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GLOBAL Village Construction Set question
  • Yes, I caps-shouted global for a reason, as I have a comments/question about the project and its "globalize-ability," namely units of measure.  We here in the U.S. are one of the last on the planet to still use Imperial measurements (feet, gallons, pounds, etc.)  Since metric (meters, liters, grams, etc.) is more widely used, should we attempt to develop blueprints and standards using metric rather than Imperial measurements?

    Sorry if this was asked before.  I understand trying to get a feel for a new measurement system is probably just an unneeded extra complication at this point and thus might be better for "Version 1.1" of the GVCS once working prototypes for each are complete, I was just wondering if it has been considered in the process.
  • 10 Comments sorted by
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2011
    In the early stages of OSE development there was a desire to use metric measurements as a standard.  However, many of the parts and materials used in OSE construction are locally sourced - and uses Imperial measurements. Thus we have 4" tubular steel to make the frame of the LifeTrac, etc.  This trend got reflected back into the design documents and CAD files leading to where we are now:  stuck with inches, pounds, and gallons.

    There is an OSE European Region being created over in Europe.  I would expect them to revise some of the OSE plans into metric at some point in the future - for their own sanity, if nothing else.

    - Mark Norton

  • If the GVCS set shall spread worldwide, it might become a necessity to convert the designs to metric. Parts and raw materials in imperial sizes are difficult to get in Europe; since the UK has dropped the imperial system it's becoming ever harder and expensive.
    My assumption is that the situation is basically similar in Africa and Asia where Imperial has never been used except in former British colonies.

    I guess it's currently easier to build a machine in metric in the US than in Imperial elsewhere. I read occasionally reports about large US companies developing and manufaturing new models of machinery in metric because of exports. So aquiring metric components in the States seems to be less of a problem.

    Conversion of designs shouldn't be underestimated; it is far more than a numerical conversion. All components that are readily purchased have to be changed to standardized sizes of the new system. If you are unlucky, you have to redesign whole assembled groups completely.

    Also the conversion of material standards isn't simple.

    It might be the first task of an European region to do this conversion, because worldwide spread of OSE designs will depend on it


  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2011
    Yes, I do understand the nature of the problem.  I asked Marcin this very point when I was developing the Steam Engine design.  He recommended that I use Imperial measures, at least for now.

    - Mark
  • I definitely see the logic of the unfortunate practical reality in that, and thank you for answering my curious questions.  Eventually, when the GVCS is more complete, I'm guessing Factor E Farm will be able to build and mill more of its own stuff, and then revising the prototypes to metric measurements would be more practical when they aren't as dependent on buying parts and materials because they'd be making their own instead.

    Some other national standards variations could also be problematic, like to make vehicles legal for roadways (steering wheel on the left? right?).  Those are problems I very much look forward to seeing addressed, because that would mean that the 50 or so basic working prototypes are done. :)
  • Hi folks.

    Adore this project.
    I wish I had more experience with welding...  may need to learn!

    Being without such experience in building hardware, I'd like to know a few things...  

    First is, the initial prototypes (CEB, Tractor, Pulverizer, Power Cube) each seem to require prerequisite tools to make them, such as welders, drills, etc.  Is that right?  If so, why aren't the primary construction tools the first prototypes to be released?   I also imagine there would need to be a list of conventional tools required to make those?

    Second is, is there a directory somewhere of people actually building and selling the first 4 prototypes ?  (CEB, etc) 
    I will likely need to consider being a consumer rather than a fabricator to get going.

    In general, some sort of "guide to bootstrapping" would be helpful for a guy like me.   
    I'd hope for it to include a list of "pathways to sustainability" based on one's skill set and experience.

    For instance... could a person get away with a push tractor for a small operation, as opposed to a full tractor?   
    Which machines require the least # of fabrication tools and cost?
    What is the best order in which to acquire the tools / machines ?
    stuff like that!


  • Hello Paul,

    a lot of questions in one post. I'll try to give You some answers.

    It's right, You will need tools to manufacture anything out of the GVCS toolset, which one depends on the machine You are planning to replicate.
    The primary construction tools aren't released first for several reasons. OSE wants to give people, who have some tools available, something useful to build and use and not to complete their machine shops during the first year.
    The primary construction tools like measurement tools and metal machine tools are among the most difficult and precise machines, and to build them without already having a complete toolset is more or less hopeless in my opinion.
    OSE and FeF are currently developing some shop machine tools, but the progress is slow and their performance and precision very unclear now. This reflects the difficulties in building quality machine tools as I described it above.

    #2 I don't know of anyone currently selling machines from the GVCS toolset, but there are building machines outside FeF, so this might change soon.

    #3 Which machines require the least tools for building them
    Because there are not many finished designs available yet, choice is simple. CEB press and Power Cube don'T require precision cutting machine tools, because complicated parts like motors are off the shelf yet. Finally, the order in which to acquire tools is dependent on what You plan to build. IMO, being able to build the complete GVCS set will require a lot of tools and even some real large machine tools not commonly found in home shops.


  • Thank you Mike,

    Sorry for all the questions!   I appreciate your graciousness in answering them.

    a power cube and a CEB makes good sense to me.  

    Is it safe to say the cube can power the CEB directly without the tractor?

    I couldn't quite gather that from the video.


    Paul G

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2011
    Yes, one can power the CEB press with only a power cube, as this was the good thing about the modular design.

    On the other hand, until the design is either changed to use standard (non-surplus) parts, its direct reproducibility will be limited to those who have access to that same set of surplus parts, which often will mean when the surplus pool dries up, then the design is kaput and needs to be changed (again)...

    That's also why I was thinking WTF??!? when I saw the recent post on OSE taking "pre-orders" for their Jan 2012 production run...  Even if OSE can buy enough surplus parts to build for this, where does that leave the consumer, when the tractor/CEB Press/Power Cube/etc., that they bought, needs replacement parts???  Stuck with expensive repairs that fly in the face of what the GVCS claimed to stand for?  Facing a total cost of ownership that starts to rival its commercial equivalent, but without the support, testing & engineering that the commercial equivalent would have?  With buyer's remorse over gambling on this purchase?

    Until OSE is up to making its own parts, Caveat Emptor?
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2011
    There is also the issue that the power cubes use parts and engines not available outside North America. Briggs and Stratton, Kohler and the like are not very common. In Africa I used a Robin 10 hp diesel for example which is not sold widely in the US due to emissions and hard to start.
  • You guys are correct in saying that the use of surplus parts and parts only available in North America is a problem, but to that I would also say that because all the designs/CAD will be available online, switching to another brand is entirely feasible. It may require a bit of redesign of the structure for modified spacing or what not but still definitely doable. Of course the manufacturing of our own hydraulic and other precision parts is the ideal, though that is still a little ways off. 

    In my opinion is see these product releases still as prototypes. As with any early adopters there will be bugs and issues, however it is those early adopters that help shape the next generation/iteration of the product design into something even better. And that's the beauty of the open source hardware concept. It's not the first release that's great, it's farther down the line. And everyone around the world is allowed to essentially participate in the design process rather than being centralized in one location/office.


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