Tunisian-German Cooperation: How to build Open Source CNC Machines and Laser cutters?

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Tunis, November, 2023, Participants of Open Source Hardware Building Workshops at CETTEX and at CETIBA learned how to build CNC machines and Laser Cutters, so that they are able to use, maintain, advance, modify and repair the machines on their own in the future.

The New Production Institute of the Helmut Schmidt University / University of the Federal Armed Forces is implementing an Open Laboratory for Digital Manufacturing to promote innovation and local value creation with digital fabrication tools towards an Industry 4.0 in Tunisia. This activity is part of the National Initiative “Towards an Industry 4.0 Tunisia” launched by the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, supported by the Special initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition” – Invest for Jobs of the German federal ministry for Economic cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Digital Transformation Program of the GIZ Tunisia in partnership with experts from Helmut Schmidt University.

The training workshops were implemented for consultants from industrial technical centers as part of the project to set up an “Open Laboratory for Digital Manufacturing” at technical centers in Tunisia. The open digital manufacturing lab (OpenLab Tunisia) will be a space for experiencing and experimenting with relevant digital manufacturing technologies in the hardware domain bringing different stakeholders and partners together. Together with the project partners, the participants in the current workshops are therefore building open source machines themselves as part of the digital machinery of the future Lab. The workshops were organized by the project management of Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Germany. The workshops were conducted by the open source hardware specialist InMachines Ingrassia GmbH in cooperation with Fab619, an open source hardware specialist in Tunisia. The project is funded by GIZ.

The specific goal of these workshops was to build a CNC machine and a laser cutter with participants of Tunisia’s technical centers. These CNC machines can be used for manufacturing parts of medium complexity made of wood, plastic, or metal, such as furniture, metal gears or other components for machines, as well as the creation of more artistic items.

The Open Source machines are cheaper than comparable commercial machines given that its development is shared among a large community, lowering the development costs. But also due to low maintenance costs, given that all the documentation, including blueprints and specifications are available online for free. This also makes these types of machines extremely attractive, because by having all the documentation at hand it is possible to understand and adapt the machines for new tasks for a specific use case.

The project manager Dr. rer. nat. Juan M. Grados Luyando of the New Production Institute at the Helmut Schmidt University describes the importance of the actual step as follows:

“With these last workshops focusing on CNC machines and laser cutting, we are one step closer to complete the setup of the OpenLab at CETTEX as well as to fulfill our goal of providing the knowledge and machines to the different Technical Centers in Tunisia. We are excited to open the OpenLab space to the community of talented engineers in the Technical Centers and see how they come up with new creative ways of solving industry problems with these digital manufacturing machines.”

Photos by GIZ Tunisia

Video: CNC Workshop by GIZ Tunisia

Read more about the project via: https://newproductioninstitute.de/digital4jobs