We Should be Free to Tour the Solar System

And take all the comforts of home with us

Similar projects worth following
Makers may someday roam the solar system. Maybe even you.
Here's how we might do it.

Why am I posting a super big meta project here? a) I like this site; b) I think I can get a lot of constructive feedback. I'm not too interested in the type of feedback that says "you can't do this." I'm more interested in things like "this step is much more achievable if ..."

What is Open Fab Lab? The first project to collect, develop and integrate open source projects which make a complete fab lab. The overall goal is to first create a lab which by necessity requires high human intervention, but with an expandable architecture for ever increasing automation, up to the "maker singularity" which is a fab lab that can replicate itself with minimal human intervention.

The technologies that need to be integrated are:

1. Machine Vision (OpenMV?)

2. Expert systems / AI to identify and work around problems in the most automated way possible.

3. Heuristic design software for makers to express new designs in the most simple and fast way possible, with machines filling in the obvious blanks.

4. All the digital fab tools such as 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC milling, scanning, metal molding, etc. Large scale capability.

5. Flexible bots to manage the fab tools and their products, and to automate assembly.

6. Help me fill in more details.

  • How to bring all the great current work together

    Garrett Herschleb04/17/2016 at 16:54 0 comments

    I'm seeking ideas on how to bring together and get some synergy from all the great open projects going on right now.

    I've seen a lot of great stuff in machine vision and 3d tooling, robotics, and the list goes on.

    What is the best way to get some of these great innovators working together to make highly automated and highly adaptive fabrication?

  • 3D MultiTool

    Garrett Herschleb09/23/2014 at 01:12 0 comments

    When I envision an ultimately autonomous factory, its primary ingredients would be:

    1. 3D Multi tools (more on this below)

    2. Mobile robots facilitating the multi tool operations

    3. Metal casting equipment

    4. Specialized equipment for doing what the above cannot (but said equipment largely made on demand by the above)

    5. Teraflops machine capable of basic problem solving, consequence modeling, and machine learning, solving the minor issues that arise during manufacturing before human involvement becomes necessary.

    What is a 3D multi tool?

    1. A 3D chassis capable of moving any given head (which does the actual work) anywhere in the build space. The base chassis must have the strength, stability and power to support all head variants.

    2. A set of interchangeable heads, including but not limited to:

    a. FDM printing with various extruder types.

    b. Scanning with a combination of laser and touch.

    c. Cutting (mechanical and laser)

    d. Welding

    e. Milling

    f. Drilling

    g. Sanding

    h. General purpose grip to assist in assembly

    i. Lathing

    j. You name it

    Many of these head types would be combined with an axial adapter that gives an additional 3 degrees of freedom for arbitrary orientations.

    Some printer manufacturers have already begun this convergence by including scanning and light milling functions, and the MTM multifab has taken another big leap in this direction.

    Convergence is a common pattern of evolution and innovation in many industries, where many devices with common attributes, and the maker industry will be no exception. Today's smartphone is a textbook example of convergence, incorporating the functions of computer, phone, camera and more into a single platform.

  • Introducing StrongArm

    Garrett Herschleb09/22/2014 at 02:10 0 comments

    This is an inexpensive robot arm with industrial capability. It has been posted on hackaday.

    The wrist assembly is potentially re-useable in other applications also.

    See the links to check it out.

  • Introducing the First sub-project

    Garrett Herschleb09/14/2014 at 19:07 0 comments

    PyUltimateRobot has been posted here and on SourceForge. This is a simple but feature rich system with which you can control your robot, no matter how complex it is.

  • Preparing First Subproject Posting

    Garrett Herschleb09/10/2014 at 15:14 0 comments

    I've developed a new robot operating system which has many improvements over traditional systems, including but not limited to:

    1. Developed on Python to leverage state-of-the-art extensibility and easily integrated plugins

    2. Able to use low cost robots with the accuracy and dexterity of much more expensive robots, achieved in part by

    a) Ability to drive movement by inexpensive DC gear head motors, including the inherent ability to specify movement by applied force rather than strict space/time control that steppers impose.

    b) Arms and linkages don't have to have super tight tolerances, because accuracy is achieved by tightly integrated visual feedback that's easy to program and low complexity processing.

    3. Ability to program easily with a GUI and visual interface that sees things from the robots' camera perspective.

    4. Flexible use of coordinate spaces that make programming arms with 6 or more degrees of freedom super easy. Got a bot arm with 13 linkages that can reach around corners? Easy. Simple arm with only 2 degrees of freedom, with one polar and one cartesian? No problem. Any arm geometry will work.

  • Reading "Microlaunchers: Technology for a new Space Age" by Charles Pooley and Ed LeBouthillier

    Garrett Herschleb09/07/2014 at 17:40 1 comment

    Point 1: Rockets ranging from gross mass of 100Kg to 1000Kg are capable of orbital insertion. (Microlaunchers)

    Point 2: DIY space explorers must aim for > LEO due to the fact that LEO is crowded, regulated, and a little boring by now (my paraphrase).

    Point 3: For microlaunchers, atmospheric drag becomes significant.

    To point 3, I wonder if a launch from high altitude balloon(s) would get us up faster. Any comments or suggestions?

  • What is SeaSteading and why participate?

    Garrett Herschleb09/06/2014 at 22:06 0 comments

    In my opinion, Seasteading and meta-making such as this have great potential for symbiosis on many levels. Rather than trying to explain it myself, I'll let the Seasteader's speak for themselves:

  • What is a comet capture swarm and why is it necessary?

    Garrett Herschleb09/06/2014 at 21:59 0 comments

    A comet capture swarm is a large collection of vehicles capable of escaping Earth orbit, intercepting a comet, and using the comet's material as reaction mass to bring it safely to a Lagrange point near Earth.

    A swarm of smaller vehicles is far superior to a single large vehicle because:

    1. Hyper redundancy. If a few vehicle lose function, the mission continues.

    2. Low impact of a rogue vehicle. Imagine if a single large vehicle is pushing a comet towards Earth, and the engines got stuck full on and it's no longer responding to commands. A lot of people would be... ah.. *angry*. On the other hand, if one of the swarm went rogue, other's in the swarm could be used to counter and/or disable the rogue.

    3. Potential for design redundancy, not just unit redundancy. If many different designs are deployed towards the same requirements to work together to capture a comet, there is much lower impact of a design flaw. The same applies to design of security features. Malignant actors would have to hack many security systems in order to make an impact (no pun intended) rather than just one.

  • Why bother with sub-orbital satellites?

    Garrett Herschleb09/06/2014 at 21:46 0 comments

    These would be mostly test vehicles to convince ourselves and others that we can do an full orbital insertion without crashing into somebody else's satellite. They'd be ... ah... *angry*.

View all 9 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates