Subtitled: Fabrication Optimization.
We are positioning The Liberator as the world’s best, free (libre) CEB press. We are also positioning it as the world’s best CEB press – meaning that the proprietary counterparts will have a serious contender. For this to happen, it is critical that The Liberator gets out to the world as free hardware. It is also critical that its fabrication procedure is optimized and open-sourcedÂ – for a few reasons:
- Post-scarcity resilient communities rely on effective production. This is one tool that gets us there.
- The Liberator is the perfect case for an open source business model (read this analysis published by Steve Bosserman over a year ago when the initial prototype was released). Here is what we propose to those involved deeply in open hardware and open-everything development. We propose to collaborate with a global developer community to compose a pool of open design that we can fabricate locally – today. By sharing design, we can produce and earn locally – to fund all of our projects. Our goal for The Liberator is reducing fabrication time to 20 hours per machine – so that you and I can enjoy healthy earnings from the value of labor at $50-200/hour, while still coming in at 10x or so lower cost than the non-free competition. We bring The Liberator to the table today. What do you have? Email us and let’s work together. This ties in to RepLab – as optimized production requires low cost access to tooling.
- Free (libre) hardware and infrastructure is the only route to post-scarcity. Free implies transformative.
Let’s dive in to optimization. Start with a few videos on the hardware. A brick is spit out forcefully from the machine:
Here I discuss some points after the local fabrication shop professionals stopped over for a chat.
Comments on the hopper, structure and brick size:
More comments on soil grate and shaker:
Comments on punching holes versus drilling – it’s much faster to punch holes in metal than to drill them:
It is desirable to reduce the size of the hopper:
And, it will take time to prove the machine in the field and address all issues, to create a stable product release:
Here is a discussion of further fabrication issues:
We have already replaced the 1.5″ cylinder for the soil loader with a 2.5″ cylinder, as indicated in the brick pressing results table.
Here are the issue to resolve. It’s a long list of details:
- Automatic controller fabrication. While Benjamin helped us on the present electronics – ready off the shelf power electronics can be had for $10 for 3 channels by piggybacking on RepRap work. See http://store.makerbot.com/electronics/electronics-kits/pwm-driver-v1-1-kit.html and http://www.reprap.org/bin/view/Main/PWM_Driver_1_1 We need 4 (for 2 double acting solenoid valves) to 5 (extra one for the shaker motor) channels, depending on the strategy for powering the soil shaker. Proper packaging must be considered for the design. Who can help?
- Overall hydraulics strategy. Here is a simple diagram for the hydraulics from the wiki:
- One must add the soil shaker to that – and get rid of the auger motor (for preventing bridging), which appears to be unnecessary. Explicit needs right now are sourcing for 25 gpm solenoid valves, and strategy for turning the soil shaker on and off. One route to this is a toggle button that turns the shaker on, say for 15 second bursts. This would be activated by the people unloading the bricks from the machine.
- If we are to equip flexible fabrication facilities for capturing the value of labor of production – then I see a metal shear, hole puncher, lathe, and high power drill press as part of the infrastructure. To be built ASAP.
- CAD – right now, we are looking into migrating to HeeksCAD by Dan Heeks- see example video of what it can do for LifeTrac. For anyone interested in collaborating closely on the optimized CEB design, please contact me if you have CAD experience. This is an immediate action point, and we have till end of December to arrive at a much more stable design.
- Design repository – we’re adding Fab Optimization to the CEB page at Open+Pario.
The main point is that fabrication optimization will help us add flexible fabrication capacity to Factor e Farm, and, as stated at the beginning of this article – will help many others to gain access to the CEB machine. There will be many users, and a few developers. Join the development team. Email us at opensourceecology at gmail dot com to get involved.