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Why is OSE so quiet lately
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  • @Mike:
    But generally spoken, its a problem with the power cube concept. Small gas engines usually don't have the lifespan of much larger diesel engines.
    Then why GVCS doesn't include a diesel engine?

  • @gonzo

    I don't know.

    I haven't been involved in planning the GVCS50, so how couldI answer Your  question? :-o


  • Sorry I posted text by error, remove this post if possible
  • You know I really love the idea behind the GVCS as I bet some many of you do too. The idea is amazing and refreshing and if I had to guess, that's why we are all here even talking about it. Most of us on the list have worked together at one time or another on the project and have made some really great friends. That's another positive of the GVCS, its brought so many great people together. Marcin is just has human and quirky as the rest of us. He has his ideas and he aims to follow them. I give him a ton of credit for doing it his way and to remain innovative no matter what. Its caused a lot of issues, he hasn't always made the right decisions and there have been failures a plenty. That's the nature of this sort of thing. I know there's been drama at FeF. I don't know all the facts, but since I've lived out there and been a part of it, I don't really need to hear them to understand.

    I've done my own "GVCS"  work down in Texas and had a variety of people come there to help me. I'm most grateful for that and the experiences it has taught me. It's also helped me to understand Marcin's side of things a bit more too. I'm not defending here, just stating I have more understanding of how things can work out for both sides of a situation. Some times your helpers can cause you a lot of grief and if you're not really good with people, its going to get ugly. I personally don't think Marcin has the best people skills and thus why things happen the way they do. I still like him though, he's always been a good guy to me.

    A point should be made about right here... GVCS, OSE, OpenSource, whatever we want to call it, is OPEN for you to do whatever you want with it. Don't like how Marcin is doing something? No worries, go do it yourself how you want to see it done. I'll wave my own flag here. With the help of Ben Horton, we built and sold a CEB the way we felt it should be done. Same concept as the Liberator, but looks a bit different. Looks really good if you ask me and it works quite well thus far. Zach up in Indiana bought it and is working on new automation controls, because, once again, we didn't like the current controls. Bam new version and it's done outside of OSE. Btw on the CEB note, the Liberator makes decent blocks. The one I originally built makes really nice blocks too. I've learned the block all depends on what you put into the machine. The huge block run we did at FeF was using really shitty materials and thus the blocks came out funky. Also learned some additional gussets needed to be added as well as a few other changes. However, there are 3 structures there built with CEB's and far as I know, are still standing. I know construction was hell for the builders, but it worked. I still feel the like the CEB machine needs some changes. I feel we need to go to horizontal compression and add in the ability to change block forms. Huge call for that. 

    Speaking of changes. The powercube. I think the gas cube has its uses. When used for the CEB machine, its fabulous. When used on the LifeTrac, I think it's almost worthless. Diesel is the way to go. For what Marcin does, power cubes are a good thing. They're modular, cheap and stackable. Great for the tinkerer. For a production product, I feel you cause the customer more grief than good. Thus the end result may not be so modular and rock solid solutions need to be put into place. Will Marcin listen to such ideas? anyone? Yes, sometimes he will. You just have to be able to prove it to him. And if he doesn't? Then raise up some funds and do it your way. I can tell you if I ever fund a LifeTrac, its going to be quite different than the current version. Will I listen to you when I do that? Anyone? Yes, maybe, if you can give me reasonable proof I should do something  a certain way. ;)

    I like all of you people. We're all pioneers of sorts and we owe Marcin at least that much for bringing us together. I know some of us have started their own things, and that's GREAT! I want to come help you when I can, and I also want you to come see what I'm doing and be a part of that as well. I want to see this opensource thing take over the world and bring the power back to the people. I want to congratulate all of you for making it happen. I'd also like to see everyone get along despite their differences so we don't become too divided. And with that... I'm going to enjoy some coffee and think about all of you for a bit.


  • James that makes sense to me. 

    Dunno, it is winter. Not sure you can call OSE quiet compared to how it perhaps always tends to be during the winter months, here in Missouri.

    The amount of information I have heard so far is severely lacking in details. So Marcin is some anti-social guy due to having an education in physics or something? What are we talking about? Apparently nobody knows or is forthcoming with what happened.

    Everybody who was on site left.. . ok . . . So why are there no details into this? Did they leave because it became winter? Did they leave because the standard of living on site is lower than what they are used to? "everybody left due to conflicts with Marcin".. again, what are we talking about here? How did the developers not realize they weren't going to be given a paycheck? 

    "There were developers who left because there is no profit sharing for development work and labour when stuff got sold.  ie, you put a lot of time and effort improving the GVCS, and the piece gets sold, you get zilch of the net after material expenses. All went to OSE/Marcin."

    Well the idea that the money is going into the pocket of Marcin personally, sounds unlikely. However, I do not know how it all works, how he supports himself and all his needs with no money. The money must come from somewhere, so I guess he may be using exclusively, some of the money for personal use. I dunno, how exclusive that is. How do things work, where does the money come from to feed all the on site people, including Marcin? 

    "It is worth noting that OSE is hierarchically structured and that direct democracy is completely absent from its values. Folks should push for a democratized OSE/FeF giving participants democratic control over the group."

    I find that fascism is also unlikely. Open Source is there for anyone with the technical expertise to contribute to. Meritocracy plays a huge role in the social structure of open source projects, from what I hear. The more u are dedicated, the more "control" u basically get. I dunno how OSE really works, doesn't seem like Marcin requires all new ideas to be something he thought of first. OSE borrows tons of stuff from others. I could be wrong, but all this talk about what apparently amounts to fascism seems unlikely. 

    Confirmation of these things would be helpful. 
  • Hi eMosso,

    You raise some good questions. However, it appears you do not understand the meaning of democracy, or for that matter of fascism.

    Democracy is a means of equalizing power among people. It is not a process of accruing control based on merit. A democratic structure must enable its participants to contribute items to the meeting agenda and to make decisions collectively through a 1-person 1-vote method.

    Open Source Ecology is not democratic nor does it explicitly value democracy. It is a dictatorship, literally. (That does not amount to claiming fascism by the way.)

  • Ok, I see what you are talking about a little better. I wouldn't say that I don't understand the meaning of such common terms. Fascism is very much non-democratic. And yes it sounded me entirely like a benevolent dictatorship, a valid form of open source project structure. I used the term fascism to denote a corrupt and highly stratified power hierarchy absent of democracy. 

    However, you are saying that democracy is for some reason required, and entirely absent based on a wiki entry that has not been developed. My problem is that the total lack of explanation which gives rise to suggesting democracy as a solution. Said another way, we don't really know the problem, and yet we are suggesting solutions. 

    The main evidence I have seen, is that the wiki is underdeveloped. I don't know if technical things are to be decided by voting, but by people presenting evidence. Of course, voting could go along with presentation of evidence.. However, it's impossible to say that's better than what they have now, because we don't know what there is now. 

    Some info about benevolent dictator in the context of open source environments. 

    "Linus is the benevolent dictator of the Linux project. He didn’t coin the expression himself; it comes from Eric Raymond’s essay ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’, in which the author studies the various organizational forms of Open Source projects. Although the dictatorship model is not the only way Open Source projects are run, it is by far the most common and the least formal. Guido van Rossum, the creator of the programming language Python, is known publicly in Python circles as BDFL – Benevolent Dictator for Life. Apparently Python programmers have no intention of ever letting poor Guido enjoy a well-earned retirement.

    ..."  Source

  • Thanks Beluga for the links. I would really like to hear Marcin's point of view.

    For example, not spliting the profits among the people might be because he wants people to come there only for research.
    If I had limited capital, I would promote replication of the machines for personal gains outside of FEF.
    In open source software, companies help in the creation of open source software and they gain money by installing and customizing that software to customers.
    Without other open source companies that would fund it, OSE is probably trying to fuel research by selling machines itself.
    Volunteers that wont create an open source company or might not use the hardware themselves have good reason not to like that and since most volunteers have
    been students, it is understandable why there is tension.

    As for authoritarianism, I dont have a problem as long as the rules are clear beforehand and people have a choice.
    The question about OSE is whether authoritarianism is needed or not.
    Which parts of the OSE culture, methods should be unquestionable and why?
    In other words, even if those methods are correct, do we require dictatorship/oligarchy to hold on to them?
    But I understand projects that try to protect their ideas from popular beliefs though authoritarian means. 
    (as long as people have a choice. When you live in an authoritarian country, you have no choices at all)

    In conclusion, working for a difficult project for many years can be very stressful that might lead you into trying to rush things 
    and or try to forget some of the flaws of your project etc. This is quite understandable in my opinion.
  • OSE is not about Marcin or FeF. This idea can be copied and adopted by anyone who wants to do that worldwide, as is already done in many cases. Marcin and FeF were the inventors and promoters of the idea, and besides that one of many who implemented this idea in their particular environment and social dynamics. Those who do not like those particularities, can go to a different place they like better or start their own initiative.

    The idea is great. The idea will remain. Wether this idea will change the world depends on each individual - it can be you who builds the next brick press or improves the bread oven, you don't need Marcin or FeF for that. If you need to collaborate with others for your application of OSE ideas or a GVCS part, it is your decision how you organize this collaboration and how you fund it. You want democracy? Just do it! You like the idea of the benevolent dictator? Just find others who like to contribute in such an environment. You hate what Marcin did? Do it yourself and try to do it better.

    FeF and Marcin are not service providers and you should not be idea consumers. Be active and move, do something, create and build, find friends and collaborators. That is the only thing what can change the world. You don't need Marcin or FeF for that.
  • Hey, its sad to hear that things aren't going well at FeF, but I've been hearing collective grumblings for quite some time so its not that surprising.  I purchased the Liberator CEB Press from James Slade who commented above and a Power Cube to run it from Tom Griffing which both seem to be working well.  I have yet to do a production run, but am planning on building a 2 story house this summer with them.  The house designs are all open source with more details on the way.

    I was getting a little disappointed to hear about these recurring problems since I'm already pretty well invested.  I'm still excited though to push these technologies forward, with or alongside FeF and Marcin.  I'll be posting here with more details about improvements and side projects - I've got some basic documentation ideas and some design improvements I've been thinking about for a while.

    Also, feel free to contact me if you are interested in visiting Dandelion Village in Bloomington, Indiana where I am building my family's house with a OSE CEB Press and Power Cube.  I'm hoping for a May or June CEB production run and house build help, work trades, workshops, etc are all possibilities and I'm open to other arrangements too (related or not to CEBs and house building).  There is going to be another house that a friend and village member will be building right next door, (10 feet away) on the same land and with different but natural methods.

  • Rabert wrote:

    FeF and Marcin are not service providers and you should not be idea consumers. Be active and move, do something, create and build, find friends and collaborators. That is the only thing what can change the world. You don't need Marcin or FeF for that.

    Hy Rabert,

    in general You are right in calling for more individual activities by people with interest in OSE. But I disagree strongly with the statement that FeF and Marcin are no service providers.

    There are hundreds or even maybe more than thousand true fans with monthy contributions to OSE. And there are institutions and foundations with several large donations to OSE. So of course OSE owes to provide some service, some performance in exchange.

    Me personally have never studied OSE financial affairs in detail, but its obvious that during the last years a very significant amout of cash has been given to OSEs and Marcins hands. So it should be OSEs duty to deliver real efforts and results.

    IMO results are poor compared to the available budget, though I'm willing too recognize that it's a difficult task to develop something like a GVCS50. Nevertheless the level of craftmanship and engineering isn't satisfying yet.

    OSE and FeF have shown efforts to do their task. But a lot of poor management, misorganization and personal conflicts have wasted personnal and financial resources, so it can be said that OSE could have done better during the last years. Marcin has visions and has done a good PR job in the past, but wasting a lot of resources is no merit for a leader. Even worse, if informations about wasteful management get to the eyes and ears of those who decide which organization gets donations, the future flow of money might be shrinking drastically.

    I'm pretty sure the current organization and management model of OSE isn't fit at all for the future.


  • There's so little evidence that hasn't yet been contradicted, concerning this supposed not so benevolent dictator situation going on in OSE. 

    This may sound cynical but the links Beluga posted, are people saying stuff with no concrete information with regards to anyone doing anything wrong. Majorly one sided discourse as well. 

    Just a summary of major concerns with your links, Beluga. 

    Links to nowhere that were supposed to illustrate Stefan's and Michael's various points.

    Who is  Molly? Who is Inga? Who is Ben? Who is Jeremy? What are the backgrounds of all these various people? 
    Stefan argues with Michael Bauwens until the thread ends, like an inflexible person. Basically impossible to understand these forum threads and blog entries, due to lack of information. Arcosanti is not an open source project, so they aren't comparing like things either. Clare Graves doesn't seem relevant to the logic of the overall post. 

    What analysis is there concerning the video about CEB wall review, which apparently dispels certain notions? 
    Perhaps the banning shouldn't be permanent, if at all, but what do Howard and David currently think about the CEB wall video? The guy claims it was a different part of the wall, which it may be, but I currently don't see much evidence for this. If I were Marcin, I would try to reconcile issues with Agnew, or at least document in detail why it's not possible- b/c "damage to OSE" seems higher, given this thread, than not doing so. Simply being critical of something is not grounds for banning, I think. 

    Not saying I've made up my mind about this already, but I am entirely confused, and really need more information about this to draw any conclusions. Trying to stay away from arguments based on speculations, since I have never been there, nor for any extended time and definitely cannot simply "see what you guys are talking about". 

  • @Bastelmike

    You are correct, when Marcin collects money from people with promising to do things and to achieve goals, he should stay to his word and establish a system which does allow for that. In this sense, it seems that he has failed, since it looks like that he has not delivered what he has promised. I recall a post on his blog a few years ago that he regards establishing a management system to support the proceedings of the project and to allow for its growth as the biggest challenge. Now it seems, that this is breaking his neck.

    But this is not really my point. FeF and Marcin are one thing, the idea of OSE is another. We have to thank Marcin till the end of times that he has brought this idea of OSE into the open, and everyone can jump on it and make it happen. That Marcin in person and his outfit FeF has problems, is unfortunate, but such things happen. Other people will - hopefully - have more luck in applying the OSE idea to industrial production. We are undergoing an iterative and sometimes painfull process of establishing something quite new, with all its failures, learn curves and tragic events. That's life. Rinse and repeat, make it better the next time, and learn from the failures of others.

    When OSE dies, it is not Marcin's fault, but ours.
  • @eMosso: even more evidence, written by Vann Miller:
    From Agile vs. Waterfall:

    This page is dedicated to constructive banter on the advantages and disadvantages of Agile Development compared to Waterfall Development
    techniques. It seems like people push too hard one way or the other
    usually, and suffer from over structure and under structure. -- Marcin

    \- Marcin isn't doing (or evidently understands) either, hence
    this ignorant critique about structure, which doesn't actually mean
    anything. "Structure"? Be specific.

    What he's really doing is something more along the lines of
    haphazard micromanagement: i.e., whatever comes to mind now is the
    current fire to put it out, and don't trust your teams to make design
    decisions, but only to do rote work. It seems he thrives off of a
    constant state of crisis and working (just a little) on too many
    projects at once. This results in high turnover and burns people out,
    slow progress, poor designs, and chaos. Both the wiki and the physical
    FeF site represent this state of chaos and disorganization.

    The reason Marcin objects to Agile is because, if he is just a
    stakeholder on a project, he would have no say in how something is
    accomplished. He could only set high level user stories (the what). If
    he sees how determining success criteria will guarantee that his values
    are represented in the project, he doesn't trust the team to do it. And
    if he were a team member on the project rather than a stakeholder, he'd
    have no authority over other team members, and would have to convince
    team members to adopt a design on its own merit. And we can see from
    the results here that designs have not been adopted on their merit (more

    The reason Marcin objects to Waterfall is because he intuitively
    sees that something is learned in the development process, and he wants
    to be able to change designs as they occur to him. He doesn't want to
    spend weeks writing a spec, then weeks more writing a design document,
    and then sticking to it for months or years as these steps are followed,
    which is what waterfall would dictate.

    While work does eventually get done, this haphazard method
    doesn't bring about good results. While Wikispeed, which uses Agile
    methods (which he ironically calls the "hero" method, which is closer to
    what he uses), designed a production ready car in 6 months, Marcin, who
    uses no professional method, is on the 4th or 5th iteration of the
    LifeTrac which is unable to perform the basic functions of a tractor,
    and certainly does not exceed industry standards. He designed a Hablab
    that few want to live in, and with R50 hay bail walls, yet so fails in
    its passive cooling design that he's now resorting to attaching a window
    a/c unit so we'll have at least one cool room (and thereby defeating
    the entire purpose of a passive design). The point with these examples
    is to illustrate that the current method of crisis management does not
    work well. Had either Waterfall or Agile been followed on these (and
    other) projects, experts would have been hired or consulted, and either
    results measured against specs (Waterfall) or against success criteria
    at each iteration (Agile), and we'd be in a better state than we are
    today. Instead, things are just done haphazardly.

    In short, this discussion isn't about Agile vs waterfall, but a
    mask for the real issue: Marcin loosening up control, and learning to
    trust his teams to use any professional management method.

  • Interesting, Beluga.
    I get confused when they talk like they know this is what Marcin thinks about it. I have no idea how they get this information, if it's accurate, or what. I'm also wondering if we expect too much out of a largely, perhaps amateur level project. Would anyone agree that it is amateur level? I don't know, personally. Concerning experience gap, what would anyone say the gap between the contributors to WikiSpeed and OSE is? Did Marcin  get much experience in these things before OSE? He seems quite young. 

    I think that focusing entirely on negatives can automatically stop people from doing anything from whatever. One could focus on entirely the negative of any and every project, and so would be dissuaded from doing any it. However, the reality is that there are likely positives as well. But then again, people have to weigh the positives and negatives among the choices that are available to them.

    I thought he was working with people, not people merely working for him to develop these things. Yet if it's all his stuff, then I dunno about all this. People are upset with the work done so far. I have yet to see positive reviews.

    Also WikiSpeed is only about making a car, so that may be an advantage. OSE GCVS would need, by far, and I am just guessing here, 50 times as many experts/scientists/professionals, or whatever figure is proportional however many different machines there are, in order to get the same productivity quantity and quality wise. Just a total guess though. So how can FeF even work out? 

  • Van Millers analysis,if true, makes sense to me.
    This is a critique that could help OSE go forward.

    But I dont undestand this: What is so crucial that requires that amount of control?
    However smart you are, when the complexity rises, one mind simply cant hold everything and in every detail.
  • Comment has been hidden until an Official announcement can be made by OSE.

  • My reaction is equal parts 'hear, hear' and 'wonder how long you'll last'. Will be interesting to see how your leadership style jives / doesn't jive with Marcin. Sounds like you have some chops for a challenge like this :)

    I suggest you deliberately ping several of the folks who went through the FeF meat grinder, get on the horn and have some frank conversations. At the very least, Yoonseo, Gabi, Matt Schwabauer, David Ihnen and Brianna Kufa. All very talented folk who were committed to the vision, but can't work with OSE.

    I believe your biggest challenge will be facilitating Marcin's plan and keeping him on track. He has zero formal leadership or management training. Can barely manage himself, gets spread too thin, doesn't delegate properly, throws hissy fits(see Marcin Log, June-August 2012). It's not so much a stable, scalable professional organization as it is Marcin's full-time hobby. Best of luck towards improving this!!
  • Jeremy came all the way out to my corner of the world a couple months ago. His description of things happening at FeF that have not been published here were horrifying.

    Combine that with Briana's account that jibes with what Jeremy told me.

    Me and Dawg have our own off shoot development thing going on at open source resilient living. We have released a couple machines over there already.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    April 2013
    > And several where there is no progress at all, like steam engine,

    I can speak to that, being the nominal leader of the Steam Engine project.  Working closely with Marcin, I developed a steam engine design.  I then put the design out for public comment by industry experts.  There were several criticisms (all valid) that suggested improvements.  My recommendation to Marcin was that we experiment with just these elements (steam input valve, exhaust valve, oiling) and see what we could come up with.  Marcin's response was that OSE is not a research organization.  So the design was abandoned.  Marcin has plans for an engine that he wants to build.  These are not open source plans, however, and cannot be used as the basis of a open source steam engine.

    As such, the project is basically on hold.  However, there are deeper concerns that prevent me from pushing the design further.  The biggest one is safety.  High pressure steam is very dangerous.  How it is generate and delivered to an engine matters.  Furthermore, this is highly regulated by US (and other countries) law.  Even if I built an operating steam engine, I probably couldn't build a boiler to power it without extensive regulatory testing.  The FeF track record for safety is rather poor.  Until these are addressed, it's probably just as well that OSE is not making progress on the steam engine.

  • Hi Mark, this citation from my post was no critics against You. It was just an example of OSE projects that have been started severl times, and abandoned several times. Like other GVCS projects. A lot of time has beeninvested in the steam project, and the outcome are just some sketches. And I don't expect much more results from the steam engine project in the near future.

    I know very well of Your concerns about the safety of high pressure steam, and Your concerns are reasonable. But are You sure You don't overestimate the risks of a steam engine itself? I'm talking only about the engine, not about the boiler or steam generator !
    Steam power has taken a death toll during the last 2 centuries. But a closer look at these accidents will probably show that most serious accidents were caused by boiler failures, not by engine failures.The great volumes of boilers are responsible for disastrous results if they burst. The engines itself are low-risk parts compared to boilers, their failure only occasionally has caused fatal consequences. Important parts of steam engines are designed to withstand high dynamic forces during operation, and usually can withstand the forces of steam pressure easily. Maybe some moving parts in a steam engine can break but consequences, risks are limited to a very small area. Boilers/steam generators with their large volumes are responsible for fatal accidents; not steam engines itself.

    And boilers are targeted by regulations, not steam engines usually worldwide.


  • heyo, thought id jump in on the steam segment of this extended wandering discussion lol. i did some amateur design work based on some of the feedback mark got from his design. then i did some amateur build work in that direction. was hoping to just get something turning with compressed air. my build work wasnt good enough to get there so im sorta replanning my method for fabrication. i have been paused on and off basically a year doin other stuff. if nothing else develops ill continue with time and will power permitting.

  • Why not try to look at the situation of an environmental and technological organization (that would be OSE) as follows.

    One of the first things that catches the eye when reading the OSE site on the internet, is the strong technical work that make its members.
    Well, if what you want to keep the excitement, you shouldn´t  forget that OSE´s fame and acceptance is because it promises to develop solutions for ecology.
    So there was no point in inventing many prototipes, which then were forgotten. Ecology called itself to meet their needs, so what are the solutions that OSE are creating for ecology?, or are those just creations to suit the personal taste of those engaged in them?
    There are other people in the world who are also solving ecological problems using technology. For example Mr. Bunker Roy -

    Has OSE ever wondered how should be its relationship with this man and all the other organizations and individuals who also do an admirable job for ecology in the world?
    If so, then it should take to find the answer to how to regain enthusiasm, when lost. Simply, the enthusiasm is lost when you opt for solitude, forgetting the higher purpose that made an initial draft to be accepted: its values​​, its ethics, its willingness to provide solutions to the ecology.

    We can all fall into the trap of isolation, because we are human beings and as such have flaws. But once recognized the defect, it is necessary to get going again and correct the error. I think it's necessary to determine the bonds of OSE with other partner organizations, and mantain relationships with them.
  • My reason for not working directly any more with OSE is that I found the project did not have a sound basis for the GVCS (why those 50 machines?  Why those sizes?  Which ones need to be built first?).  So I have set about doing the necessary engineering (which isn't finished) and documenting it here:  Once that proper engineering foundation gets far enough along, *then* I would attempt to build prototypes.  So far it looks like a much smaller core "starter set" of machines is the way to go.  Those machines in turn are used to build the other machines and build out the production capacity.
  • Hi Daniel,

    a very interesting project. It made for an interesting read!

    The concept insn't bad, though I think the starter set is a bit too small.

    Some comments on several points, that came to my mind while reading.

    1. Sawing?
    I think You need a machine like a saw. Something that cuts longitudinal structures like steel bars and wood boards to length. Its often the only operation on raw material needed to make it to a part ready for assembly.

    2. Process plant
    At current I still think You will need pretty different plant setups for different kinds of materials. I would consider metals, plastics, wood and minerals as different materials with different needs in production. Okay, wood production is biological, we just need to cut it. But plastics, minerals and metals require very different processes.
    Maybe its possible to define a very complex set of components which fulfills all needs, but prob defining different sets for completely different materials would be easier and more economic

    3. Bridge Mill
    A double column mill, its a good versatile concept. But, its nonsense to do things like torch and laser cutting on the same machine as machining, milling, boring. The rigidity and precision needed for a mill is much higher than for a torch cutter.
    And torch, plasma or laser cutting would destroy the high precision table of a milling machine. Forget this combination.

    4. Grinding machinery
    The absence of grinding machines won't work. Cylindrical grinders are essential for bearings and many other parts, as are bedway grinding machines for precision machines like lathes and mills.

    5. Assembly

    Your concept isn't convincing for Assembly. It's still a job mostly performed by humans. And Your concept overestimates the importance of machinery and roboters in the near future. Assembling is a difficult and very diversified task and roboters's capabilities aren't yet up to this task. Consider assembly an important and difficult task and give humans their place in this job. They are still urgently needed !


  • @Bastelmike:

    (1) I agree that a sawmill is very useful.  It is not as flexible as the other devices I included in the draft starter set, so I consider it a second-generation machine which your starter set makes parts for.  A cutoff saw is also very useful, and I consider that part of the conventional workshop that in addition to the set of ~8 major starter machines.

    (2) I cannot dispute this point until further design work is finished.

    (3) The intent for the 4-head bridge mill is to be versatile for a first device in a starter kit.  Later machines can be dedicated/specialized.  Plasma torches typically have a water bed under the item being cut.  I envision this being carried on a pallet that can be swapped for a machining table or other suitable base that depends on the task at hand.  Maybe such a wide variety of functions will turn out impractical in one machine, but I wanted to at least investigate a combination machine.

    (4) A basic grinder would again be part of the conventional workshop.  A machine shop universal grinder I would attempt to replicate the function with an attachment to the lathe at first, and build a dedicated machine as a second generation device.

    (5) Please take a look at the phases diagram on the last page of the book.  I don't expect to automate everything in Phase 1A.  At that point most assembly jobs will be manual, but you have things like a CNC lathe that can make parts from computer files.  So what I expect is to have an assembly area where humans will do manual assembly, then gradually introduce robots for painting or welding tasks, and fetching parts from inventory.  Over time you upgrade the robots to do more tasks.
  • Hey all, Vann here. I'm the fellow who wrote the comments above on Agile development. I spent two months last summer at FeF, and roughly two weeks the summer before that. I'm a 40 year old software engineer trained at Berkeley.

    I like Marcin personally, and share much of his vision, but after last summer I no longer financially support his efforts.

    Others generally find working with him exhausting, frustrating and eventually disassociate from him. Burn out rate is high. His development methods borrow terms like Agile and Extreme, but they're not well thought out. They free Marcin to do whatever he likes, so focuses and priorities shift out from under teams constantly. The method really seems to amount to putting out fires.

    While he consults experts, he controls every design. I see it as a bad case of Founder's Syndrome: he wants to be in control of both the "how" something is developed (like a Waterfall-style project lead), as well as the "what" (like an Agile-style stakeholder) to specifiy the qualities and features a product has.  

    Wearing these two hats puts him as a bottleneck in the project; he's in the middle of every design decision for every machine. Also, as we know, despite all the rushed sprints, the results for quality, reliable designs have been slow in coming. While progress does happen, it's all very chaotic.

    I think he needs to let go of control. As a main stakeholder, he could prioritize qualities and features a product should have, and also be a technical consultant, but he should let experts determine how the majority of these projects meet these goals. This way OSE can scale. He should also use an established Agile management technique, not just make up his own, which are really just cover for him to do whatever he likes.

    In the meantime, I encourage you to look for other projects to support. Yoonseo and Aaron have a project to build an open source factory, for example:

  • Looks like the meat-grinder is back up and running... poor people.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    August 2013
    >  several [projects] where there is no progress at all, like steam engine,

    Well, there is a reason for that, as I've documented elsewhere.  After the first design I put together for OSE was abandoned, I shifted my research to my own web site.  Free free to surf over to and have a look.  After several years of research, I believe that a steam engine as a power source is impractical for the following reasons:
    1. It needs a dependable source of high quality steam, which is not easy to produce.
    2. Fabrication typically request casting in steel or aluminum.  Other approaches are possible, but wasteful.
    3. Mobile steam engines require an energy-dense fuel, such as gasoline or diesel.
    4. They are quite dangerous, especially if high pressure super heated steam is used.
    I'd like to say that the above are the reasons for delay in designing and building an OSE steam engine, but that's not really the case.  Other projects are higher in priority.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2013
    I sent some support to OTF, I am sorry the campaign hasn't reached it's goals but I really hope the project will take off.
    I think they should start with a campaign for a specific machine instead of such an ambitious goal like changing the world.
    With each machine completed, we are getting closer to the ultimate goal. It's much easier to entice supporters with one machine at a time than to make them support the re-building of civilization.

    Anyways, it's refreshing to see how many machines are developed using crowdfunding platforms. Too bad that not so many of them are open sourche though..
    It would have been so great if OSE would have get the $3M instead of Form 1 (

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2013
    did the product manager Gary De Mercurio quit/ get fired? No updates on
    his log for months, and his only comment in the forum was taken down and
    replaced with:


    April 9

    Comment has been hidden until an Official announcement can be made by OSE"

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