PALESTINE, Texas, March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
A technology project spearheaded by a 76-year-old retired businessman in Texas hopes to jump-start metal work and small manufacturing at the village and neighborhood level throughout the developing world.
Drawing inspiration from century-old metal machining techniques and the modern open-source software development model, the project provides a build-it-yourself toolkit of plans that will enable artisans in the developing world to build and repair their own agricultural and other essential equipment.
Assisted by his 6400 member world-wide group of machinists and engineers collaborating through a Yahoo Group, Pat Delany has spent years researching and experimenting with machine tools and techniques appropriate for resource-poor developing areas. In the process, he has revived several ideas that were eclipsed in the West by the mass-production model more than a century ago but are still extremely useful for building mechanical self-sufficiency and a small manufacturing base outside of a major industrial economy.
The core of the MultiMachine project is a detailed instruction set for building the essential tools of a basic machine shop -- a screw cutting metal lathe, drill press and milling machine -- out of inexpensive materials easily available throughout the developing world. Metalworking lathes in particular are necessary for the production of almost all tools and other manufactured goods but are very expensive.
In 1915, special lathes made from concrete were developed to quickly and cheaply produce millions of cannon shells needed for World War I. Lucien Yeomans, the inventor, won America's highest engineering award for this invention, but sadly the technique was almost forgotten after the war. Delany and his collaborators re-discovered it and recognized it as a way to quickly make inexpensive but accurate machine tools for use in developing countries and in trade schools and shops everywhere. Besides concrete, the MultiMachine requires only a steel bar, used pipe and discarded engine pistons.
The project draws on the ethos of the open source software movement in that the instruction kit is available free for anyone to access. The accurate machine tools can be built and by anyone with good mechanical skills, common mechanic's tools and a hand or powered drill.
The machines can be built in sizes that will fit on a desktop or in those the sizes of railroad cars.
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SOURCE Pat Delany