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NEED IDEAS!!!!!!

 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 65
Location: Somewhere in Kentucky
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I am an automation machine designer. I want to live a sustainable lifestyle. I also want to contribute my skills. If you could have 1 machine designed that would move the sustainable lifestyle forward, what machine would that be?

For instance, a machine that auto fills earthbags using water power or rocket stove tech. Lets think outside the box for a minute and see what we can come up with, or at least ponder if it would be efficient enough to warrant a prototype being designed and built.

How about a car trailer, with an auger that picks up sand, a second auger that picks up clay, and a metering hopper that controls the mixture of sand to clay. A mixer then mixes the parts, and a small conveyor meters the sand clay mixture into earth bags. Moisture can be added at any point in the process. The trailer would have to be small enough to maneuver it close to the construction area or else you would be carrying heavy earth bags too far. Or we can have a maneuverable/articulating chute that slides the bags right to its resting point.

How about one machine that can be used across each state? One machine per state, rented. Cheap for the end user, less labor than before, and a money maker for the designer and operator.

How about a different machine? What else is labor intensive that could have a simple mechanical solution?

I really want to design something and make a living contributing to sustainable Ag. The company I work for makes $48,000 hammers for the truck industry. A machine that does the job of a hammer.....ridiculous, but its true. No wonder trucks are so expensive!

Give me ideas!! I want to help bring sustainable living into the mainstream!! Anything I can do that makes permaculture, or sustainable building construction easier, cheaper or less labor intensive!! I'm not looking to get rich, I just want to contribute and need practical advise from someone who has been there and said "man I wish I had a machine to do __blank__."

I use Solidworks, Inventor and AutoCAD. I have machine design experience, firearms design experience and robotics experience.

Somebody SLAP ME!!
 
D. Logan
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In forums and in Countryside Magazine, I see a lot of older folks with homesteads that time and again mention being unable to keep up with all of it any more. The general options are to find a younger person to help or to sell their homestead. I can't speak for anyone else, but I would love to see some of these people interviewed about what things cause them the most difficulty in their daily tasks and then seeing about some sort of non-electric device that would help them continue to maintain their farms and independence. Not yet being of that age group, I can't effectively speak as to what sort of device might be most helpful to them however. Maybe other Permies might have a better idea?
 
Miles Flansburg
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An easy tire packer for building with tires.
A machine that mixes cob.
 
Ray Cecil
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Thank you for the ideas. I want to keep this aimed in a certain direction though. I would like to make sustainable living more attractive to people with large carbon feet. You know, almost every American.... So many people like their nice homes that go up easily. The type of stuff permaculture and eco-friendly home construction teaches isn't attractive to normal folks. Like the whole earthship biotecture "tire pounding." I happen to think that is a silly idea, to build a house out of used tires. I can think of better ways that don't smell like rubber when the winter sun heats up that back wall....

Anyway....how about a seeder? Something like a recumbent bicycle that pedals really slow and gets you low to the ground so your not bending over and hurting your back? You can seed with it, you can weed with it, chop and drop would be easy from that level for the low stuff.

Auto earth bag filler. Has obvious advantages.

Cob mixer......wont a cement mixer work for that?

What else ya'll got?
 
R Scott
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There are a lot of things that need the Goldilocks machine--you have a solution by hand (fine for a"feel good" fake reduce your footprint spa workshop) or a half million dollar machine to do it industrial scale, but nothing for the homestead scale.

Things like:
vegetable oil press for making fuel (or food).
sorghum/cane press for sugar
material sifter--needed for compost and cob.
planters and seeders for bigger than hand planting but not doing 40 acre fields
Harvesters for the same scale

Lots of the "I'm too old for this ..." comes from the up and down of steps and fences and gardens--mostly inappropriate design. Who thinks about carrying buckets over the fence at 60 when they are building it at 30?

Many of those machines (or size of machine) existed 50-100 years ago, but not anymore. Including the cement mixer that would actually mix cob (today's won't)

 
D. Logan
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Alright. There are a lot of tasks that the 'modern people' hate to do. Labor intensive jobs or those that require getting up very early in the morning. How about this one for a start: A non-electric automated door for a chicken coop that opens in the morning when it is time for them to be let out. Sure, it doesn't get them back in, but I imagine you have to go there yourself to reset it anyway along with collecting the eggs. One less chore for the late risers to feel compelled to use as an excuse not to get started.

I also have a friend or two who love Sauerkraut, but hate the act of making it. How about a device that cuts the cabbage and sprinkles salt in a single simple action like turning a crank. Just toss on a weight once it is done and check on it every so many days. Cut the time prepping way down and offers a healthy food preservation option to get them starting to do fermented foods of other sorts.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Ray, the place on the web where I've consistently found these designs (and prototypes) showing up, explained, and often diagrammed is Farm Hack. Maybe you already know the site, but if not its a site where tinkerers, experienced farmers, ag students, young farmers and others are posting experiments along these lines: http://farmhack.net/home/
They're dedicated to innovations and DIY - assisting the lower-capital-intensive farming or horticultural operation (with some homestead sort of things, too). Have a look at that vid on their home page. If you're interested in the write-ups, illustrations and prototypes of what they're designing and building, then go to: http://farmhack.net/tools

Personally, I'd love to see your projects presented on this (Permies) site too - discussion, diagrams, and pics.


 
Joel Bercardin
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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Of course, it all depends on which direction you want to take. For a permaculture place that has a field-crop dimension, some people may choose to use "horsepower" to pull implements. I don't do that, though I've had friends who have been doin it... and I admire the people who do it well and work it into a viable homesteading system (especially when they're not subsidizing the horse aspect).

Over the past year or more, I've combed the internet now and then to find sites where people are sharing stories and pictures of their design and fabrication endeavors related to homesteads and small farms. I just joined Permies recently, but had previously brought together some of the URLs for these sites and shared them on other forums.

Here's a guy who is developing and using his own horse-drawn equipment for modern small-farm needs, at this addy:
http://betweenourselvesandourland.wordpress.com/
 
Matt Reed
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Maybe you can find some inspiration from two similar ideas I liked from recent Permaculture Voices podcasts for tree crop systems.

Grant Shultz at Versaland had a video of mulching his trees with freshly cut grass. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_guES2aGoQ

And Phil Rutter has a mobile biochar wagon for using tree trimmings out in the field https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/80297702/badgerchar-mobile-a-farmer-friendly-mobile-biochar
 
Tom Rutledge
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Ray Cecil wrote: I am an automation machine designer. I want to live a sustainable lifestyle. I also want to contribute my skills. If you could have 1 machine designed that would move the sustainable lifestyle forward, what machine would that be?

...

Give me ideas!! I want to help bring sustainable living into the mainstream!! Anything I can do that makes permaculture, or sustainable building construction easier, cheaper or less labor intensive!! I'm not looking to get rich, I just want to contribute and need practical advise from someone who has been there and said "man I wish I had a machine to do __blank__."

...

I use Solidworks, Inventor and AutoCAD. I have machine design experience, firearms design experience and robotics experience.

Somebody SLAP ME!!



I like what these guys are doing : http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Global_Village_Construction_Set , they have 50 machines rather than one. Pick any one and help out.

I'm not sure what I would want personally... humm...
 
Dan Grubbs
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There has to be a cheaper way to get at deep water. Shallow wells are not a problem for most people. But, drilling a well of 200 feet or more is not something the average homesteader or farmer can do because of the specialized machinery needed. Why is it a well driller gave me an estimate of $17,000 to drill and case a well on my property. It certainly wasn’t for his expertise because when I asked how he would determine where he would find water, he chuckled and said he’d drill wherever I told him. If we’re to reduce our footprint and live in a regenerative way, finding ground water will be an important part of that way of living … but most people I know can’t afford $15,000 to take a guess at finding water and having a well. So, the only reason I can see that it costs so much to drill a well is the fact that his machine costs so much.

I guarantee you that you could make a very good living and help us all out in a significant way if you could come up with a dramatically less costly way to drill deep wells.
 
Ray Cecil
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Thanks everyone for all the ideas!!! Now we are talking!!! I really like the well drilling idea. Yeah, I knew as soon as you said well drilling Dan, I saw big dollars for that. I've had quotes for that too and my god! That is crazy....I might think about that one!!
 
Ray Cecil
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P.S. I am having a new computer built and will be spending some serious time designing after thanksgiving. Maybe a winter design project is in store!!

Also, that list of 50 Machines is awesome. Definitely going to look closer at that!!
 
Ken Peavey
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RoboComposter
There is already a RoboMower out there.
I could make good use of a machine that gathers grass clippings and leaves across an area and drops them off in one spot.
It does not have to be fast or move a huge amount, it just needs to operate continually.
This would gather compost and mulch material.

Energy
Solar PV/rechargable keeps the noise and emissions down.
A homebase to recharge would work
I'd want to take the thing somewhere, set up the charger base and solar panels, and set it loose.

Gather
I've got a bagging lawn mower I use now. Works on leaves, grass, and weeds. Tall growth slows it down. Sometimes I need to adjust the cutting height.
The cut materials blow into the bag. The bag is removed, dumped, reconnected.

Dump
A single spot might be troublesome as the pile grows. As long as the material is close enough, that would be good enough.
A windrow would be just as good as a single spot.

Trees/Obstacles
The device needs to navigate around trees/branches logs, avoid ditches, stay out of the road.
Wire fence, cable, rope, string would be potential obstacles that could frig up operation.
The RoboComposter should not drive under the porch or a truck where it can get stuck.
Trash/Debris: paper, cans and bottles, kids toys. A means of detection and avoidance would be handy. It may be necessary to traverse the area and clean up the debris first.

Area
There should be a way to mark the area to be serviced. I would not want the thing to mow up the turnips.
Perhaps a wire. Perhaps measurements entered into a computer/ipad/interface.

Security
If it gets picked up, sound an alarm or send a message to homebase along with GPS coordinates.

Safety
Automatic shutdown if it tips over.
Flashing light, perhaps a beeper so people dont get run over and to prevent the device from being run over.

Volume
If the thing could gather 1000 pounds in a day this would translate to about a cubic yard of compost.
With a retail price of $20-35/cuyd, there would be a viable market for those who use/produce abundant quantities of compost.

Other Uses
One could set up the charger base at a remote location, and get a property cleaned up. This sort of thing could be an enterprise all by itself.
There exist many places where a RoboComposter would be handy. The power companies may find such a device useful to keep the area under transmission lines clear. If they could also gather a usable resource at the same time, it may offset the cost of operation.
 
G Moffatt
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Ideas? I am a professional planner-scheduler which means that I plan how to apply technology to specific goals, determine what the most time and cost effective way to do the project, and track the project to measure the effectiveness of the plan. Needless to say most of my time is spent tracking and reporting which leaves me lots of time to think. I also have a degree in history and sporadic interest in science fiction and science as it applies to technology. From history I know that one problem we face is the term of our investment: all of the thing we will need to accomplish will take longer than a lifetime to achieve. The only alternative is to look forward as far as we can and do what we are able. The lesson from the colonization of the 'new world' that for individuals, usually, wishful and selfish thinking cause death and loss compounded by dishonesty. The only real path is some kind of pay-it-forward ethic which looks for returns to future generations and future civilization. This does not preclude profit, it just precludes exclusivity. We have to put the control of the future in the hands of the 'colonists' in direct contrast to the drama of 'the west'. This applies to every part of the future and future civilization. One thing, one machine, that will be vital is some kind of robot with a common copyright (or copyleft). I would like to see a robot digger, if you will a 'robot armadillo'. Such a machine could do many generalized tasks, including packing tires and leveling ground. We already have robots that carry things from here to there. There you have it.
 
Eric Thompson
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R Scott wrote:There are a lot of things that need the Goldilocks machine--you have a solution by hand (fine for a"feel good" fake reduce your footprint spa workshop) or a half million dollar machine to do it industrial scale, but nothing for the homestead scale.

Things like:
vegetable oil press for making fuel (or food).
sorghum/cane press for sugar
material sifter--needed for compost and cob.
planters and seeders for bigger than hand planting but not doing 40 acre fields
Harvesters for the same scale



I agree that a lot of these "mid scale" processing machines need some investment! Some specifics I can think of in addition to the oil press: nut cracker that will operate at about 100lb/hour - hazelnuts, walnuts, etc - sorting would be a big plus too! Continuous cider press that takes the batch element out - something about 50 gal per hour with a good waste discharge.
 
Kat Green
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Robocomposter: I have one. She is a goat. Works great!
 
Ken Peavey
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I had a bull.
Self-propelled, no fuel, no parts, no maintenance, covered the entire area, hands free operation.
 
alex Keenan
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You may wish to look overseas.
You will find many solutions being employed overseas in the third world that are unavailable in the developed world.
You do not need to reinvent the wheel just make a good one at a good price I can actually purchase.
 
Kat Green
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I vote for the deep well driller. Imagine how many people all over the world need water! It could save thousands of lives. The U.S. government would buy the plans and send it with humanitarian organizations to build in third world countries. You would be my pic for the International Humanitarian Award. A lifetime achievement!
 
allen lumley
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Kat Green : Under the heading of 'be careful what you wish for'! We have a long history of using the best technology in the wrong way take a look at >

Http//www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenic_contamination_of_groundwater Highlite the Bold part, and right click to open in the Address Window,

or as a GoogleSearch ! For the Good of the Cause ! Big AL !
 
Jason Learned
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I would love to see a water powered pelletizer. I know it takes energy to make pellets and there may be better ways. I also know that with pellets that are cheap we can automate many things using biomass for the fuel. A regulated rocket stove for one. Think of cooking on a rocket stove where you turn a dial to increase or decrease heat instead of high or super high. Flash steam boilers may be more attainable with pellets. I know there is the boom squish problem, but design and safety features can remedy that.

 
Ken Peavey
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In another thread, Kevin Murphy is talking about an Agricultural Robot.
 
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