Tue 15 Dec 2009
Posted by Marcin
You may have heard us talk about recasting civilization from scrap metal. Metal is the basis of advanced civilization. Scrap metal in refined form can be mined in abundance from heaps of industrial detritus in junkyards and fence rows. This can help us produce new metal in case of any unanticipated global supply chain disruptions. This will have to do until we can take mineral resources directly and smelt them to pure metal.
I look forward to the day when our induction furnace chews up our broken tractors and cars – and spits them out in fluid form. This leads to casting useful parts, using molds printed by open source ceramic printers – these exist. This also leads to hot metal processing, the simplest of which is bashing upon an anvil – and the more refined of which is rolling. Can we do this to generate metal bar and sheet in a 4000 square foot workshop planned for Factor e Farm? We better. Technology makes that practical, though this is undeard-of outside of centralized steel mills. We see the induction furnace, hot rolling, forging, casting, and other processes critical to the fabrication component of the Global Village Construction Set.
We just got a $5k commitment to open-source this technology.
The program for delivering an induction furnace involves a high frequency, high-power supply (between 20 and 50 kW (the latter can be gotten for $1600 on Ebay), and the melting chamber proper. Well, we could buy a turnkey system perhaps for $5k total used, and run it from the LifeTrac generator. The only disadvantage to this route is that if it breaks we’re dead-in-the-water – either with the impossibility of fixing closed-source technology, or a high repair bill. A single component which blows and is inaccessible for fixing could in principle turn a working power supply into worthless junk. Thus, it is worthwhile to tame this technology by open-sourcing the design.
It is more robust and cost effective to open-source the high power induction power supply. We would like to exactly this – which is mature technology. The question is finding a consultant or developer. We are thus making a call for bids. We are offering between $100 and $3000 for a design – depending on its level of completion. We will post this on eLance and other outsourcing sites.
If you are qualified to produce a design, please submit a bid by emailing opensourceecology at gmail dot com. We’re open to other suggestions on tactical and strategic aspects.
The bids will be judged on the demonstrated competence of the bidder, and upon the extent of design completion. The complete design would include all of the following:
- Design of an induction furnace circuit scalable up to 50 kW in units of 1 or 5 kW
- Design allows for power and frequency selection
- Power source may be either 1 or 3 phase electrical power.
- Specifications of a cooling or heat dissipation system
- Adaptable design specifications for primary coil windings
- Geometical design of melt chamber and basic power transfer calculations
- Melt chamber includes provisions for loading and pouring.
- Complete bill of materials
- Fabrication files for circuit and other components
- Sourcing information for components
- System design and process flow drawings
Serious bidders only, please. Naysayers on feasibility of this proposal will be either dismissed summarily, or our design criteria will be modified accordingly.
With up to $3k allotted for design work, we believe that the remaining $2k would suffice for parts for the actual device: about $1k for the electronics, and $1k for the furnace chamber.
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