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Enterprise open source shop
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  • Back to work tomorrow. Took the week off for Easter Holy week.

    Shop is nearly completed.

    Garage door installed, doors hung, hand wash station built, and shelves built.

    Only some painting, and minor finish work left.

    The air compressors will have to be mounted in a closet. Just can't handle the sound of them running all the time. Have to get a good air dryer set up fpr the plasma torch. CNC torch table will be assembled Monday.

    Lastly I have picked up a guard dog for the shop. I had a offer of free chickens today, but transporting a dog AND chickens in a van seemed too much logistic headache for today.

  • Holy Week is over, back to work.  Unboxing CNC Torch table today.  Built a table for it today as well.

    Shop is still cluttered without shelves moved in yet. 





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  • The big wooden shelf will be out of the shop in a few days to be replaced with steel shelves I have in another place.  That will be re-purposed into a chicken coop.  space for about 10 chickens.  Still collecting bottles for the auqaponics system.  It will be based on the window farm method but outdoors and much larger.  Looking to do 100 fish and 100 plants.  Getting closer and closer to getting off the grid and self reliant.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    April 2012
    A follow up comment on a recommendation you made last Nov.  At the time you recommended Gingery's book on Building a Home Shop from Scrap.  About a month ago I bought the hardcover edition (about $75), which includes his first seven books.  It's not really a book one can read, since it's largely a set of detailed instructions on how to build a lathe, metal worker, mill, drill press, etc.  I do admit that it has probable the best description of a home foundry I've ever seen.  I'm not at a point where I can try this out, but I am interesting in attempting home metal casting in the future.  If the techniques are mastered, almost anything becomes possible.

    At the moment, I'm up to my neck building a house (in addition to regular work), so OSE oriented projects are back burnered for at least another year.  Once we (my wife and I) are over that hurdle, I'm planning on bringing my blacksmithing shop back on-line and start working building out a metal/wood shop.  Your work is something of an inspiration.  Keep up the good work!

    - Mark

  • Thanks MJN.

    Update April 12 2012


    Torch table up and running.  Still getting it set up right.  feed rates, torch height etc still need mastering.
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  • Looking great! Excited to see progress. Do you have any build contracts or projects for when the shop is up and running? Or are you planning on building GVCS components and selling them?
  • I had a couple brick machines sold, but no down payment yet.  the local hardware store chain wants me to make house address letters and numbers for them, So at least I got a few things going on while building a brick making machine out of pocket.
  • You really need to add something to your Plasma's table Butte.  You should make a shallow "dish" or pan that fits underneath the unit.  This pan will hold an inch or so of water to extinguish and trap flying sparks.  Works great and adds an extra layer of safety.  Keeps the shop cleaner as a bonus.

    Try it, you'll like it....:)

  • believe me, That is already on the list.  I wanted to get the table up and running to make the parts for a water table.  Ordering a auto height control tonight while im at it.

  • Have not posted much the last month.  Have been stuck in the house without transport due to broke down vehicle.  Finally got parts shipped from the US and am back in action this week.

    This last month I have been experimenting with a rocket cooking stove.  At local material costs a stove comes out to a bit less than $20 dollars.  

    Today I started cutting out parts for the manual CEB press I have been working with Dawg on..


    I have not cleaned off the dross yet and I still need to cut a few more parts but this is most of it.

    I have been a bit behind on the aquaponics system but here is a video of what is done so far.

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  • Update July 6, 2012

    What a busy couple of months it has been. 

    The CNC shop is built and running.  The aquaponics system is still half finished.  I am out of room, and the homeowners association president is sending me nastygrams.

    As detailed in other posts, I have started building rocket stoves, which are selling faster than I can build them given my limited shop space. I also came up with a charcoal stove based on a folding camp stove design that was modified for the local economic conditions and use with charcoal.

    I have sold my first manual CEB press.  I will start putting the parts together next week.  I got orders for BBQ grills, Metal boxes, metal lettering, and a chicken feather plucking machine.

    This morning I did one sales call, shipped one charcoal stove, bought vegetables at the market and paid for most of it with barter. 

    This afternoon, it is CAD work, working up job estimates and making hominy from scratch.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    August 2012
    I have moved into a new shop space. Out of room and people were unable to find me. 312USD a month gets me 1000 square feet of space in a warehouse. Has office, lots of storage space and poor electrical wiring.

    I have found that my new shop has inadequate power to supply my plasma torch at high power. It has restricted my cutting speed to a third of my equipment capability.

    Too many issues with the wiring to list, but suffice to say the most economically feasible thing is to buy a 10kw generator to power the plasma torch and air compressors. I have a 3kw generator now for the air compressors, but I broke the pull cord first use. Right now, I fill up the air tanks, turn off the compressor, run the torch for 4-5 minutes, then refill. Can't run both at the same time because it will drop the voltage down to below 170.

    The shop is generating income. Most of my income is coming from metal lettering and CNC jobs. Not a lot, but enough to pay my helpers salary, keep the lights on and pay the rent. Word is slowly getting around, plus my advertising is working.

    I started making parts for the Makerbot last week. The rocket stoves are still in long term testing. They still work well, but many people report they don't like the extra work of feeding the fire. One was used in a restaurant, and the worker over fed the stove making it like a blowtorch.

    My charcoal stove started out selling well, then sales crashed. Have a big stock and have not sold one in weeks. It is a good design, the price is right, so not sure why not taking off. We have been experiencing bottled gas shortages here lately. 2 times since July it has been unavailable.

    This month we also had serious flooding here. Half the metro Manila area was under water. Worst rain ever recorded here. 477mm in 22 hours at one point. Lots of problems with food contamination, food poisoning, and diseases now. I came down with a eye infection, and my landlord got severe food poisoning from flood water contaminated food at a restaurant. Makes the case for more resilient self sufficient living.

    Food prices here are just getting crazy. 2 mangoes for 2 dollars, lettuce and other fresh veg is extremely expensive. Imported USA frozen French fries are cheaper than fresh local. The fresh local potatoes are not even good quality.

    This time of the year here is the slow season, so if I can stay in business during this, I should do well during the good times.
  • Do you mean this?
    Cuz if you want a 3D printer there are probably more economic alternatives, like a RepRap.

    Still rooting for you.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2012
    Still kicking here on e tropical island. The new shop space is becoming a convergence zone. We have CNC, grain mill and general metal fabrication, and tool and die under one roof. Leases have been signed, trucks with equipment arriving daily, and waiting on electric issues to be sorted. We need 2 200 amp 3 phase lines now.

    Running on 60amp single phase but the lights flicker constantly with the welders running.

    Formed a group here to make 3D printers. We have a engineer, architect, and me on the collaboration. It is a hybrid rep rap, Makerbot, Ultimaker machine.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2012
    Metz, your status updates are really interesting, and I think your project is amazing.  I just wanted to congratulate you on your accomplishments, and I hope you keep checking in with the site.

    On a side note, how much of the wiki would you say you find helpful?  I like to read it for ideas, but I'm wondering how much will help someone who is already in the process of creating this type of life?

    Thank you, and good luck!
  • Well it's been a year in the new shop space. It has been quite the education.

    Still having electric issues. We ran heavy line from the meter. I can run the CNC plasma at 30 amps only. Power company won't give us 3 phase without putting in a concrete wall around the building. We have a half wall and the rest wire mesh. Just too expensive and too hot for a wall to satisfy the power company. I may move.

    For a year I have been living frugal. My shop does not even have a flush toilet, just a bowl and a bucket to dump water in. Too much money for a bathroom upgrade.

    Found out a bunch of tools I bought back in 2011 were junk. Bought a DC stick welder and upgraded to a industrial MIG welder. Did a job that paid for it, then sold it for the same price I paid for it. Trying to move away from the welding stuff unless it is big money jobs. Not worth hiring a crew for a job that will net 500 dollars over a month.

    I keep upgrading my CNC table. I'm on my 3rd rebuild. It has the same cutting area but can handle full sheets. Next upgrade is bigger gantry, auto height control and a set if rails to index cut steel by moving the CNC not the steel. Will save a lot of floor space.

    Last couple weeks I have been making knives. I cut armor plate into blanks, then machine them at the tool and die shop. Last stop is powder coat. The more I make the more people order.

    I seldom paint anymore. It's more economical to powder coat as well as better quality than paint.

    The aquaponics system is still half finished.

    Anyways, still in business here

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