Multimachine — truck-parts-based machine shop for Africa

The MultiMachine Group at Yahoo! Groups carries plans for “The Multi-Machine” which is

an accurate all-purpose machine tool that can be built by a semi-skilled mechanic with just common hand tools.

Open Source Multi-Machine

Multi-machines are 3 in 1 machines based on old car engine blocks (a 3-in-1 machine is usually a combination of a metal lathe, mill and drill press). The machines are designed such that they use the tolerances and engineering initially used to create the engine block that is re-purposed as the core of the tool to help guarantee that various components of the machine integrate with a high level of precision.

The machines have a design that not only allows them to be assembled using “elbow grease” but that also allow them to run on alternative power sources where mains electricity is not available. They are also easily adaptable to new purposes by adding on modules.

Plans to build a multi-machine can be found at this link at the The Open Source Machine website.

(via BoingBoing)

Author: Ntwiga

I am a committed technophile and music lover - you can find my blog over at

13 thoughts on “Multimachine — truck-parts-based machine shop for Africa”

  1. The boingboing picture is a little misleading because it shows storebought stuff on the MultiMachine that I used when I was developing it. The “How to Build” book on my Yahoo group site has great plans for building a version of the MultiMachine using only broken engine blocks, discarded driveshaft parts, steel bar stock, and concrete mix. Tooling can be made from broken drill bits. The bearings/bushings, etc., are simple castings made from pouring a mix of zinc and aluminum into holes in sand, a Bronze Age technique. Machining is done on a “temporary” lathe the builder makes, and holes can be drilled with a version of a blacksmith’s drill in use as far back as the 1850s that I “updated” so that it can be made from two tree stumps. Electricity is needed neither to build nor to operate the MultiMachine.

    My message is simple: If you’re good at working with tools, opportunity may be close at hand – no matter how poor you are or what area of the world you live in.

    Pat Delany

  2. Thanks for this post! What an interesting machine. I’d love to build one of these and get proficient in using it in the future.

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