This is a story about people who build their own machines. It’s a story about people who, due to necessity and/or conscious choice, do not buy commercial equipment to work their lands or animals, but who invent, create and adapt machines to their specific needs: for harvesting legumes, for hammering poles, for hitching tools onto tractors.
Van Bo Le-Mentzel has invented all kinds of useful things, among others, do-it-yourself blueprints for furniture and tiny houses. He has become known for social DIY projects such as “Hartz IV1 Möbel,” the Unreal Estate House,2 and the One-Square-Meter House.3 He is now transferring the concept of these projects – unconditional freedom to use something for one’s own purposes – to his own life and that of his family with a campaign called #dScholarship that he started in 2014.
As an open source tractor, the Oggún uses common, off-the-shelf parts; uses the same components and subcomponents in multiple pieces of equipment; uses locally sourced parts, where possible; uses simplistic designs that allow the user to make unique adaptation and modifications.
One year ago, without any discernable tech skills or any practical experience within the fields of open hardware, free software or free culture, I embarked on a project to try to live as ‘open source’ as possible for a whole year.
If you stick your head out of the door and sniff the zeitgeist, it definitely seems there is a resurgence of creative design for social change.