To me, the phrase work smarter not harder is a very permaculture theory.
Here is an article that might answer your question:
a major question I have regarding the use of machines is whether or not their speed and massive power allow us to truly understand and appreciate the effects of the decisions we make on the landscape. While the process of observation and permaculture design certainly can allow us to perceive and discern what the land might allow in a certain place, my own experience has shown me that there is a proper scale and pace to the work we do. The slowness of work and the limited scope of human power usually allow the careful observer to notice the negative effects of a certain decision before they grow into a larger and perhaps more permanent problem. With machines, not only do we magnify the power of how we affect the landscape, but we also aren´t necessarily able to sense the effects of those changes because of the speed with which the transformation of the landscape occurs.
If I were to put a specific answer to your question it would have to depend on context. I have a background in woodworking, so the slow, deliberate pace of handcraftmanship is worth the time and effort and perhaps lost productivity. If I were making a wooden item for myself I can’t imagine using digital fabrication but then to me, the journey in the craftsmanship is as satisfying, if not more satisfying, than the end product.
That doesn’t mean I take machinery out of the equation though, and there are a lot of steps in woodworking I leave to someone else. For instance, I have never cut down the tree, then milled and dried the lumber to thicknesses. I have always purchased dimensionally cut slabs of Red Oak. I then use table saws, routers, drills, sanders, planers and more to craft the wood into the final product.
And then again, I am only really making items for my own use or as gifts. I am far too slow to produce for profitable production. So if your situation requires the use of digital fabrication, or at least can take advantage of it, then who am I to say you are wrong. There will never be a replacement for knowing the character and even subtle flaws of hand craftsmanship, but doing that work by hand eats time you may not have.
So I guess my final answer would be “it depends.” I hope that’s not too vague.
Ronaldo Montoya wrote:Hi, what do you guys think about digital fabrication and permaculture as for example cnc router for cutting wood?
Are you agree ln using these kind of technologies? Do you think they are worth?
One element would be where the electric power is sourced. Renewable power sources would be preferable. While we have the capacity for producing hi-tech systems like digital fabrication tools, it makes sense for permaculture practitioners to leverage them as much as possible - For appropriate purposes!
Whether it’s a cnc router or a plasma cutter, the end product is the most important piece of the puzzle for determining how well it fits in permaculture design.
A small fabrication shop with a cnc router and plasma cutter, with solar power system, could be a great place to produce great hand tools for gardening, for example.
There might be some specific permaculture beneficial artifact that would be a great product for such a shop.
Much like these forums All the technology involved in being able to exchange ideas here isn’t very sustainable or renewable - but I think most of us are benefitting greatly here.
I certainly think digital fabrication has its place in permaculture.
3D printing with concrete as the building material has recently taken off. I think it's probably possible to do similar things with more natural materials. But as others said context matters for sure. Digital fabrication gives you speed and replication. I think that means it tends to be favorable when you are replicating the same thing over and over. There are objects and buildings that don't vary much in their design even in different settings. I think it can certainly make sense to use high speed fabrication methods for these jobs.
Personally I like the process of constructing slowly by hand. I also don't make a living on my land or building products, but as a teacher, so for me building is a joy activity, not a necessity one. For myself I cannot see it being sensible to buy a CNC machine or 3D printer or other computer based milling and fabrication devices. They cost a lot of money, take up a lot of space, make a lot of noise, use a lot of energy, and I don't need 1000 of the same spoon, shelf, or shed.
I have CNC scissors here at home, and use them for a lot of stuff, and could be used for Permies stuff with a little creativity.
I actually wrote a reply about CNC stuff being great for repetitive stuff, and it is, but deleted it because I realized I use the intricate cutting abilities of CNC machining to do a lot of one-off stuff too. I realize after a bit of coffee this morning that its really their precision that matters. A person can do a lot with that, but I would never get too caught in that. There are often work-arounds to getting the same thing by hand with a little creativity.
The first person to drink cow's milk. That started off as a dare from this tiny ad: