CEB Day 11 and Update

Quick update. On CEB, I am hoping to spit out the first brick by this week.

The flexible fabrication front is hot. Deep in the fiery Iceland underground, Smari and his Fab Lab team are working on an open source, computer controlled XYZ table for acetylene torch cutting and routing:

This means that you draw a design on your computer screen, and the XYZ table spits out cutouts of 2 inch steel, wood, or other materials, according to your desgin.

Imagine the CEB press, XYZ table for flexible fabrication, and other hard core equipment – being synthesized one by one by a global team of doers interested in a free and prosperous society. Here comes the Global Village Construction Set. Pure passion.

This blog works. Today I got a comment on my State of Survival post, with a great theory book, hot off the press, on peer-to-peer physical production. This is what our team (and Frithjof Bergmann) calls open source flexible and digital fabrication. Download the open book at .

Today I got into some communication on hydroponic lettuce, based on past postings or report on the subject. It was an interesting spurt, but the company in question is not organic – though pest management is apparently orgnanic – and highly proprietary – up to the computer code that automates a turnkey production facility. We still plan on returning to hydroponic lettuce, with the intent to develop a working, open source business plan viable in medium scale production, say 50,000 heads per year and multiples thereof. Our links to computer control can yield fully automated operations, which may be relevant to us in the future. Here we still call out for any help from practitioners of organic greenhouse crop production – those who have mastered pest issues. Materials and process controls are tractable, but so far we have not mastered pest issues. We can essentially start up, but we have not the experience to keep a system from being wiped out by biological competitors of all sorts.

There are also interesting developments in biodiesel. We ran a successful test batch some time ago, and a local guy wants us to build a 250 gallon system. We are currently negotiating details. If all goes well, we will have the first open source, production-scale facility that I know of. There are 25 gallon versions that are already open source and relatively self-replicable. This is an exciting, though limited, possibility – and we welcome suggestions from those who have built systems that are 100 gallons or greater in size.

Last item is solar panels. We need 1-2kW of solar power to complete our off-grid system. We found that many solar traffic arrow signs get hit every year, and those have free, salvageable panels on them. I started inquiring about in-kind donations, since we are in a position to accept tax-deductible contributions. If you have any sources or suggestions, please let us know.


  1. Smári McCarthy

    A few clarifications:

    It will be a XYZ table. The Z axis just isn’t clear on that sketch. It is primarily being designed by Arnar Mar Sigurðsson, who is something of a wizard. I toss ideas at him from time to time but for the most part I sit slack-jawed with amazement.

    The acetylene cutter isn’t a priority, for now we’re going for drill bit style and plasma will probably be second on the priority list. Acetylene is something I need to research a bit more.

    The Principal Voices video shows mostly people from MIT and the MIT Fab Lab in Norway. MIT is unaffiliated with our local project for the most part although having a router to work with will help out a lot with the Kokompe project, which I was allegedly supposed to lead up but haven’t had much luck with due to lack of time, feedback and input. But the Principal Voices video is a wonderfully clear explanation of the Fab Lab concept anyway.

  2. The routing table » Smári´s blag

    […] post this until we got farther with it, but I told Marcin about it over Skype the other day and he broke the news a bit early. So here’s the low […]