Looking for Fabricators

If you are a fabricator, we want you at Factor e Farm. We’re in the middle of a production run of tractors, CEB presses, and soil pulverizers.

Spring is here.

In case you missed my TED Talk, here it is again:

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We’re now continuing the adventures above, with digital fabrication as a new twist.

We’ll be completing this computer-controlled, metal-cutting  torch table (pictuire from 2 years ago):

The electronics are officially dead: the Xylotex controller for running the x and y axes of the above computer controlled metal cutting table has 2 bad channels. I’m moving on to Gecko drives.

That is a typical adventure that happens with non-open source hardware: one is powerless in case of failure modes. But back to the subject.

If you are a fabricator, we need your help. We’re looking for fabricators to join us in the format of Dedicated Project Visits. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us – 4 tractors, 4 CEB presses, 8 Power Cubes, and 2 Soil Pulverizers to build. The earning potential is about $30k total for one month – if we can do it.

What is the broader goal that you will be part of? Automation as one of the main additions to this year’s work. Our goal is to demonstrate lean production of real goods with earning potential of $250/hour after digital fabrication assist. We’d like to share a $100k/person/year Open Business Model based on flexible fabrication of important hardware, like tractors or CNC torch tables. This is relevant in Detroit, or in the heart of Africa.

Our core vision is distributive economics – publishing open business models and training others to produce. That means that we get our reward from seeing others succeed. It’s good for the world.

A good format for delivering the results of the last paragraph is if people come here to help with fabrication. So I am inviting you here as a fabricator-in-training. We benefit from your assistance in the production run, and you benefit from the skill that you gain, so you can do things like start your own enterprise. I’d like to see a flexible fabrication facility in every town – to produce its own open source 100+ mpg cars, tractors, steel ingots, and corn muffins.

In case you’re wondering whether we put ourselves out of business sharing open business models? Absolutely! That would be called achieving post-scarcity economics.

Put another way, our vision is too broad for us to be put out of business. We keep developing the protopes, others can start producing the proven, and dedicated project visitors arrive to produce professional quality fabrication drawings and instructional videos.

To really put the OSE rubber on the road, we need a cadre of people who 1) share the OSE values, 2) have a strong work ethic, and 3), possess a high level of technical skill.

Is that you? Contact me at opensourceecology at gmail dot com.

As a fabricator, you’ll be helping me free my time so I could do more project management, which allows me to do radical boundary-crossing to produce innovative implementations of proven technologies – the GVCS. So I can set you up and train you, then you have to work on your own. Our infrastructure is 2 Solar Cubicles, Hexayurt, Cordwood, and Earthbag structures; about 1500 square feet of usable workshop space after the addition – to produce 4 tractors or CEB presses at one time.

You’ll get to use our new 450 amp welders, which go into spray transfer on low:

Then there are torches, open source heavy duty drill, open source 150 ton hole puncher, possibly an oxyhydrogen torch, and other tools.

You’ll get to work on the trim of our tractors:

and many other duties, like using our CNC torch table.

Torch Table Motion from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo.

If you are unskilled in fabrication – you can join us if you learn to weld and torch before you come here. Note that I knew no welding before I laid my first bead. For me, it was my desire to and purpose that allowed me to learn rapidly. It took me about an hour of practice before I actually started to put together The Liberator Prototype I. When you arrive, I will test you whether you can make the welder purr like a cat and lay a mean bead. If you are a professional, I will consider paying you. You will have to keep in mind, though, that we are more interested in collaborators who are interested in developing the GVCS rather than having a ‘job.’ So email me at opensourceecology at gmail dot com if you are serious about coming to Factor e Farm.


  1. Blackjax

    I know there are several types of welding, is there any particular type of welding you want people to know?

    1. Marcin

      If they are familiar with ANY type of welding, that demonstrates a basic skill set that is adaptable to any welding. We do primarily MIG welding.

  2. dora

    i would like to be trained as a fabricator if that is at all possible.
    fast learning and hand skills are my strong points!
    any time is okay to call

  3. Poli

    Wait a second, you don’t get paid?

    Hm. You have to admit this isn’t contributing to firefox for a couple hours a week, it’s a commitment to full time work for 3 months.

    Educational or not, if people are producing substantially they should be getting paid some fraction of the proceeds.

    I know money can be a divisive issue on open source projects, but it seems deeply wrong to asking for 3 months with no compensation, just sounds like the contributors are being asked to give too much. To be something too close to fanatics. I don’t think societal change that leads us down that road is what we need. Unless *maybe* you are guaranteeing all the profit goes back to parts and equipment only for the GVCS.

    TED had a conference a while back themed enlightened self interest. Ultimately we are, as all biological organisms are, selfish agents. The problems with normal business practices don’t arise from self interest, it’s from short sighted self interest. If some fraction of people show up just because they want to enjoy the fresh air and walk away with a thousand bucks or two, does that lessen the contribution they make? Do they have to believe so strongly in the philosophy stuff?

    I hope you’ll consider compensating people as a matter of course if they are truly productive.

  4. David Arens

    Please Contact me

    I work for an automation company

    I would love to come out on Vacation and help out.

    I have an ME background 16 years electronics experience

    I program Food and Pacakging Automation for a living.



  6. Marcin

    Poli: I don’t think that there is no compensation, and I think the 4 people who have already volunteered and who will be arriving as fabricators-in-training see the point: that they can either learn to build the machines for themselves, or start their own enterprise. We are collaborating on an open business model that aims to demonstrate high value creation potential-from producing a diversified product line of high-demand items – based on open source plans. That to me is the true spirit of the next economy. We require responsibility in our collaborators: responsibility to acquire the fishing rod so they could fish for themselves. I’m not against getting paid, and I personally look forward to developing and sharing the ability to generate $250/hour via automation. Our agenda is simple: post-scarcity production. That way, we can stop our preoccupation with money and move on to better things.

  7. Marcin

    David: Awesome. We are seriously condiering getting our hands on 2 Fanun industrial robots. Can you help to opensource the controls, and subsequently, opensource the mechanical design? I’m emailing you directly now.

  8. Marcin

    Thanks to all of you – so far we have 3 fabricators coming next month, some for a week only. We are open to more people, so contact me to join us.

  9. Colin Morris

    Greetings from NH,
    I have spent this snowy day in NH reading about your farm, I wish I lived nearby as I would donate fabrication skills every weekend to your projects. I am an electro-mechanical craftsman with a lifetime of welding and fabrication skills to offer.
    I am hugely interested in the DIY world, I am a mechanical engineer without the degree and my number one interest is in small scale wood gasification technology, my interests center around using it for heat however I know there is much more potential for this technology.

    I have designed and built lots of fun stuff that you and your friends are creating. 🙂

    I am building for myself a small outdoor boiler that will use gasification with superheated primary and secondary and perhaps even teritary air combined with various refractory types that I have collected for free to try and achieve the highest possible temp before going into a homemade “scotch marine” type air to water heat exchanger and then store the heat in another type of low cost diy hot water storage that I have read about that some folks have been experimenting with for a few years now. It is a plywood box lined with epdm roofing rubber and reinforced on the outside (kind of like a exoskeleton) with structural steel and then superinsulated on the outside to minimise heat loss. I will also like to make a combustion controller based on the Arduino which would be fun.


    Colin Morris

  10. Jim Hand


    Thanks for taking on this massive undertaking. If you need help procuring steel or related goods for this project, please email me and we can talk. I’m just across the state.

    Jim Hand

    1. Marcin

      Yes, steel prices are going up, so the induction furnace will be a necessity soon – to generate our own steel from scrap. Can you help with steel in the meantime, if you’re on the other end of the state? We’re in the Kansas City area.

  11. antimonio

    Are you guys not doing anymore the PhD thing?

    I’m interested in that because I’m a foreigner and I guess the easiest way to get a visa. I mean, just in case I want to stay more than 3 months.

    I don’t have any fabrication experience but I think the amount of passion about your project would compensate and make me learn fast (I’m in fact an engineer; although in the software field).

    1. Marcin

      Masters and Ph.D. programs on the GVCS are still available through our collaborator, Gaia University. See the post from last year.

  12. Tom Klein

    I am a team-oriented person, who can take an idea, generate drawings and bills of materials, get price quotes, machine parts, then assemble and test the product.
    18 years experience in pharmaceutical, chemical, bio-tech, turn key pilot plants, cryostat’s and vacuum systems.
    Handled the out-sourcing of material, fabricators, and vendors.
    Hands-on manufacturing with a machine shop background
    (If I can draw it, I can make it).

    1. Marcin

      Let’s talk about which of the 50 tools you’d be interested in tackling.

  13. […] integration work. I can handle managing about 12 projects at a time of the 50 total. We are also looking for more fabricators to join us at Factor e Farm – to help in the production run, and liberate my time for more of […]

  14. CanDMan

    I absolutely love what you guys are doing out there! It’s a shame I’m not a welder as I’d love to come out and lend a hand. I will certainly make it my goal to learn and get a team together that can build some of these machines and even eventually create one of our own design.