MultiMachine, an open-source machine tool, is a complete multi
purpose machine shop in one tool built entirely from scrap material
and with some machining skills.
The MultiMachine has the potential of saving or improving lives of many thousands of our people. In the health sector, it can be used to build water pumps, filters, water well drilling rigs and hospital furnishings. In agriculture, the most important sector in Uganda, it can be used in building farm machinery and irrigation pumps. In transportation by its use in building and repairing parts for vehicles. In communications by its use as as a cell phone charging station. In village life by being a source of battery power for home lighting and in Education by providing vocational education students with machine tools that they build themselves and then are able to take back to their villages when they graduate and employ themselves. The MultiMachine is truly a humanitarian machine.
Our plan is to carry out an initial program which organises participants into small groups of 3-5 people, who will collaborate and build MultiMachines. The curriculum and course information is available on www.opensourcemachine.org and each individual will get a copy of the book 'How to build a MultiMachine.'
Individuals on each team will have key roles to play from managing the team's project resources, research, documentation and implementation. It is important that we adhere to open-source standards which basically promote collaboration, sharing information and building a community of users and developers around a piece of technology.
On completion of the program, each team will get to keep the MultiMachine it has built, is free to build as many machines as possible and use the technology in whichever way they see benefits them. The teams will also have the opportunity to participate in our country-wide effort to replicate the 'Build a MultiMachine' program.
We are attempting at building a resilient economy with open-source technology.
Hi, My name is Marcin; farmer, technologist. I was born in Poland, now in the U.S. I started a group called Open-source Ecology. If I identified the 50 most important machines that we think it takes for modern life to exist, things from Tractors, Bread ovens, Circuit makers, then we set out to create an Open-source, DIY- Do it Yourself version, that anyone can build and maintain at a fraction of their cost. We call this the Global Village Construction Set.
So let me tell you a story. So I finished my 20s with a PHD in Fusion energy and I discovered- I was useless. I had no practical skills, I mean the world presented me with options, I took them- I guess you can call it the Consumer lifestyle.
So I started a farm, in Missouri and learned about the economics of farming. I bought a tractor, then it broke, I paid to get it repaired then it broke again. And pretty soon I was broke too. I realised that truly appropriate low cost tools that I needed to start a sustainable farm and settlement just didn't exist yet. I needed tools that were robust, modular, highly efficient and optimised, low cost, made from local and recycled materials that would last a life time. Not designed for obsolescence. I found I would have to build them myself.
So I did just that. And I tested them, and I found that industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale. So then I published the 3D designs, schematics, instructional videos and budgets on a wiki, then contributors from all over the world began to show up prototyping new machines during dedicated project visits. So far we have prototyped 8 of the first 50 machines and now the project is beginning to grow on its own. We know that open-source has succeeded with tools for managing knowledge and creativity and the same is starting to happen to hardware too. We are focusing on hardware because it is hardware that can change peoples' lives in such tangible material ways.
If we can lower the barriers of entry into farming, building, manufacturing, then we can unleash massive amounts of human potential- thats not only in the developing world. Our tools are being made for the American farmer, builder, entrepreneur, maker – we've seen lot's of excitement from these people who can now start a construction business, parts manufacturing, organic CSA, or – just selling power back to the grid.
Our goal is a repository
of published designs so clear so complete that a single burnt DVD is
effectively a Civilisation Starter Kit. I've planted 100 trees in a
day, I've pressed 5000 bricks in 1 day from the dirt beneath my feet,
and built a tractor in 6 days. From what I've seen, this is only the
beginning. If this idea is truly sound, the implications are
significant. A greater distribution of the means of production,
environmentally sound supply chains, and a newly relevant DIY maker
culture can hope to transcend artificial scarcity. We are exploring
the limits of what we all can do to make a better world with Open
This same spirit is being witnessed across industries beyond hardware and software. Consider the Construction industry, one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. Nadar Khalili (1936-2008) a world reknown Iranian-american architect shared with the world a low cost and sustainable housing alternative called Earth Bag building. Many implementers and collaborators around the world have taught others, written books and blogs and most importantly are attempting at solving the global housing crisis. Earth Bag building is also being promoted here in Uganda by the Earthbag building Forum – Uganda through the same spirit of sharing information and collaboration mainly through facebook.
The open-source ideology is clearly affecting every industry so I suggest we open up our eyes to the next frontier.
Saturday 17th March 2012, I bumped into the Capital Gang, a
political radio talk show on air every Saturday morning. I rarely
tune in because I feel I should be the one hosting that show.
'We the youth have got to rise and take charge,' I keep telling
myself. Anyway, the show exposed the long well known rot in Makerere
University and the serious deficiencies in our education
Interestingly, I find many of us in agreement that something has got to be done about our education system. Here is a system which after over 100 years of its existance in Uganda, is grossly under-performing on any performance measure one may test. Has it educated the masses of the people? No! Infact, we have less than One million graduates in this country of 35million. Has the system built a better society? How are we performing on the Happiness Index? What about the most obvious economic indices like GDP and inflation? What is the nature of the individual who has spent 20 years in school? When I look around all I see is corruption, greed, poverty, unemployment, unhappiness and a people with a complete lack of knowledge of self.
I had always thought that my challenge was to fight this education system and I knew it was going to be a big battle since the rot is deep down to the core. However, after listening to the Capital Gang, I had a sigh of relief. I realised that I dont have to fight it. It is going to cramble all by itself under its own weight. So let me just sit back and watch. Pop me some popcorn!
At the sametime, I recognise that in this education discussion are two schools of thought. A: The Reformers. These acknowledge the positive as well as the negative, but believe the positive is more. The least that these people ought to do is save us some breath and go ahead and implement reforms in those areas that they think are lacking, so that they can bring about a reform in this education system. The second school of thought to which after today's Capital Gang show am a firm member of, is B: The Revolutionaries. These acknowledge that the entire system ought to be trashed completely so we can bring about a learning revolution.
I encourage anyone interested in the subject of education to at least go to www.google.com or www.youtube.com and search for some voices out there on education. Look up Sir Ken Robinson, for instance, and watch his presentations at TED 2006 and 2010. Have a look at www.khanacademy.org, moodle.org, wikipedia.org and join the conversation. Its time for both schools of thought to get to work. Its time to walk the talk.