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Looking to the Future – Manufacturing

The next article in our series ‘Looking to the Future‘ is Manufacturing.

Once we are on our feet and are acquiring adequate food and have sufficient clean water we will look at making things more efficiently. This generally means mass production or manufacturing facilities where we have someone repeatedly doing the same task or making the same item and selling or storing the output only making more as and when they have ran out of stock and they are required. The saving is that the preparation work, the tooling and the materials can be processed up front without the hassle of inexperienced people making mistakes. You harness a horse and plough twenty acres rather than just one. The harnessing, grooming and washing down being done once instead of twenty times by different people.

The next stage though is manufacturing, machinery like lathes and mills can be made from scratch if you do not have one and these can be used to make more sophisticated units. We can also make power generators, pumps and other infrastructure items. Bearing in mind that the raw materials available to us are going to have to be locally available, either sourced or stored, until we start importing raw materials. When that is going to happen is dependant on so many factors we will have no idea about. Because of this we need to consider storing as much raw material as we can. For most of us though this will be impractical, both the cost and storage facilities will put it out of our reach. A viable alternative is of course to scavenge raw materials from supply yards. Few people will be looking at these places as they will be out looking for food.

I do not see us getting to the same level of manufacturing as we are now for a very long time. However, basics such as plates, cutlery, pipes, barrels, guns, forestry and agricultural tools will be a good start and should be achievable at a very low technology level until we can rebuild more advanced equipment and technology. Although I suspect your iPad replacement is a very long way away.

As part of your basics you should have some basic equipment;

  • A hammer (My favourite tool, also called a half inch adjustable)
  • Drills
  • Drill press
  • Grinder
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Files
  • Saws
  • Snips
  • Punches
  • Measuring tapes
  • Wrenches
  • Soldering iron
  • A vice
  • Bolt cutters
  • Hex keys
  • Spanners

With associated hardware;

  • A million;
    • Nuts
    • Bolts
    • Screws
    • Nails
  • Hinges
  • Hasps
  • Door locks and Bolts
  • Padlocks

In addition seriously consider, along with all the other options, the viability of putting aside some advanced equipment;

  • A wooden lathe
  • A potters wheel
  • A metal lathe
  • A milling machine
  • A furnace
  • Welding gear

As well as some raw materials that cannot be found locally;

  • Steel rods
  • Concrete tiles
  • Roofing Tiles
  • Plumbing;
    • Pipes
    • Taps
    • Valves
    • Barrels
  • Poles
  • Wood
  • Plastic sheeting

With these items our progress will be accelerated. Without we will be short of vital tools and components. Do what you can but remember, living is your primary objective.

Next up is Financial.

7 comments to Looking to the Future – Manufacturing

  • fred

    I do not see us getting to the same level of manufacturing as we are now for a very long time.

    It’s more a case, as you’ve laid out, at getting production started in the things which count.

  • Skean Dhude

    Fred,

    Exactly, and building it up. It will develop and improve as time goes on. We may even take different paths because of resource issues. It is quite interesting in a theoretical way.

  • Anthony

    I think you are far to pessimistic about what would happen. I imagine one of the most likely scenarios are pandemic. Imagine only 1% or less of the population are left. There would be mass panic and starvation. Assuming Preppers survive the immediate dangers. I’m not going to hitch up a plough to a horse and plough a field for myself and my family. I’ll use an abandoned tractor and plough acres and acres of all sorts of food stuffs. Then use that food as currency to get the local population to do jobs that they are good at; mechanics mending, doctors healing etc. We don’t all need to toil in the dirt forever. We need to learn how to make replacement parts for cars, tractors etc… until we get there there will be loads of Unused machines laying around to cannabalise.

    • Skean Dhude

      I understand but I look at it like contents insurance. I look at what is the biggest risks I think I will happen and buy insurance that will cover that. It will handle all the smaller risks fine.

  • Ysbryd

    The way I see it is that we will need the knowledge of “how to” far earlier then we expect… My background was engineering and prototyping long before I went into farming. Most of you will never master the skills necessary to manufacture even the simplest parts that you would need to effect basic mechanical repairs on a piece of garden machinery like a chainsaw…..accept that as it’s free advice, given with the best will and not intended to cause offence. Better to set up a database of where those parts or replacement tools will be available after the shit hits the fan.
    Unless you really know what you’re doing in a workshop, you’re just an accident waiting to happen. I know a university tutor who is supposedly intelligent but managed to lose three fingers in an accident with a pillar drill because he ignored the need to learn the basics. You can’t afford the luxury of learning the hard way.

    • Skean Dhude

      Agree. That is why I look at my preps in two ways. As a filler while we wait for things to get back to normal. Power outage for example or a minor disaster. (If there is such a thing) and as a net so we can adapt to our new environment without the sudden shock of having everything removed. Your chainsaw example is that I can use a chainsaw now but chances are it will run out of fuel before it breaks so I look at alcohol and have spare parts but if something major goes I have saws which also have a shelf live. Reducing my standard all the time till I have to chew the trees down. My preps are based around the fact that I will not be able to live at the same standard as I do now but I don’t want a total shock nor have to live without if it is temporary.

  • ysbryd

    And at the root of technology we’ll find ourselves felling trees with an axe, splitting it with wedges and shaping it with adze and draw knives…

    …it all depends on how far back we get thrown by whatever happens

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