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We’ve posted about the MultiMachine before, an open source, all-purpose machine shop uber-tool, designed with the developing world in mind. Pat Delany, the 74-year-old designer of the MultiMachine, is hoping to make it to Maker Faire Africa to demo the device.

There’s a piece on the MFA Blog offering a vision of what the MultiMachine could mean to under-industrialized regions:

Wikipedia describes the MultiMachine as:

“…an all-purpose open source machine tool that can be built inexpensively by a semi-skilled mechanic with common hand tools, from discarded car and truck parts, using only commonly available hand tools and no electricity. Its size can range from being small enough to fit in a closet to one a hundred times that size. The MultiMachine can accurately perform all the functions of an entire machine shop by itself.”

Lets think about this for a minute “an all purpose machine tool that…can accurately perform all the functions of an entire machine shop” built from discarded parts by semi-skilled mechanics (replace with jua kali workers, suame magazine fabbers etc.) What may be missing? A power source of sorts with the necessary torque and availability even in the most rural of areas. Perhaps coupling it with a system like the multifunctional platform would solve that problem.

(Maker Faire Africa will take place on August 14-16 in Accra, Ghana.)

The MultiMachine as a Roadmap

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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