Catching Up with Open Source Ecology

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Catching Up with Open Source Ecology

One of the many cool open source initiatives we’ve been keenly following here at MAKE is the Open Source Ecology project and their Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). They’ve been on our radar ever since they won our Green Project Contest at the beginning of the year. The idea behind GVCS is simple, and ingenious. Identify the most critical tools necessary to build a civilization (they’ve ID’d 50), create an open source infrastructure to design, manufacture, assemble, and distribute low-cost, sustainably-made versions of those tools, and use the internet to build a global community of people to support the project. In this TED talk video, founder Marcin Jakubowski explains the basic mission of Open Source Ecology and GVCS:

Since we last checked in with them in February, they’ve been hard at work on their “Factor E Test Farm,” a place where they can experiment with and test out many of the tool designs and techniques that they are developing. They put out regular video reports documenting their progress. Here is the latest one:

One of the things they’ve been working on are tools to rapidly create mud bricks (which you can see in the above video). Here’s the machine they built, the “Liberator” Compressed Earth Block Press:

They’ve also been loading instructions for building the CEB press into Make: Projects and we’re thrilled by that. Here’s the main CEB build directory on Make: Projects and below is one of the sub-projects, assembling the main pressing cylinder:

Fitting the Main Cylinder

To find out more about Open Source Ecology and GVCS, visit their website and project wiki.

Open Source Ecology: Interview with Founder Marcin Jakubowski

This post is sponsored by the Chevy Volt.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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