Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Village in a Box: Open Source Ecology Project Uses 3D Printers to Build The Next Economy

ST Medical Devices

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gvcs-all-50If you were making your own village from scratch what would you need to get the job done? Sure, you’d need good, old-fashioned muscle, but what else would you need?

If you’re stumped, the folks at the Open Source Ecology project say you only need about 50 machines such as a wind turbine, cement mixer and sawmill to get things going. And they should know since they are currently building and creating open source industrial machines and sharing the designs online without cost.

The project, started by physicist Dr. Marcin Jakubowski, is on a mission to create the next economy. This economy will optimize production and distribution and instead of destroying the environment to produce, the new economy stresses environmental regeneration and social justice.

To aid in the development of this new world order, OSE is employing 3D-printing technology to build its set of essential machines, collectively referred to as the Global Village Construction Set. Jakubowski’s Open Source Ecology Project has several 3D printers in its arsenal— two LulzBot TAZ printers and an AO-101. OSE uses the printers for rapid prototyping or quickly creating mechanical components from a computer-based drawing.

Rapid prototyping is an important part of the OSE mission because the big idea behind the project is to build industrial machines at a fraction of current costs.“Rapid prototyping allows you to build at a very low cost because you’re doing it once instead of 10 times,” said Jakubowski.

Rapid prototyping is also a tremendous time-saver for the OSE crew. “The efficiency is that is we can prototype something before we build it in metal, we’re saving ourselves wasted time and parts,” said Jakubowski.

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For example, Jakubowski said it used to take three days to build a backhoe without rapid prototyping, but with a 3D printer, it only takes one day to build one. The project aims to be able to build each GVCS machine in a day. OSE has built about 12 of the 50 machines it plans to create. In 2007, the project created a Compressed Earth Brick Press. By 2013, the organization was able to build and use a host of machines to build an actual house.

Learn more about the Open Source Ecology project and its Global Village Construction Set here. Could 3D printing usher in a new economy, one which puts extra weight on environmental preservation, as well as self sufficiency?  Let us know your opinion on OSE project in the Open Source Ecology forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the video below about Open Source Ecology’s Microhouse 3.0 construction.

[Source: LulzBot]

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