With the growing trend of converted shipping container homes popping up all over town, re:char has decided to join the revolution, but with a twist; we are building a metal workshop out of a shipping container instead. Complete with lighting, ventilation, electrical wiring, re:char’s container will house a most exciting spin on the shipping container phenomenon: a CNC plasma table. The idea is to create a completely modular, replicable, portable workshop, send it to our base in rural Western Kenya, and begin testing production of our climate kiln (known by our Kenyan customers as Rutuba, kiswalhili for “soil fertility”), iterating our designs, and expanding our product line and scope. re:char believes that previous efforts to bring products to the developing world have failed due to “engineering at a distance.” We are confident that by bringing our production directly to our customers, we will have insight into local needs along with a flexibility to fill those needs.

and we want your suggestions on equipment and supplies to augment the shipment. We’ll be sending a 20′ shipping container from Austin, Texas to Bungoma, a city in Western Kenya. The primary goal will be constructing a metal working facility where we will fabricate our biochar kilns for sale to farmers, and we want to make the shop as versatile as possible.

Thus far, we’ve definitively spent ~$8,000 of our $20,000 budget, mainly on a used plasmacam 4’x4′ CNC with 2 plasma cutters, and allocated <20% of our space.

Here’s a taste of our equipment list:

cnc table w/ backup supplies
desktop computer
Diesel Generator
welding equipment
band saw, full + handheld
compressor, full + portable
power supply scrubber
oxyacetylene torches
saws, table + chop
soldering iron
projector w/ spare bulb
shop fans
drill press, hand drill, corded + cordless
kinect (3d scanning)
webcams and laser pointers (3d scanning #2)

What are we missing that we just shouldn’t be without?

We’ll have access to (dirty) grid power, standard industrial building materials, and (slow, expensive) shipping from the West.

Please leave us a comment to add your ideas to the spreadsheet along with your broader thoughts on the project below. We’ll read everything, incorporate the best suggestions, and let you know what our final inventory becomes.

We set sail September 3rd, so don’t delay!

Interested? check out our posts on hack-a-day and instructables.

3 Responses to Shop-in-a-Box

  1. Andrew Crane-Droesch August 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Great to hear that you guys are coming along!

  2. Ruben Presuel September 4, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    Hola Abby mucho exito, algo similar podriamos iniciar en la zona maya de Yucatan. saludos, Ruben

  3. Solarbobky September 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Too late for the first iteration, but how about a ring/tube roller. I'm drooling over Baileigh's RM10: