They've re-invented the tractor and 3-point / PTO implements, but they've done so very VERY poorly, there are no instructions, everything is hand-wavy, etc.
It's condescending bullshit by "designers" who want to help third worlders with no realization that the best approach for an actual third worlder is to buy a used / discount version of the commercially available product.
For example, their cement mixer design is 25% done (whatever that means), and is going to cost about $1,000 in parts alone, or $1,800 in parts and labor.
Here's one that attaches to a tractor for $900 http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200660639_200... and you can find similar items even cheaper on Alibaba.
A lot of these "let's help people farm!" websites are made by people who don't know anything about anything but seem to be compelled to do something so that they're "helping".
People who do this sort of thing as a hobby just want to feel good and are looking for distractions. A tractor that takes 600 hours to complete and requires extensive access to manufacturing equipment and the knowledge to use it? Great! Think about how much fun I'll have creating blue prints and what not!
Meanwhile if I just needed an actual tractor, there is one rusting in someone's field I can grab off craigslist. It's twice my age but with some basic tools it will run again and will continue to work until long after my death.
It isn't just "farming" (more like gardening for most of these people) that this suffers. It's always cool to see someone's "make your own XYZ for your motorcycle" video on YouTube. But then you realize they just used a turret mill and a metal lathe to make a part you can buy for $100 on Amazon. Just the tooling they used costs over $100. And oh yeah, the part just has to be waited on for Amazon to ship it to me with free shipping via prime.
I build stuff in my free time, but I don't pretend it's cost effective or even a good use of my time. It's just a way to pass the time.
I have consciously spent tens of thousands of dollars on tools to be more capable of building things for myself (bad Return on cash). But some of the stuff these people make and have access to astounds me.
Except nowadays it is more like "I just went over to my uncle's job that night where we used a $1.5 million CNC machine his employer owns to make a replacement from solid stainless"
Paying a bunch of engineers, farmers, designers etc, that would otherwise be working on farm equipment to design farm equipment blueprints in and open way is an amazing idea. Do they have to be in the field, in a hut they built themselves talking about grand moonshots like changing the world economy or developing lives for the third world. Absolutely not. I agree with you that this seems like developers thinking they know better how to fix the world than those working in it.
So yeah, OpenHardware is cool and it should exist, but it's not going to replace commercial endeavors anytime soon and it's not practical for anything but a hobby today. There's no reason we can't have the Linux conjugate bulldozer option at some point in the future though.
...which I would ABSOLUTELY build, if there were plans.
OBTW, tangential, but if this kind of thing gets you excited, check out this guy (Doug Jackson, aka "SV Seeker"), building a 70 foot long steel boat in his backyard.
Maybe regulation would fix this, but it doesn't seem most consumers care for it anyway. Fixing things yourself today is hindered by regulation more than it's helped.
A lot of times, people will even pay you to haul that kind of stuff off for them, if they don't know what they have.
Interesting thing about the little old tractors, they were generally just the engine & transmission, with a seat stuck on top of the transmission and wheels attached. No real body or frame to speak of, it was all drivetrain. See this pic for an example: https://cdn1.mecum.com/auctions/gf0311/gf0311-103923/images/...
If somebody want to improve the world and help poorest they should just invent ways to produce those inexpensively and sell them in poor areas. Productivity will skyrocket.
He sits on the transmission.
I grew up on a farm in the 60's, before the era of AC and GPS controlled tractors. Most everything was fixable on the farm with a pretty minimal tool chest
Once you attach an implement, then there are all kinds of other functions that it may be used for, like variable rate application. In harvesting applications, there are systems where the combine can take over control of the grain cart tractor while unloading on the go to make sure it stays in the right spot, again localized via GPS. The combine itself will also map the crop yields by its location, and of course automatic steering like the tractors have.
With RTK these tractors can achieve centimetre accuracy and repeatability which opens the door for all kinds of possibilities.
Not to say that plowing, etc isn't exciting work, but with the tractor doing most of the work, you can rock out to tunes in your AC environment. When they install the GPS steering, there is a free minifridge. :-)
If you want to know why a compact tractor costs more than a new car that's a large part of the reason. These are things made to be abused day-in and day-out.
We ended up picking up a '81 Ford that has more than 2000 hours and still runs like a champ.
Old ones are little more than engine, transmission and maybe hydraulics.
My tractor is about five years old, but the haying implements I hook on (specifically, the New Holland 271 baler) are about as old as I am (45).
If that SJH TED guy actually depended on an ag livelihood which necessitated functioning equipment, maybe they'd been able to dogfood workable designs to be almost as good as commercial products, or at least not as terrible as solar roadways. Instead, they have a wiki for a Moller, which will stay unrealized... forever.
The point is not to get a cheap tractor, or even a good one.
The point is not to have a tractor you can service.
The point is to have a shared platform.
If you buy a random used tractor and mod it, and I buy a different one, the probability that your mod is compatible with my tractor is low.
If I am just as skilled as you at designing and fabricating parts, maybe that's ok.... I can just adapt your plans to my machine.
With open source hardware, though, you can be a skilled machine designer, release detailed plans, and then a less skilled designer can come along, follow your fabrication instructions, and have a chance that your mod will work on their hardware.
Open sourcing the plans is essentially providing an standard API for the machine.
If you are satisfied that the existing market for farm equipment gives you an optimally efficient process already, then this is of no benefit to you.
If you are a tinkerer and would like to build off a community of tinkerers to design new workflows for your operation, you might find an open source hardware project valuable.
2) no environmental regulations
3) governmental policies
5) lower costs of living relative to the west
6) less barriers to entry and less middlemen sucking out money
9) government regulation governing the contents of those raw materials e.g. Prop 65.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myf_bJv20NE touches on it (26 minutes in). That you can order a chip you need... and its made a few blocks away.
Detroit (and the midwest auto industry) used to be like this - where whatever you needed was fairly close already. Not so much anymore. I'd have to dig up the cost difference in a slack (I asked about it), but IIRC, the majority of the price difference was not the difference in the cost of labor on a $30 item, but that at the scale things are being made the logistics isn't as expensive (you can buy 1000 chips and get them in a day or so rather than needing to buy 10,000 chips and needing for them to be shipped from 1000 miles away that will get here next week).