The Spark Update, OSE Car Ready for Review, and Much More

OSE is Teaming up with The Spark Documentary Team and with Our School at Blair Grocery to Produce a Tractor in One Day

Preparations for The Spark tractor build are in full swing. On Sunday, filmmaker Ian Midgley and his film crew arrived, and Monday marked the first day of serious planning with Open Source Ecology regarding of the build of the tractor for Our School at Blair Grocery. Writer Emily Eakin from The New Yorker arrived yesterday to cover OSE’s work, including the one day tractor build, The Spark, and the remarkable collaboration that is emerging. Nat Turner and students from the School at Blair Grocery arrive today, and the exciting one-day tractor build begins tomorrow – Friday, July 12. You can read more about this inspiring convergence of creative projects for social good in our earlier post here.

6-in-60 Campaign Updates

The Car – The OSE Car Design is complete and ready for review. We are extremely excited about this! Yann Lischetti (engineer, entrepreneur, social hacker, and developer of the open-source Vélocar) explains the goals which governed its design: “To meet GVCS specifications, a good car design had to be efficient, simple to build, and modular. Wikispeed SGT01 was a great starting point, I just had to simplify, lighten, and add a hydraulic transmission.” The same PTO motor as is used in the Lifetrac tractor will be used to drive the car, in accordance with OSE’s vision that design should be modular and key parts interchangeable. Yann offers a detailed overview of the car’s design:


We hope that you will contact Yann with your review comments. Yann is requesting these points for review:

  • This is version four of design, and it’s simpler to build than earlier versions .
  • The parametric CAD assembly can adapt to many load and dimensional constraints.
  • The FEA analysis test has been passed.
  • The first step for fabrication documentation has been done.
  • The bill of materials has been completed, with sourcing links.

All design updates for the car are reflected in OSECar rhizome and on the GitHub repository.

The Ironworker – The OSE Ironworker is done!

OSE Ironworker under construction

Assembly of the OSE Ironworker in progress

The Backhoe – Product Lead Gary DeMercurio reports that the backhoe has, perhaps, one day’s work left to do. “It was not finished due to some serious issues with getting the pivot to align. “Great lessons learned, though,” Gary added. The team determined they 3D printed scale models will be a great help to refine the build procedure and achieve a perfect fit for parts. For a peek at the backhoe about to come together, see our short video clip:


The Hydrafabber – The Hydrafabber laser cutter is ready for part sourcing. The laser diode is on the side of the machine, where it couples cutting power via an optical line to optics on the toolhead platform. See Tim’s Log.

The CNC Router – Major progress has been made on the CNC router design: our next step is creating fabrication diagrams. See John’s Log.

The Microtrac – Production of the Microtrac will begin after The Spark tractor is finished.

Documentation at Dozuki – Documentation Manager Rob Kirk is shooting footage for later incorporation into video documentation for the OSE machines. At Dozuki, placeholders for machines and modules are being set up. We look forward to populating the Dozuki page with excellent, detailed documentation for each of the machines of the Global Village Construction Set. Work continues on that project next week. If you do video or any other documentation-related work, check out how you can become involved.

If you’d like to catch a glimpse of all that has been going on in the workshop over the 5 build days of last wee, you can view video clips here:

6-in-60 Becomes 6-in-90

Given the upcoming build of the tractor with Our School at Blair Grocery, in conjunction with a few real-world logistical challenges (like metal delivery problem and plasma cutter issues) in conjunction with our mere-mortal stamina, we’ve decided to upgrade our 6-in-60 Campaign to a 6-in-90 Campaign. Taking a little extra time – with the backhoe, for example – will ensure that each machine represents the highest quality we can achieve for the current iteration of each machine.

These are exciting times at Open Source Ecology as we turn our vision of the Global Village Construction Set –  into a reality, one step, one process, and one machine at a time. We owe this unfolding success to the tireless work of many. Our numbers are at under 20 contributors per week. So invite your friends. We look forward to stabilizing at 50-100 contributors for each Saturday sprint – for every Sprint Master that we have on the team. See our evolving process here and sign up as a technical team contributor. There are many roles to fill – and you can contribute as long as you are able to surf the web and navigate Google docs.

Design Sprint Participation, May 11-July 6, 2013

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