Why?

Why would anyone or a Community want a mini factory?

(see Use Cases)

While I think there are a couple hundred reasons, the main purposes to have local manufacturing can be summarized as follows:

  • Resilience – if you can make anything in the catalog locally, your less dependent on outside economic influences.
  • Recycling – the ability to convert materials into parts can also mean the ability to recycle local material pools for much greater circular materials usage.
  • Predictable availability – making things in China, out of materials mined in Africa, is not a particularly sensible way to have reliable access to essential goods, given there are lots of long fragile supply chains.
  • Cost – if you fabricate things locally, out of recycled materials, the cost is materials + energy with the materials cost potentially getting lower each cycle, some labor my be necessary, but reduces as more repetitive tasks are automated away.
  • Independence – big, centralized manufacturers have to make a profit. Local, community manufacturing can be based on different goals: such as community food security, access to technology, community well being, etc.

These examples may illustrate why I’m fixated on this solution:

  1. Throwaway culture: As all the efforts at “Right to Repair” illustrate, Corporate vendors of goods need an infinite market to stay viable.

The problem with this is obvious, we live in a finite framework, so its lunacy to even briefly assume that infinite sales is a viable concept.

Creating spares as needed from templates short circuits corporate control over repairing goods, weather it be an antique clock, an irrigation pump or components for your communities greenhouse, or a smart phone. The right to use technology to improve your own life should be local, not doled out by corporate gatekeepers.

2. Reward for innovation. in this paradigm: if you create something useful via a digital template, it pays a small royalty every time someone makes that thing. usefulness IS incentivized. “Costs” are set not by some gatekeeper, or arbitrary financial calculation, but instead by the cost of (hopefully recycled) materials and energy. Due to localizing the manufacturing, Labor, shipping, packaging and advertising can approach zero for the produced goods.

I will add more reasons periodically.

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