We are currently in the phase of fabrication optimization for the high performance, open source, Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) press. This is our route to financial bootstrapping of the research and development efforts. We are looking for people interested in Dedicated Project Visits on flexible fabrication.
Flexible fabrication is a blend of a generally-equipped workshop with the hands of a multi-skilled fabricator. Flexible fabrication in the digital age implies the assist of digital fabrication. To take full advantage of available modern technology, the skilled digital craftsperson has to gain proficiency in the entire process chain from open source design and collaboration, CAD, build, electronics, programming, and other skills as needed.
From the standpoint of resilient communities and the neosubsistence lifestyle, the technology is not the end-all but merely a step to sustainable living. If one is to produce the material foundation for living, working, energy production, and other necessities of a modern lifestyle – without engaging in various forms of global foul play – then one’s immediate living community should include flexible fabrication skill. Many people may question why we should forego our reliance on centralized systems to engage in radical autonomy – but the answer is clear. Modern technology allows us to do so, so there is no necessity to remain in the paleotechnic age of centralized production – unless we are all psychopaths.
Subscribe to support this vision as we begin to bootstrap on our own.
Our present core strategy involves the contemporaneous efforts of:
- Financial bootstrapping with CEB press production
- Deploying the CEB press, as well as LifeTrac prototype II and supporting equipment, in construction
- Making further developments on the technology base to guarantee effective construction capacity
- Bringing new technologies to product release
If we did exceptionally well this year, we would have comfortable, year round accommodations for 4 people at the least, the induction furnace in operation to make our own metal parts, and haying equipment and agricultural combine open-sourced and ready for action to complete our goal of 100% localized food production. Add the sawmill and pellet-biomass fueled steam engine – and that essentially covers autonomy in food, energy, fuel, housing, and basic fabrication.
Regarding the Dedicated Project Visits (DPVs), we are looking for people who are interested in becoming flexible fabricators. We are looking especially for those people who are interested in building complete resilient communities in the future. In the present phase, we are looking for people with demonstrated fabrication and building skill, and we will train you to produce the CEB presses and ancillary electronics if you want to start an enterprise yourself. You would be expected to spend about ¼ time in training and ¾ time in other development work surrounding the greater context of resilient community creation. All the details are to be negotiated, so email us if you are interested.
What is the latest on the tactical approach to replicating the resilient community? We define a resilient community as that which is capable of autonomy on all physical needs, as a foundation for its members to pursue meaningful and fulfilling pursuits free from the need to hurt others. To do this, we believe that any resilient community replication is started most favorably with 4 people: an open source agroecologist, flexible fabricator, builder, and engineer. The open source agroecologist provides 100% year round food, including fruits and vegetables, grains, sprouts, root crops and nuts, and greens in winter, poultry and dairy, as the simplest manageable package. The agroecologist is supported by an equipment base produced by the digital fabricator, who has access to an induction furnace to make nails, screws, wire, cars and tractors. The construction person uses the equipment infrastructure to manage the building of structures and earthworks, including recycled glassworks for glazing, plus cement and rebar production. The engineer manages the energy production infrastructure, including pelletization for fueling modern steam engines and solar concentrator power for combined-heat-power systems.
The above sounds like it’s rather far out, but in reality, if one digital craftsperson had access to open source design, the entire equipment base could be produced in about 6 months of time. Then, feeding people with assist of mechanized technology – locally – is trivial. The mechanical infrastructure also allows rapid building with CEB and lumber, and there is no reason why cementitious material can not be baked from abundant limestone or why rebar can’t be produced with the furnace if needed. The engineer completes the package with fuel and energy production – with humble modern steam power – to provide the equivalent assist of hundreds of former slaves.
Drop these 4 people onto any parcel of land, even desert, and a mini paradise has a chance of unfolding. This core of 4 can then expand organically into a full community. For example, this Core Four can then manage the development of an entire 40 acre parcel – after successfully marketing to a number of prospective buyers – as an autonomous alternative to cookie-cutter housing developments. Or, the Core Four can build another kind of community – a post-scarcity research and development center like we’re working on now. We’re interested in both, plus many other applications of integrated living/working/neosubsistence lifestyles. The good part is that when the knowhow and equipment is open source, there are factors of 10 price reduction – so one can buy into an autonomous infrastructure for about $25k according to our results so far. We are getting additional data points on the feasibility as we speak, and we’re encouraged. This is the reality today, and that’s why we’re pursuing it so eagerly.
Codex Alimentarius and a host of other one world order snags of non-technological nature make most of the above ‘illegal’. These stand in the way of resilient community replication, but only if you believe in these fictions. The remedy is legal savvy on the part of the village builders – as one of the prerequisites for success.
“the skilled digital craftsperson has to gain proficiency in the entire process chain from open source design and collaboration, CAD, build, electronics, programming, and other skills as needed.”
can you recommend some resources for learning about the above skills? MIT open courseware has some valuable material, but where did you all learn this?
I am not aware of any place that offers this program, so stay tuned for the OSE education package, forthcoming once the basic survival tech is complete. Once the foundations are laid, we move on to education and creation of culture.
A $25K cost for an autonomous infrastructure is nice, but buying a 16 hectare (= approx. 40 acres) plot of land is a lot more expensive, which unfortunately will often put it out of reach of 4 individuals.
It is interesting to point out that while land costs are a significant issue, they are still a fraction of one single person’s cost of living over a lifetime. Thus, the question of feasibility boils down not to capital barriers, but willingness of a person to learn and change their lifestyle.
Are you planning on providing more details on what the 25K gets you? I mean what the specific equipment would be and its relevant specs?
Unfortunately, the amount of arable land in the world is only about 41.000.000 km2 which leaves about 6000 m2 or 1.5 acres for each of the planets 6 billion inhabitants.
If one ignores the fact that the rest of the land is desserts and polar areas we end up with a figure of 4.7 acres per capita.
You are off by one order of magnitude.
Kevin, the $25k package is shown at the LifeTrac wiki page – http://openfarmtech.org/index.php?title=LifeTrac#Cost_Comparisons_to_Industrial_Counterparts
The more important part than the up-front cost – in terms of design of a sustainable society – are the lowered maintenance/depreciation costs.
Erlend, the program is designed for the Core Four as the organizers of a substantial development project, which can be a buy-in for, say, 40 families, on a 40 acre parcel. Think of it as an alternative to any standard, cookie cutter development. It can be shown that the buy-in cost for clients interested in a neosubsistence lifestyle can be on the order of $25k per person.