Winter Session January 14th – March 8th, 2013
The Transition Technology Series is a two month study in 5 different areas laying technological foundations for those embracing or supporting a homesteading lifestyle.
Each week is split between in-class instruction, hands-on application and independent study. Classes follow a five module curriculum of electrical, mechanical, thermal, and kinetic subject matter.
The 8 week course will take students on a tour of practical skills useful in building and maintaining a farmstead.
Week 1: Scaled Electrical Systems
The course begins with an in depth study of off grid lighting and ventilation system for tiny houses, being universally code compliant. Using their personal tool kits that include a meter and soldering iron, practice and experimentation yields wiring, and soldering skills.
Week 2: Metal Working for Farmers
In this week we will practice metal fabrication and repairs, touching on the main methods of electric and gas welding, with an eye on farm repairs. Practice will include fabrication of a metal livestock pen, repairs of broken tractor parts, and the construction of the rare and useful Chinese wheelbarrow from used bike parts. We will visit the Bike Church, were many different appropriate transport projects are underway.
Week 3: Greenhouse Construction System
In this week students will learn how to make medium sized scalable greenhouses, their fabrication tools, and how to raise the structure, which promises to be useful in any farming community. The week will begin with the construction of a pipe bending tool. With this tool, we will make pipe arches 20′ wide that will serve as the skeleton of our greenhouse. Additionally we will discuss entrepreneurial business aspects of on site construction such as bidding and scheduling.
Week 4: Distillation Lab
Students will learn historic methods of creating useful and valuable substances through pyrolysis and distillation. Using the Demonstration Still that each student will build and keep, we will make turpentine, white vinegar, and denatured alcohol. We will touch on the manufacture of charcoal and wood tar as a preservative for timbers, and will demonstrate the conversion of common wastes into gasoline and diesel. Practice will be building distillation equipment, making liquids, and treating timbers with wood tar preservative that we have made.
Week 5: Ancient and Modern Metalworking
The known history of metalworking will be explored, with demonstrations and open lab. We will build a farm-scale forge out of salvaged materials then create the charcoal for that forge. Practice will be centered around creation of forged hardware useful for natural building, such as hinges latches hooks and blades. Additionally, we will build and use a Celtic forge, learn “bush welding” that utilizes materials at hand to repair metals in the field, and discover ways to heat and bend metals almost anywhere.
Week 6: Alternate Power Machinery
In this section, we will discover practical methods of replacing grid tied machinery with human and water power. We will build a water wheel, and a work on a variety of machines, such as a washing machine, cargo bike, oil press, and others.
Week 7 and 8: Open Shop
During these two weeks, tools and guidance will be available for construction of devices explored in previous weeks. The student will arrange for materials during this period if they intend to take their unit home with them.
Depending on availability and the order in which you sign-up, either a room in the strawbale dormitory or camping facilities will be provided. Tuition includes the cost of all local organic food. Lunches will be prepared. There is access to showers, a kitchen, hiking trails, and relaxation space. If you have any questions please email Neil Kearns for more details.
Cost: $2650 ($500 deposit)