Why not build your own civilization? Polish-American farmer and technologist Marcin Jakubowski abandoned his original field of study – fusion energy – to create the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). The set consists of 50 robust, low-cost machines made from local and recycled materials that will allow anyone to build all the infrastructure a community needs. At Factor E Farm, just 12 hectares in rural Missouri, Marcin’s organization Open Source Ecology has been designing and building the GVCS, as well as developing a prototype self-sufficient village. He tells TUNZA how it works, and how it’s going.
What do the 50 GVCS machines include?
‘We’re in the process of building every piece of infrastructure we rely on to provide a decent standard of living. First, you need to produce food. So we start with a tractor. For water, you need a well-drilling rig. For housing, we have a rammed-earth brick-making machine and a cement mixer – and for renewable energy we have solar concentrators and wind turbines. For transport, we’re designing a renewable-energy car that runs on a modern steam engine.
‘So far, we’ve completed designs for four machines: a tractor, brick press, soil pulverizer and power unit. We also have around 15 prototypes, including computer-controlled devices for producing electrical circuits and cutting metal, a cement mixer, a sawmill and a heat exchanger. Our designs are modular – for example you can easily detach the wheels from the tractor and use them on a truck or bulldozer, and the steam engine can power a house as well as a car – saving materials and maximizing flexibility.
‘The GVCS is open source: we publish the designs online so that anyone who needs these tools can build their own.’
Where do the materials come from?
‘At the moment, we use standard materials. But the GVCS includes an induction furnace and hot metal rolling processes, allowing you to recycle scrap steel. Pelletized biomass runs the steam engine. You can make glass from sand, and extract aluminium from clay.
What’s your goal?
‘While developing the GVCS I’m building a real, autonomous community that will rely on this technology. We’ve got eight people at the farm, including a construction director and a farm director. The goal is a total of 30 worker-residents.
‘It’s about setting an example. I want to demonstrate that industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale, showing how far 30 people can go in creating a modern standard of living – including things like superconductors and metals – from onsite materials. GVCS lowers the barriers for any enterprise: people can produce almost anything, adapted to any purpose – whether you want to build a similar community or just want a solar condenser for your school or an affordable micro-tractor for your farm. We’ll also evolve into a production and education model, teaching people the skills to use the technology to support any enterprise.’
Inspired? We were. Take a look at what you CAN do, and find out more: http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Global_Village_Construction_Set