NPR did a piece this morning on the Open Source Ecology project:
Jakubowski moved to Missouri, where he eventually bought 30 acres in the town of Maysville. He grew wheat, raised goats and tended a fruit orchard. But then one day, his tractor broke.
“I came from an institution of higher learning, so I had no practical skills,” he says. “I picked up a welder and a torch and started using it.”
Jakubowski actually made a tractor from scratch, using square steel tubing that he bolted together.
“A tractor is basically a solid box with wheels, each with a hydraulic motor,” he says. “So, conceptually, it’s actually very simple. And when I first did it, it was like, ‘Wow, a tractor’ … I was amazed to find this actually works.”
It’s a pretty amazing effort to identify the 50 most critical machines to modern existence, and create open source versions of them that can be built from raw materials.