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Bwb-book-mockup-no-bg.png New book Building a Better World in Your Backyard Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys Check currently being funded on Kickstarter. (sponsored friend).


From today's featured article

Jane Goodall, September 2011
There would be very little point in my exhausting myself and other conservationist themselves in trying to protect animals and habitats if we weren't at the same time raising young people to be better stewards.

Jane GoodallW

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Dremelfuge
Open source 3-D printing of OSAT. There have been a number of open source 3D printers, such as the RepRap developed. The basic idea for this project is to use them as tools to create OSAT in the field to help the goals of sustainable development. Prices on 3D printers are dropping rapidly.

An example of how these 3D printers can be used to meet these goals is the DremelFuge. The Dremelfuge is brilliant Open Source Hardware project developed by Cathal Garvey in Ireland. The DremelFuge is a printable rotor for centrifuging standard microcentrifuge tubes and miniprep columns. It is at least 10 times less expensive than a standard centrifuge and can be used by field workers in doing things like blood tests, but also by DYI biologists and educators. It requires industry standard 1.5ml/2ml Eppendorf/Microcentrifuge tubes.

  • Used with a drill at 3000 RPM, the Dremelfuge will deliver over 400g, enough to comfortably spin down Miniprep samples (proven personally). It will likely achieve acceptable results at lower speeds, too.
  • Used at 10krpm, on a Rotary tool for instance, a Dremelfuge should deliver over 4400g, more than enough to spin down bacterial cells.
  • At 16krpm, Dremelfuge matches commercial centrifuges.
  • On a Dremel 300, a maximum speed of 33krpm equates to a force of over 50,000 times earth's gravity, which puts it into so-called "Ultracentrifuge" territory. The latest version (as printed by Shapeways) has successfully spun tubes at this speed.

Highlighted project

Home biogas system (Philippine BioDigesters)

"It can be built as a : Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project where expert masonry skills are not required" and "by using common and inexpensive materials available anywhere."

Kiva's straw bale greenhouse
An alternative or natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality. Natural building tends to rely on human labor, more than technology. As Michael G. Smith observes, it depends on "local ecology, geology and climate; on the character of the particular building site, and on the needs and personalities of the builders and users."

The basis of natural building is the need to lessen the environmental impact of buildings and other supporting systems, without sacrificing comfort, health or aesthetics. To be more sustainable, natural building uses primarily abundantly available, renewable, reused or recycled materials. The use of rapidly renewable materials is increasingly a focus. In addition to relying on natural building materials, the emphasis on the architectural design is heightened. The orientation of a building, the utilization of local climate and site conditions, the emphasis on natural ventilation through design, fundamentally lessen operational costs and positively impact the environmental. Building compactly and minimizing the ecological footprint is common, as are on-site handling of energy acquisition, on-site water capture, alternate sewage treatment and water reuse.

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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Fall 2008: Full Belly Project: The Fall 2008 semester of Engineering 215 worked with the Full Belly Project to adapt their Universal Nut Sheller in the following three manners:

Fall 2008 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - Full Belly Project
The LC sheller
Innovating concrete with sawdust and clay to lower the costs and weight using materials available in some parts of Western Africa  
The Full Bell
Improves the original UNS by reducing the cost and increasing durability of the sheller  
Hot Dang Plastic Encasement
Waste plastic bags available in Haiti cleaned, cut, crocheted and ironed into a hard plastic mold  
Pressed Plastic
A process to thermoform waste plastic bags to form molds for nut shellers using resources available in Haiti  
Nutsy
Shaped like an acorn the Nutsy aims to be a smaller, more portable, and more aesthetically pleasing version of the UNS for marketing within the US  
Multiplicity
Smaller U.S. prototype with exchangeable rotors for different size nuts  
Simple Simon
Smaller US prototype made from wood and aluminum  

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