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

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.


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  Check out the video below about Open Source Ecology’s Microhouse 3.0 construction.


[Source: LulzBot]

GE Global Technology Director: 3D printing is laying foundation for next industrial revolution

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“Additive manufacturing (AM), a term I prefer over 3D printing, is the key driver of this change,” says Furstoss, but it is one part of a larger picture.

The Next Must-Have Kitchen Gadget: 3D Printers That Can Create Edible Fruit

You already know that 3D-printing technology is swiftly evolving—it’s been used to print balloon animals, bikinis, and house keys, and there’s even an affordable home version of the printer, as well as one you can 3D print.

Now, I’m happy to say, 3D printers might just end up being your new best friend in an unexpected place—the kitchen.

Dovetailed, a Cambridge-based firm, recently debuted a printer at Tech Food Hack that can create edible fruit with bespoke (custom-made) flavors.

The printer uses the molecular gastronomy technique of spherification (combining a liquid with sodium alginate and dropping it into a calcium chloride bath to produce liquid encapsulated in edible blobs).

In this case, they used fruit juice to make a fruit that looked like a raspberry, but tasted like a strawberry.

Image via 3D Printing Industry

Is this the next great revolution in food? Dovetailed hopes so. They think their printer will be useful to chefs and home cooks alike and allow for combining all kinds of shapes, flavors, and textures.

3D Printing Industry points out that the printer doesn’t have a lot of range or control just yet, if you examine this photo:

Image via 3D Printing Industry

What implications does 3D printing have for the average consumer? Some think it might lead to the “Napsterfication” of physical objects, where people will no longer be limited to buying goods through the usual chain of command.

Inventor/engineer Grace Choi is working on a 3D printer that custom-designs foundation and other make-up.

Personally, if an affordable 3D printer in the kitchen means no longer having to run to the store when I’m out of something or trying to find a substitution, I’m all for it. Though, I can easily see myself running out of ingredients to 3D print my ingredients. Alas, there’s no answer for that one.

What do you think about 3D printers creating food?

What Will They 3D Print Next? Inside My Trip to Local Motors

Last week, I flew my Cirrus to visit Jay Rogers and his team at Local Motors in Phoenix.

Jay showed me their plans to 3D print an entire car in just one day at the Int’l Manufacturing & Technology Show in Chicago this September. The electric drive car will be built out of carbon fiber reinforced thermo plastic (CFRP), which has a strength-to-weight ratio twice that of aluminum.

Jay’s goal is a car with less than 20 parts, and a car that is massively customizable. You want one seat? Or five seats? Electric or gas drive? Instead of having Detroit decide what options you get, you can decide on everything and then hit “Print.” Presto, you’ve got a personalized car.

If that isn’t exciting enough for you, consider that in China last month, a company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering 3D printed 10 full-sized houses in a single day.

They used a quick-drying concrete mixture composed mostly of recycled construction and waste material and pulled it off at a cost of less than $5,000 per house.

Instead of using, say, bricks and mortar, the system extrudes a mix of high-grade cement and glass fiber material and prints it, layer by layer. The printers are 105 feet by 33 feet each and can print almost any digital design that the clients request. The process is environmentally friendly, fast and nearly labor-free.

So what does that mean?

Today the manufacturing business is $10 trillion globally with a massive shipping and storage infrastructure.

I serve on the board of 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD), one of the leading companies in the industry, and I’m shocked every day by the massive innovation we’re seeing in 3D printing.

We’re now able to 3D print in 200 different materials, from titanium to rubber, plastic, glass, ceramic, leathers and even chocolate.

My point here is that change is coming. And 3D printing is going to be following the six D’s I teach at Abundance 360:

  1. Digitized: 3D printing has digitized the entire manufacturing process.
  2. Deceptive: This field is 35 years old and has been in deceptive growth for the past 3 decades.
  3. Disruptive: The field is going from deceptive to disruptive this decade. It is driving billions of dollars.
  4. Demonetized: 3D printing will massively reduce the cost of certain products as the cost of labor is removed.
  5. Dematerialized: The technology will dematerialize storage facilities, transportation services, spare-part depots and much more.
  6. Democratized: Finally, it will democratize access to goods around the world. Even a small village in the middle of Africa with a 3D printer will have access to any good it can download. The world of the Star Trek replicator is not far away.

Mindset Matters: It’s time to change your mindset. These disruptions are happening now. Rather than read about them online or watch them on TV, be proactive. Seek them out. Which products in your life could be 3D printed? Which are already being 3D printed? Where there is change, there are incredible opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Be an explorer. Ask yourself, “I wonder if I could 3D print that,” and sketch it out on a napkin.

These technologies are empowering all of us to be innovators. Join the movement.