Open Source Product Development Pipeline Refined

I posted the updated technology set in the last post, but how do we actually develop the Global Village Construction Set in a timely fashion? What is the elusive, scalable methodology for open product development? It’s obvious. It’s this;)

If you would really like to understand this very important but messy hairball, give yourself a half hour and read on.

We’ve talked about the open product development pipeline before. We have actually had at least one person follow the Development Work Template outside of the Factor e Farm Home Team. This means that we are starting to scale the technology development process to remote collaborators. As such, we need to make the collaboration process more transparent.

The above diagram is essentially the Development Work Template, minus the strategy, which I will discuss tomorrow. The diagram is similar to the one shown before, except that details are filled in so one could wrap their head around the overall process. The process still focuses on an Open Source Design Rationale as discussed previously – a thorough description of peer-reviewed design which leads to a 3D Design. This leads to a Bill of Materials, Fabricator Bids, Funding, and On-Site Fabrication and Documentation at Factor e Farm.

Supporting information for the OS Desing Rationale (OSDR) is included in the diagram. This includes the details such as careful explanation of concept and function, various relevant calculations, and operational process flow for using a given technology – such as process flow diagram for producing and building with CEB bricks. The status of the project should be visible – simply by how much of th Development Cycle is filled in on the wiki for each project, component, or product ecology. Red Pages show outstanding questions – or the still incomplete research points.

It shoudl be noted that the Business Proposals are emphasized as a direct output of the OSDR/Review/3D Design iterations. If the design is known, and if the Bill of Materials, Fabrication Procedure, and Tooling Requirements, along with other details – then sufficient information is present for somone to write a business/funding proposal for any given technology.

This reflects our new thinking about the deployment of the GVCS. We are seeing the limits to the 1000 True Fans Campaign – we have not recruited any new True Fans supporters for 2 weeks now. We are leaning towards a focus on completing a full Product Development Cycle – with the CEB press as the case study. This will bring a new blast of media attention, according to Amy Gooch, a professional PR worker who is helping us gain support via a well-orchestrated mass-media publicity campaign.

Therefore, if we want to complete the CEB press development cycle, a good approach is to begin serious work on a production business model. This is why the diagram above has a significant component on Business Proposals. The purpose is twofold – one is to get funding and the other is to educate – all producers, fabricators, and builders. We believe firmly that an affordable, high-performance CEB press could benefit the world immensely – so it is good to spread the message about the CEB press. I now work in the workshop made from CEB – and the structure feels good because of its natural and strength properties.

Focusing on the enterprise and business feasibility aspects of the CEB press will bring about a first, true test of the significance of the work done at Factor e Farm. This is extremely important – because of implications on completing the entire GVCS and reaping the transformative potential of a toolset for new civilication.

Back to the development diagram. Open Production is the final goal – which includes defining an Open Business Model for enterprise replication – from Producer Training, Fabrication Workshops, to Community Supported Manufacturing and other enterprise option from CEB fabrication to CEB building, and Standards Development. After we get to Open Production, we will document Production Facility Design, and spawn PR/Marketing for sales and further GVCS development.

The strategy to get to Open Production still relies on solid, 3D Design – refined after as many cycles as needed until consensus in the development community is reached. The 3D Design reveals Tooling Requirements, Fabrication Procedure, and Bill of Materials. This design also lends itself to analysis via Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis for stress analysis or other performance analysis as needed.

The 3D Design also leads to Fabricator Bids. This is an important part. If we reach the point of defining a reasonable bid – then we are well on our way to defining a scalable Open Product Developmen process. The availability of a bid indicates that we have done our due diligence, to the point where we understand the design well enough to know what it would cost to build it.

If we define a bid amount, we can then ask fabricators to fill the bids. We could, for example, line up several fabricators – so that we know there is a professional capable of doing the work. Then we use a bidding process just like We collect money from stakeholders who are guaranteed that a certain step will be completed once the funding is collected. This way, supporters are assured of products delivered on time and to specifications.

At best, we invite fabricators on-site to Factor e Farm – which means at least $200 added to the price ticket for transportation for the fabricator to Factor e Farm – or possibly, for the remote visit of someone from Factor e Farm to the fabricator’s shop. The key here is to make sure that the fabrication process is documented with video to the point of replicability. That’s the unique necessity of all open source work.

In addition to video, the documentation also includes: Computer Aiden Manufacturing (CAM) files, Assembly Diagrams, Performance and Test Data, and other supporting information.

So herein we have outlined a general process for what we do or want to do as part of Factor e Farm’s Open Product Development work. This work, for example on the CEB Press, is there in part at the CEB category on the wiki. Study this procedure, and you can begin to feel comfortable in participating at the wiki – meaningfully in terms of moving the entire project forward. I will discuss more strategy points regarding the wiki usage tomorrow.


  1. Elmo

    About the bidding part of this: Are you aware of Open Source Harware Bank ( You can read more at

    They are developing a way to finance the building and distribution of OSHW in a way that isn’t susceptible to the problems inherent in the current economy, very much inline with the ideology behind OSE and local production in general (at the moment it is financing a bunch of global producer-distributors, but it should be scalable to village-local producers). Maybe it could be extended to the development part also. At least it should be applicable to tooling (like RepRap) needed for bootstrapping local fabrication shops.

  2. Lost Chief

    Hey maybe a few of you could post some of your great stories or comments on this posting ive posted on

    The posting has gotten quite a few hits for how long its been up but has no comments. Maybe some of you could post some info so people get a vibe for whats going on. This is a very good place to find some help/investment..


  3. […] does one reinvent corporate R&D by using open source methods? We missed a couple of details in yesterday’s hairy diagram and explanation. Now it should all be […]

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