Image credit: Marcin Jakubowski/Open Farm Tech
Jaymi has already raved about 11 open source projects that make free information rock, and we know that open data can vastly improve public transportation. But imagine an open source construction kit—a giant Lego set if you will—that contains everything you need to build a small civilization, at about an eighth of the cost of each individual machine. Some good folks are hard at work making it actually happen. TreeHugger forum user sasham has already issued a call for help for the Open Source Ecology project—but little did we realize quite what an ambitious, and potentially world changing, initiative this is. Setting out with the goal of creating a scalable, affordable and adaptable toolbox of 40 machines and vehicles, the Global Village Construction set is intended to provide everything from farm machinery to construction materials to energy generation. The entire kit will feature interchangable motors and parts.
So far 8 machines have been prototyped, including a compressed earth block press (for construction materials), a drill press, a high-performance tractor, and a hydraulic power unit that will later be powered by a flexible-fuel steam engine. Also prototyped is a rather sci-fi sounding "self-replicating digitally programmable torch table." (Self-replicating for all structural parts...) All budgets, instructions, diagrams and schematics have been published on the group's wiki. Still to be developed are machines ranging from back hoes through microcombines to a solar turbine.
Fascinating, inspiring stuff. And if I was more of an engineering type, it looks like a whole lot of fun to play with too.
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Open Source Ecology: Help Needed
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