification and evangelizing for crowd donations. Marketing consists of identifying potential users of a given product so that these potential users can be tapped for supporting product development.


Conceptual design, diagrams, performance calculations, and performance specifications drawn up.


Project Budget proposed


Proposal Brief with problem statement, solution (design rationale), budget, and team completed and ready for low-risk funding - including crowd, non-profit channels, and gifts. Developer contract signed. Problem statement defines the basic need and solution defines how the need is met.


Funding secured. Funding allows rapid development by contract.


CAD drawings completed. This is the core of design – the CAD drawing and model for the technology being developed.


Design rationale documented. Design rationale explains what choices were made why they were made for a particular instantiation of a given technology.


Fabrication Drawings completed. Fabrication drawings are drawn automatically from the CAD design.


Bill of Materials. This is a complete list of parts and their costs.


Sourcing Information. Sourcing refers to where the parts or components for building devices were obtained from.


Peer review. Peer review evaluates steps 6-13 and makes improvement suggestions. This is useful both in improving design and in documenting how negative feedback may be addressed with creative solutions.


Failure Mode Effects Analysis. This is an analysis that examines possible failure modes of a design, and how they affect the outcome of the development project. Such analysis may abort a development path and suggest an alternative for overall design or component design.


Prototype fabrication. This is the actual build of a technology.


Prototype testing. This refers to field testing under real production conditions, to examine not only machine functionality but also adaptability of different machines to particular working conditions.


Fabrication Instructional Video Completed. Such documentation is directed at those people who are interested in building a certain technology themselves. CAD and CAM files, technology specifications, and the instructional video should be of quality sufficient for successful replication by skilled individuals.


Product manual published.  A product manual should cover explanation of how a technology works, operation procedures, safety precautions, maintenance requirements, troubleshooting and repair information.


Fabrication ergonomics documentation. To promote economically-significant replication and production of a given technology, the ergonomics (time and energy requirements) of fabrication should be documented as a function of available production infrastructure.


Fabrication ergonomics optimization. The fabrication procedure should be evolved to the most efficient possible for a given infrastructure. The fabrication infrastructure itself should evolve. Fabrication ergonomics may improve through computer assist (CNC) and automation, with an intended goal that production quality and cost in an on-demand, flexible fabrication facility rivals that of centralized production.


Open Enterprise Model published for production of technology. We are interested in distributive economics, so publishing documentation for enterprise replication is an inherent part of our post-scarcity creation strategy.


Open Enterprise Model published for related enterprise. Related enterprises are those which are not the produciton of a given technology, but the production of the products of a given technology. For example, for the CEB press, related enterprise may be construction services or the selling of bricks as building materials.S


User network development. An internet user group and local user groups should be created for support in using and developing a given technology.



1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22





Power Cube




XYZ Table

3D Printer

3D Scanner

CNC Circuit Mill

Robotic Arm

Laser Cutter


Plasma Cutter

Induction Furnace

Metal Rolling

Moldless Casting

Rod and Wire Mill


Modern Steam Engine

Gasifier burner

Steam generator

Solar Turbine

50 kW Wind Turbine


Universal Seeder




Universal Auger

Materials Auger



Hay Rake








CEB Press

Dimensional Sawmill

Cement Mixer

Well-drilling Rig

Open Source Car


Electrical Motor/Generator

Hydraulic Motors

Aluminum from Clay

Manual for Global Village Infrastructure Construction – Agriculture, Fabrication, Housing, Energy and Fuel

4.0 Product Ecologies

The GVCS consists of 50 components. The GVCS components function as modules that can be used together in various combinations – such that a minimal number of tools can provide the largest possible array of functions. The distinguishing feature of the GVCS is precisely that the various components are interoperable, so that new functions can be created by putting several pieces together. All together, the entire GVCS produces a complete economy that allows a community to gain control over its own destiny.

The modular nature of the GVCS is akin to Lego block construction – where a relatively small number of blocks can be used to create a wide array of objects. In this section, we will summarize how each component contributes to creating some of the main infrastructures of civilization. These include agriculture, housing, energy, fuel, personal transportation, fabrication, and others. (descriptions and diagrams of packages; General Problem Statements with significant data)

SECTION 4: Fabrication I and II Product Ecology

The Fabrication Product Ecology involves the complete tool-chain for transforming scrap steel to any electromechanical device, power electronic device, and basic circuits. The tools involved are the: (1) Multimachine; (2), Ironworker Machine; (3), XYZ Table; (4), 3D Printer; (5), 3D Scanner; (6), CNC Circuit Mill; (7), Robotic Arm; (8) Laser Cutter; (9) MIG Welder; (10), Plasma Cutter; and the more advanced set including: (11), Induction Furnace; (12), Metal Rolling; (13), Moldless Casting; (14), Rod and Wire Mill; and (15), Forging.

The basic concept of the Fabrication product ecology is that it constitutes a Flexible Fabrication Pattern Language, which allows one to understand and to perform on-demand fabrication of just about anything from scrap steel as a feedstock, and it includes fabrication of objects in wood, plastic, and other materials. The general ecologies are as follows.

One: Basic Ecology: Items and Cost

The first set of tools in the GVCS is a basic fabrication ecology including MIG Welder, Ironworker, Multimachine, XYZ table, Plasma Cutter, oxy-acetylene or oxy-hydrogen Metal-Cutting Torch and Plasma Cutter, 3D printer, 3D Scanner, CNC Circuit Mill. The Multimachine inlcudes a Mill, Drill, Lathe, Surface Grinder, Cold Cut/Abrasive Metal saw, and Metal Band Saw.




Multimachine - Mill



                          Heavy Duty Drill Press






                          Surface Grinder



                          Cold Cut Saw



                          Abrasive Saw



                          Band Saw



150 Ton Ironworker Machine






Gas Cutting Torch



3D Printer



3D Scanner



CNC Circuit Mill



MIG Welder



Plasma Cutter



Robotic Arm



Laser Cutter






(Table needs to be fleshed out in detail)

Basic Fabrication Ecology Explanation

The basic fabrication infrastructure allows a full range of production activity that is known today as custom fabrication. Custom fabrication essentially involves cutting, welding, and precision machining operations on stock metal. For example, the entire LifeTrac or CEB Press may be constructed almost entirely with a torch, welder, and drill press (only a grinder and some other hand tools are required in addition) from off-shelf components.

If one were stuck on a desert island, was limited to 3 tools, and wanted to build all kind of mechanical tools like tractors and implements, then this person would select a torch, welder, and drill press. While the Ironworker machine is an efficient cutting tool, just about any operation that it can do may be done with a torch – though at much greater expense of time.

Cutting (and hole-punching) of flat or angle metal is done most conveniently with the metal shear (and hole-punch) part of an ironworker machine, which performs these functions in a matter of seconds, as opposed to minutes, if done by other means such as torching or drilling. Thus, the ironworker machine is the heart of any fabrication operation for heavy equipment that is built from stock structural metal. Moreover, the hole-puncher is a critical element for fabricating design-for-disassembly machinery, because design-for-disassembly typically involves the joining of metal components by bolting them together.

The hole puncher works only where the metal is no more than one inch thick, and it works only on flat metal, not tubes. For producing holes in tubingwith 1/32” accuracy, an XYZ Table with a torch is the fastest way to go if the walls of the tubing are no more than 1/2” thick. A heavy duty drill press is slower, but it can  start holes in metal thicker than 1/2”.

The hierarchy of cutting operations thus starts with the Ironworker (punch and shear). The cutting operations can be performed by the Plasma Cutter or gas torch, either manually or with computer assist on the XYZ Table. Other cutting operations include cold cut metal saw, abrasive cutoff saw, and band saw. The CNC Lathe-Mill-Drill provide further precision machining operations after the former cutting operations. The CNC Surface Grinder can provide precision surfaces and right angles on surfaces. Then, the products of these subtractive machining operations can either be bolted or welded together into finished assemblies, such as tractors and CEB presses.

The precision machining operations can yield other products such as Hydraulic Motors or Steam Engines. These machining operations can also produce the precision drive mechanisms to build a replica of the Multimachine or other CNC machines.

The CNC Circuit Mill can mill electronic circuits, such as the controller circuit board for the CEB Press.

The 3D Scanner is useful in scanning 3D objects so that they can be converted to toolpath CAM files for other devices like  the CNC Multimachine, XYZ Table, 3D Printer, or others. In other words – a 3D part may be scanned from an actual object, and a replica may be produced automatically. This is a very powerful concept for flexible, on-demand, digital fabrication.

The Robotic Arm may be used to automate welding and torching operations. It may also be used to mill forms for moldless casting. One useful, automated welding function is welding of welded-wire fencing or cattle panels. The Robotic Arm may be equipped with any tool head that would otherwise be used on a CNC XYZ table – such as a welder, torch, or router.

All together, the tools in this tool chain can reproduce not only themselves, but they can also produce all the other machines of the GVCS.

This diagram summarizes the relationships in the basic fabrication ecology.

In general, the GVCS machine materials cost about $1 per pound – which is essentially the cost of steel. Virgin steel sourced from steel suppliers is about US$0.75 per pound, and the rest of machine components and electronics bring the cost up to about $1/lb.  The total weight of the GVCS machines is approximately 30,000 pounds, or approximately US$30,000 in materials cost. This indicates a baseline cost estimate. This estimate is confirmed by our results with the 8 prototypes that we have completed to date.



The advanced fabrication ecology adds melting of metal and other hot metal processes to generate virgin metal feedstock. While the basic fabrication package allows for the re-production of the entire GVCS tool set, outside of the life forms of the Nursery, it does not produce its own metal feedstocks.  Producing feedstock allows for a drastic reduction of materials costs for buiding the GVCS machinery. This reduction goes from about US$1 for virgin steel per pound to the price of scrap steel – which ranges from free to about 10 cents per pound. Access to metal melting also allows one to pruduce feedstock for building higher-level components such as Hydrauilic Motors or Modern Steam Engines - at greatly reduced cost. Therefore, somebody with access to this advanced fabrication capacity can literally produce the entire GVCS tool set at the cost of scrap metal – which is the substance behind our claim of rebuilding civilization at the cost of scrap steel.

One may ask whether access to the advanced fabrication infrastructure allows one to create a high standard of living for communities – since labor costs of generating virgin metal or higher-level components from scrap metal may be prohibitive. The answer to this question is positive, under the assumption that the flexible fabrication,[24] small-scale, open source process rivals centralized industrial production efficiency. If the definition of efficiency includes a requirement of creating distributive economics, then the answer is a clear yes.

For a small-scale process to rival centralized production efficiency, the simple requirement is that wealth on the order of $100 per hour per person is generated – which is significantly greater than the average wage in a steel power plant[25] if one considers that only one person is required to manage the steel production in a flexible production scenario. This is doable in the scenario of an Induction Furnace which produces about 200 lbs[26] of virgin steel for Metal Rolling per hour per worker, and this is our performance benchmark for designing our hot metal processing operations.


The advanced fabrication infrastructure involves the (1), Induction Furnace; (2), Metal Rolling; (3), Moldless Casting; (4), Rod and Wire Mill; and (5), Forging. The Induction Furnace is used to melt scrap steel, to mix alloys, and to preheat metal for further procesing. Billets may be cast from the Induction Furnace for subsequent Metal Rolling. Metal rolling can create flat sections which can also be turned into tubing with further rollers and dies, and pipe or square tubing may be welded to produce structuralframes of devices such as LifeTrac. The Rod and Wire Mill can create cylindrical metal sections – which may be shafts up to 5” diameter or wire down to 1/8”. This covers a wide array of applications, from fencing to shafting and rebar production. Cold Metal Rolling may be used to produce cylindrical vessels. Forging may be used to press parts from blanks.





200kW Induction Furnace



Hot Rolling Mill, 1000 lb batch capacity



Rod and Wire Mill, 1000 lb batch capacity



2000 Ton Forge Press

[27]$125k, used


Moldless Casting[28] 






Derivative processes may include:


In summary, the induction furnace followed by hot metal processing allows for the generation of virgin raw metal, alloys, and forged or cast parts. This includes fasteners, rebar, and roofing. Machined precisoin parts may be produced with the Multimachine.

The induction furnace melts or heats metal. Hot metal processings includes mixing of various metals to generate alloys in the melt. Other processes follow from the melt as the metal is poured and begins to cool:

The flexible fabrication infrastructure is thus critical, because it provides the capacity to work with and produce metal objects. Metal is the underlying substance of modern civilization. It allows one to engage in efficient agriculture, and metal is the primary building material of renewable energy systems.  It is no wonder that metal, agriculture, and energy are the 3 components of a general measure of economic activity – the Consumer Price Index.

More advanced technological steps that derive from flexible fabrication are production of metal and semiconductors, among other materials, from raw natural resources such as rocks and soilsS. GVCS addresses the metal question with production of Aluminum from Clay, and semiconductors and other materials are relegated to further iterations of the GVCS.

Mechanical Infrastructure: Life-Size, Lego-Like Construction Set for Agricultural and Utility Equipment.

The agricultural, construction, and utility equipment infrastructure relies on a generalized Lego-like construction set for a larger number of mechanical devices – in which modularity is emphasized. The mechanical infrastructure is based on a chassis (tractor, microtractor, car, bulldozer) with modular add-ons.  Implements, motors, and power units can interchange, thereby maximizing the range of uses that can be composed from a small set of components. For example, the power unit can be interchanged readily between the tractor, bulldozer, or car. As another example, the wheel motors can be disconnected readily from the tractor, and used in other applications, such as machining equipment or augers. This is shown in this diagram:

(Think about this as an illustration: power cube on tractor, microtractor, dozer, car, or as a separate device; wheel motor taken off onto Universal Auger, lathe; PTO motor powering PTO generator, hammermill, soil pulverizer, or honey extractor – either off the tractor or tractor-mounted; demonstrate quick-attach plate implement interchangeability - with implements such as bucket put on quick attach plate; pulverizer put onto bucket to turn tractor from loader to soil pulverizer; pulverizer tines replaced with tiller tines, and used without bucket, to provide rototiller action)

The summary of relationships between for the mechanical infrastructure components includes these points:

Agriculture – General Problem Statement for Open Source Agroecology


The food infrastructure for a resilient community – which we call Open Source Agroecology – involves best practices of integarated design which are made possible via access to supporting information and access to advanced, appropriate equipment. Open Source Agroecology builds upon these best practices, and aims to demonstrate a best-practice system for feeding 100-200 people with a core team of 4 agricultural generalists, or Open Source Agroecologists.

(compare and contrast these for perspective)

Permaculture -

Ecology Action -

Joel Salatin'g Grass Farming -

Sugar Mountain Farm's Open Source Butcher Shop – This one stands out as the only organic farm that is both successful and that actively endorses open source documentation as part of its distributive economic business model.

Woody Agriculture  -

Fukuoka's Natural Farming -

Chinampas -



The components of Open Source Agroecology (OSA) may include: (1), terraforming operations, indcluding berming and fish ponds; (2), field agriculuture operations, with LifeTrac and related mechanical infrastructure; (3), vegetable garden; (4), animal husbandry and other Kingdoms; (5), Nursery operations for plant propagation; (6), Orchard and Edible Landscape; (7), food processing, kitchen, Dairy, and Bakery. The GVCS is essential, as it is designed to promote a distributive economic model which can guarantee industrial levels of productivity. The difference between our work and other work on food systems is that we are interested in an explicit goal of : (1), a full-diet, local, year-round food system; (2) economic feasibility for feeding 100-200 people with the stewardship of 4 people by using high, appropriate technology equipment; (3) distributive economic nature of the venture – in that enterprise documentation and replication assistance for the enterprise is available.

Terraforming Operations – The Resilient Community, at best, should follow biomimicry (ref) principles, where agricultural practices mimic natural systems, and human habitats are integrated into the landscape via biotecture (ref). To facilitate such development, terraforming activities such as building of ponds, keylines, swales, or other earth forms are necessary to help moisture retention, to create various waterworks or drainage systems, or to prevent erosion. A Bulldozer and Backhoe are the main tools for accomplishing these tasks.

Field Operations – Field agriculture, including agroforestry intercropping (ref),  may be desirable for producing grains, other seed crops, and tubers such as potatoes or carrots. To this end, LifeTrac and MicroTrac tractors serve as the core devices for traction and implement power. These operations include preparing the ground by Spading or Rototilling, followed by seeding of various crops, including tubers, with the Universal Seeder. Field agriculture infrastructure also includes the Agricultural Microcombine for harvesting and threshing field crops, and haying equipment (Hay Cutter, Hay Rake, Baler). The Micro-combine may produce grain for the Bakery, and the haying equipment can produce hay for animal fodder, as well as hay for pelletized biomass for fuel or fodder. A Materials-handling Auger is a component of a Micro-combine, Baler, and it may be used in other operations such as loading/unloading of silos or pellet transfer.

Vegetable Garden – A vegetable garden should focus on a diversity of locally-adapted plants, and it should focus on perennial vegetables for minimal maintenance. Plant guilds, companion planting, and beneficial insects should be considered. LifeTrac or MicroTrac are useful for preparing the garden, mowing weeds, or cultivation.

Animal Husbandry and Other Kingdoms – Animal husbandry includes goats, chickens and fowl, cows, pigs, and other species. Other species should include vermiposting, bathouses for producing bat guano, apiculture for honey, pollen, and wax; mycoculture for soil food webs and symbiosis.

Nursery – The nursery is an essential component for propagating fruit, nut, berry, and other perennials. This allows one to plant or replicate an orchard at minimal cost. This replication cost can easily go to zero when one has plantings of root-stocks from seed or from vegetative propagation, and when one has plantings for obtaining a wide variety of scion wood. The Nursery may also be applied to a wide variety of other useful plants.

Orchard and Edible Landscape

The orchard provides fruit, nut, and berry crops for a resilient community. Alley cropping of various other crops may be implemented as well. The orchard should be terraformed (tree swales or water catchment areas) to provide optimal growing conditions. Compost teas and covercrops may be used to remediate the soil food web (ref) as necessary in large-scale plantings.

Three main implements are useful in the orchard. The first is a Universal Auger with a tree-planting attachment for digging tree-planting holes, or with fence a Posthole Digger for Fencing. This allows a single operator to plant out 200-400 trees (6 feet tall) per day with a 27-54 hp tractor. mower for keeping down weeds between rows. The the third is a Hammermill/Chipper for chipping wood or pulverizing other lightweight materials such as hay, newspaper, or agricultural residue  to provide mulch for orchard plantings.

Food Processing Kitchen, Dairy, and Bakery

Food processing involves canning, drying, pickling, fermenting, and others. Useful processes include (1), flour grinding, oil pressing, pasta production, burrito and bread production, and dairy operations for making cheese, butter, yogurt, kefir, and other products. Equipment that should be open-sourced includes industrial-capacity flour grinder, oil expeller, solar dehydrator, dough mixer, burrito machine, pasta extruder, bread oven, burrito oven, chip production machine, canning oven, and others. For the Dairy, an open source milking system should be developed, and possibly, a robotic milker with computer vision. Using the Induction Furnace and Metal Rolling, stainless steel should be produced with the GVCS in order to build affordable kitchen/dairy/bakery infrastructures.

The relationship to other infrastructures is that the Food Processing infrastructure relies on the rest of the Agriculture Infrastructure, which is assisted with the Mechanical Equipment Infrastructure, which is powered by local biomass. All of these tools are built via Flexible Fabrication.

Energy Infrastructure – Fuel, Motive Power, and Electricity

The energy infrastructure consists of solar energy capture either by the Solar Turbine or by plants. The Solar Turbine uses solar heat directly when the sun is shining, or stored as plants trap solar energy via photosynthesis, where the energy is harvested in the form of plant biomass. The plant biomass is in turn pelletized with the Pellletizer, and burned with Modern Steam Engines for generating motive power or electricity on-demand with Power Cubes. This route of energy production is renewable and carbon neutral, as plants burned are grown year after year with proper management practices. Ashes from burning may be returned to the soil.

The diagram of this ecology shows sunlight being converted to electricity. On cloudy days in winter, plant biomass may be burned - thus the Solar Turbine is part of a combined heat and power (CHP) (ref) system. Moreover, the 50 kW Wind Turbine may be producing power on windy days.

This is not to mention effective solar design for passive solar heating as the first route to using energy wisely.

The Modern Steam Engines may be produced readily with the Flexible Fabrication infrastructure, including the recycling of scrap metal for generating virgin metals. Aluminum Extraction From Clay may be particularly useful for extracting the raw materials for lightweight car bodies and frames.

Housing -

The housing infrastructure consists of a number of mulipurpose tools. For materials production: the GVCS includes: (1), the CEB Press for making earth bricks from local soils; (2) Sawmill for milling on-site lumber, (3)Cement Mixer for mixing cement or plaster, (4)rebar production (from the Rod and Wire Mill), (5)sheet metal roofing production from Metal Rolling, (6)production of insulation by Hammer Milling materials such as newspapers or biomass. The Tractor, Microtractor, and Bulldozer provide the power and site preparation services. Implements of interest include: (1), the Trencher for laying wire, water and gas tubing, (2) Universal Auger (for hole digging and tree planting), (3) Backhoe for digging foundations, and (4) Loader bucket and toothbar bucket for general materials moving. The Well-Drilling Rig provides the water supply. If there are ferrocement structures involves, the MIG Welder comes into play. In this ecology, the interchangeable Power Cube is involved in providing power to the different devices.

A diagram of this ecology follows (Isaiah). A simplified diagram is here:, without the metal aspects, which should be upgraded.

LifeTrac; MicroTrac; Bulldozer; Power Cube; Multimachine: CNC Mill, Drill, Lathe, Surface Grinder, Cold Cut Saw, Abrasive Saw, Metal Bandsaw; Ironworker Machine; RepTab (CNC Torch Table; CNC Router Table); RepRap; 3D Scanner; CNC Circuit Mill; Robotic Arm; Laser Cutter; MIG Welder; Plasma Cutter; Induction Furnace; Metal Hot Rolling; Moldless Casting; Wire Extrusion; Forging; Modern Steam Engine; Gasifier Burner; Steam Generator; Solar Turbine; 50 kW Wind Turbine; Extraction of Aluminum from Clay; Pelletizer; Universal Seeder; Tiller; Spader; Microcombine; Universal Auger (String Trimmer, honey extractor, posthole digger, tree planting auger, slurry mixer, washing machine); Materials-moving Auger; Hay Cutter; Baler; Hay Rake; Loader; Backhoe; Chipper/Hammermill/Stump Grinder Trencher; Open Source Car; CEB Press; Dimensional Sawmill; Cement Mixer; Well-drilling Rig; Nursery; Bakery; Dairy; Inverter; Electrical Motor/Generator; Hydraulic Motors and Cylinders (50 total)


The basic transportation infrastructure involves a
Tilting Microcar powered by a lightweight version of the Power Cube. Further, this utilizes the Modern Steam Engine for propulsion, uses the Pelletizer for pelletized biomass fuel, which is in turn harvested by a Tractor with Haying Equipment, which in turn is run on the same hay crop for a 100% closed-loop fuel cycle. Future versions of the transportation infrastructure should include road tractors equivalent to heavy duty pickup trucks.

A hydraulic drive train is utilized so that the transportation infrastructure components such as Power Cubes are interoperable with the rest of the mechanical power infrastructureu. Hydraulic motors are used to provide the mobility. These may later be converted to run on canola oil with additives instead of on synthetic or petroleum-based oils, by taking full advantage of LifeTrac, so.

Universal Power Supply Construction Set (UPSCS)

The UPSCS is the electrical analogue to the flexible LifeTrac mechanical infrastructure.

This product ecology is based on the Universal Power Supply pattern language, discussed above (link to Pattern Language section, but how to link there?). It includes the ability to build the following, in a plug-and-play fashion: (1) power supplies for the Induction Furnace, MIG Welder, Plasma Cutter, Laser Cutter; (2) Charger for batteries and charge controller for the 50kW Wind Turbine or for the Modern Steam Engine.

(Here we could use a concptual diagram for possible UPS Conceptual Design, which could be done with assistnace of Power Electronics SMEs)

The UPSCS is fed by power from Power Cubes with the Modern Steam Engine/Electrical Motor/Generator, which is in turn fueled by Pelletized Biomass. The fabrication of the UPS is done with various components of the fabrication infrastructure, most notably the CNC Circuit Mill, Metal Rolling for metal cases, and Rod and Wire Mill for conductors, and 3D Printer for printing insulators.

Materials – Aluminum Extraction from Clay

This is a particularly deep level of materials sufficiency that can be attained wherever clay is available (most of the earth). This processing, in an off-grid setting, relies on availability of Modern Steam Engines, scaled to about 250 kW of power - and fueled either by the Solar Turbine or Pelletized Biomass. This development in needed to demonstrate  a cornerstone proof-of-principle for creating advanced civilization from local resources.


Section 9: Development Team

Core Team:

Consulting Collaborators

Subject Matter Experts

Prototyping and Fabrication

Setcion 10: Strategy

Section 10 Point One: Open Source TechShop Enterprise Concept

The GVCS covers fabrication, permaculture, mechanical equipment, power and fuel equipment, transportation, housing, and others. Strategically speaking, development of the fabrication aspect is the highest priority – as access to the tools of production helps one to build the entire GVCS from scratch at minimum cost (~$100k (ref) for an equivalent infrastructure of $1.5M (ref)). Access to the induction furnace, hot metal processing, and the remainder of  the RepLab (Open Source Fab Lab) tools can be developed for $44k in parts (ref)

Strategically and holistically speaking, investment opportunities proposed by our program should consider not only high economic value, but also the greatest good for the world. Development of the open source RepLab fits these requirements.

We can pitch RepLab investment based on the TechShop (ref) concept, but with goals far beyond that of TechShop due to our focus on: (1), a much deeper level of tool diversity (such as induction furnace/hot metal processing, state of art industrial robots, or industrial laser cutters), and (2) parallel development of open source designs for high-performance products, including cars, tractors, CNC machines, renewable energy equipment, all RepLab equipment, and so forth. The combination of these 2 points holds significant promise in terms of creating Industry 2.0 (ref) via flexible fabrication (ref) and distributive production (ref).

The basic investment opportunity involves funding the development of a TechShop-like subscription membership facility. The value of equipment in such a facility is about $1.5M (ref) off the shelf, while it is approximately $50k in materials for the GVCS version, or about $100k if fabrication labor is included by means of flexible fabrication. The tools included are the entire RepLab list, which is shown in the RepLab product ecology. Return on investment is already verified by the fact that TechShop has  shown itself to be a viable business venture. In such a model, as little as 100 memberships is sufficient to The added value in our proposition is a business much like TechShop, but with additional tools, and with tools that are desiged to be largely self-replicating in order to facilitate startup of new RepLab subscription enterprises. The innovative nature of this proposition is that by reducing the startup cost of such RepLab facilities, new facilities may be started readily, such that any city or town that has such a facility has a chance to become a beacon of localized industrial capacity, bringing significant wealth to any host community. The key to success in terms of local economic development lies in access to product designs, CAD, and CAM (ref) files, as well as fabricatortraining. The role of OSE in this package is to provide open access to collaboratively-developed, globally-accessible designs/CAD/CAM – in its role as a world-class, open source product development organization for distibutive economics. This is a viable path parallel to centralist, corporate research and development.[30]

The OSE infrastructure should also focus on providing augmented learning opportunities for fabricators, with virtual reality assist. Thus, the RepLab investment enterprise should have solid backing from OSE for its training infrastructure, and non-profit investment in OSE should consider high-quality documentation and learning aumentation in as deep a way as possible.

The basic business model includes these economics, where Off-Shelf refers to commercially-available tools and equipment that exists prior to the complete build-out of the GVCS:







5000 Square Foot Facility






Legal Costs






To achieve the above, we are proposing the creation of an investor-funded development entity with in-house flexible fabrication and general contracting capacity, with a goal of massive deployment of an open source Industry 2.0 infrastructure around the globe. This seed entity should include in-house flexible fabricators and builders who are trained to: (1), fabricate the RepLab tools; and (2), build the facility using modular CEB construction,[31] with startup time of 6 months per facility. In-house fabrication and general contracting capacity is intended to reduce startup cost. This development entity should partner with a  nonprofit GVCS development entity, which provides training to fabricators and builders, and which develops the designs for economically-significant, high-performance products. Because of its distributive economics vision, such an investment opportunity should be positioned with ethical, enlightened angel investors as the primary audience. Intended results are technological leapfrogging in the developing world, and economic regeneration/relocalization in the developed and 4th worlds.

Appendix B. GVCS Products and Services – Sample List of Products

Appendix C. GVCS Enterprise Opportunities

Appendix B. team: Core Team , Development Team, and Subject Matter Experts

Appendix C. Fabricators and Prototypers

Appendix D. Community Design – Enterprises

Appendix E. Reinventing Education – K-Ph.D. Experiential Education Program with AR

Appendix F. FAQ

Appendix G. Lifestyles in the Historical Context.

Appendix H. Publicity Plan, Proposal Readers, Subject Matter Experts, and Recruiting

Appendix I. People Who Need to See this Proposal

Appendix J. Nonprofit Strategy

Appendix K. Financial Report


Core Team

Development Team:

Subject Matter Experts and Co-developers:

Fabrication Team

TED Fellows Talk Review Team (4 Minutes only)

Resource Development Team and Donor Relations (needs a project manager)

APPENDIX G. Lifestyles in the Historical Context.

Here’s a Wikipedia article stating that hunter-gatherers only work about 20 hours a week; the paper behind it; and another article stating that the move to agriculture shortened lifespans. Looks like the data is really pretty sketchy though.

APPENDIX H. Publicity Plan, Proposal Audience, Subject Matter Expert Recruiting, Organizatinal Development, Lectures and Conferences

Publicity Plan:

Proposal Audience:

Village Design Integrated Proposal

Subject Matter Expert Recruiting

Organizational Development Team

Bay Area Networking

Lectures and Conferences

APPENDIX J. Nonprofit Donation Strategy

Nonprofit Donations

The nonprofit sector functions in a way that a corporate donation of X dollars could result in a tax savings of Y dollars, by virtue of the donation placing the corporation in a lower tax bracket. There are situations where Y>X - or that a corporation can make more money by first giving money away! By studying the details of this mechanism from tax tables, one is able to approach corporations actively for donations. The details of this strategy should be open-sourced for the benefit of all non-profit organizations.

Nonprofit Product Sales

With LifeTrac-CEB, Steam Engine Power Cube, Pelletizer, and Basic RepLab Package fully developed, we can promote this as a local economic development package free of dependence on the provider of this package – assuming that proper training and documentation is available. This package allows for locally-fueled, locally-fabricated tractor infrastructure for developing communities, and could be an example of leapfrogging in the 3rd world or economic revitalization in the 1st world. The basic fabrication aspect could provide the components for a tractor, and with the Advanced RepLab package, could provide complete resilience in equipment maintenance that is made possible by the production of virgin steel from scrap resources.

Oxfam provides appropriate infrastructure support to villages, and may be a suitable user of the GVCS:


It would be possible to approach them at some point to introduce a feature where people can buy 1/10th of a tractor for a village in an underprivileged part of the world. they already have many unorthodox appropriate technology "gifts" that they deploy

Appendix K. Financial Considerations

Our goal is to gather $2.4M of support to complete the GVCS in 2 years.

Our monthly budget for the last four years has been $1500, and since November 2010, it is at $2500/month. What if this project got funded?

As of December 2010, OSE is functioning as a private, voluntary organization  (NGO) without tax-exempt status. We previously had nonprofit status through an umbrella organization, but we let that lapse since we did not have enough people to maintain it and we were busy with on-the-ground development. 

We are currently developing our nonprofit organizational infrastructure, with Luis Diaz heading that effort. We think the most important job after setting up the 501(c)3 will be recruiting a team of resource development/donor relations people. We are focusing on a crowd funding and nonprofit funding effort - as we are going after the whole GVCS package - which is difficult to sell as a whole to investors or angel investors because distributive economics projects such as ours are high-risk from an investor’s perspective.

As of December 22, we have 190 True Fans (of which about 150 are active donors providing $10/month), and we are operating entirely on volunteer contributions. We have committed to our first paid task, development of our website for $800 to an independent contractor, for completion by Jan. 31, 2010.

All of our budget is being allocated to materials, outside of $200/month for overhead. With the funding campaign timed around the TED talk in March 2011, we will probably get funding for about 4-7 parallel tech development projects ($50k goal) - tractor, power cube, pulverizer, steam engine, ironworker machine, CNC torch table, and aluminum extraction from clay. This would allow us to pay for design and prototyping work. If we have cash available, we can consider paying people that are otherwise volunteering, in which case it would be on a contractual basis. The level of funding depends simply on how well we can leverage our nonprofit status (in development) with successful donor relations/resource development.

Product sales are also important, and now it appears that we have 2 tractor sales, to be built starting April. By April, we aim to have 4 tractor/CEB Press/Pulvierizer orders, since it is more efficient to produce 4 machines than 1-2 machines at a time. The tractor and Pulverizer are still in prototype stage, while the CEB Press is in full product release status. We are looking for early adopters for our equipment.

Product costs is about half  in materials, and half in labor. We capture the value of labor. See the bill of materials for the LifeTrac/Power Cube/Pulverizer and CEB press.

We would like to see 1000-3000 True Fans result from our Kickstarter campaign, so that our monthly budget could reach $30k. This would provide us with $720k over 2 years. We would like to see $30k/month in product sales after Year 1, and non-profit sector resource development at $50k/month after Year 1. By the same time, we would like to reach 5000 True Fans, such that the overall $2.4M budget goal is reached within 2 years.

[1]        See Appendix : Energy 101

[2]        Gernot Minke reference – Building with Earth

[3]        See http://www.adobemachine.com/ ; quiote obtained from manufacturer.

[4]        We have demonstrated the feasibility of modular CEB construction – see bitly.

[5]        Using local soils from 2 locations at Factor e Farm, Missouri


[7]        http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/2009/06/power-cube-completed/ 

[8]        http://proto.dangyro.com/ 

[9]        http://www.edwardsironworkers.com/120ton.html

[10]        http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/2010/07/open-source-150-ton-hole-puncher/

[11]        http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/2010/01/reptab-open-source-torch-table-in-make-zine/

[12]        This design looks promising - http://www.piclist.com/techref/io/stepper/hipwrbp-gm.htm

[13]        http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/RepRap_Build?old-url=slash

[14]        http://wiki.makerbot.com/makerscanner ; http://mesh.brown.edu/byo3d/links.html 

[15]        http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/CNC_Circuit_Mill

[16]        http://www.cubespawn.com/index.html – Frame parts - http://www.cubespawn.com/a-designs/600mmFrame.html 

[17]        http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:387

[18]        http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nortd/lasersaur-open-source-laser-cutter-0?

[19]        http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/laserco2.htm#co2toc

[20]        http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/2010/09/steam-engine-electric-generator/

[21]        http://openpario.mime.oregonstate.edu/documents/653 

[22]        http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/2010/09/steam-engine-electric-generator/

[23]        http://openfarmtech.org/w/index.php?title=Cement_Mixer

[24]        See The Second Industrial Divide by M. J. Piore et al.

[25]        Needs footnote.

[26]        The power requirements for an induction furnace are approximately 1kW/lb/hr for melting steel.

[27]        1940's, National Machinery, 2000T

[28]        This involves a router for milling casting sand, as done by a Robotic Arm

[29]        http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/RepRap_Build

[30]        See The Second Industrial Divide by M. J. Piore.

[31]        http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/2010/11/conclusion-of-building-for-2010/