20 August 2010

Getting Serious About Your Survival Compound's Machines

When the infrastructure of society collapses, there will be no parts stores ready to ship your order by overnight FedEx or UPS. If you are serious about keeping your sophisticated machines running for perhaps a year or more without access to outside replacement parts, you will need a heavy duty -- although compact -- metal working facility. Here is a description of such a facility used by the military in the field, by special ops units.
U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has adopted an old U.S. Army concept to create mobile workshops (MTCs or Mobile Technology Complex) that can fix exotic gear (which SOCOM has a lot of), modify their special gear, or even create something new. The MTC is a modified (with new some gear) version of the decade old U.S. Army MPH (Mobile Parts Hospital).

The MPH was developed when the army realized that the easiest way to get the many rarely requested, but vital, replacement parts to the troops, was to manufacture the parts in the combat zone. In short order, this led to the construction of a portable parts fabrication system, called MPH, that fit into a standard 8x8x20 foot shipping container. _StrategyPage

Here is a description of such a unit made by Clegg Industries:
Three 8' x 8' x 20' custom designed facilities were built for the US Army to house a sophisticated, computer controlled manufacturing facility meeting stringent size, weight, and operational constraints; self - contained, air (C-130), ground (PLS/trailer) or rail transportable, easy to deploy and redeploy, controlled user friendly work environment.
Mobile Parts Hospital Special Features Include:

7-ton Mazak Lathe
Slide-out expandable room for extra work space
Two advanced computer CAD Workstations
High pressure independent high temperature air system
Leveling Jacks
Unique articulated flooring system
Unique heat diverter for desert operations
5 ton HVAC

Clegg Industries, Inc. Job # 233 _Clegg
Obviously there is much more equipment in the operating facility, but the description above gives you an idea of the basic platform for wartime. You will probably not require your mobile parts factory to be dropped in from a C-130, but if you expect your survival compound to run smoothly for up to a year or longer, you will need something at least as well equipped as what forward units of the military require.

This brings up an important human resource issue: You will want to be sure to have multiple persons in-compound who are skilled at various fabrication methods and machines -- including welding, milling, lathes, presses, etc. And you will want to stockpile your metal stock (and welding rods etc) in advance -- while you can shop for the best prices. You should also consider possible ways to refill your oxy-fuel tanks after depletion.

Long term survival is not just about food, water, medicines, shelter, fuel, power, trade goods, basic defense, livestock, etc. If you want to maintain the minimum of civilisation, you will need machines -- and the means to keep them operating efficiently. Parts, fluids, lubricants, fittings, adhesives, wiring, connectors, tubing, backups, piping, hoses, etc etc etc. It is not possible to think too deeply or broadly about what a survival compound or community may need.


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Blogger PRCalDude said...

I think the problem, Al, is that people don't have the 10s of thousands they can just sink into something they may never need - like machine tools. Also, you need expensive real estate to house them.

If costs of machine tools and fabrication equipment dropped by another factor of 10 it would be a different story.

Monday, 23 August, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Right. These things are expensive. But they are built to fit in standard shipping containers and to be shipped by rail or airlifted by C-130. Very compact, considering.

The assumption is that a serious catastrophe is likely to occur before nanotech-assemblers become cheap enough so that everyone can make anything he wants cheaply with the home molecular factory.

The best chances for survival in an extreme, prolonged collapse, is for people to band together and share skills and the burdens of survival -- in survival communities, campuses, or compounds.

The parts hospital idea would be suitable for a group of a dozen families or more. Surviving a long collapse will be too much work for most individuals or small groups.

Monday, 23 August, 2010  
Blogger PRCalDude said...

You can actually pick up old mills and lathes for dirt cheap, but generally you have to move them yourself. Tooling is still expensive.

I'm into this resilient community idea but I just don't get how it can become a reality seeing as it's likely to be organized around people of the same race or (at least) religion. The gummint won't like that and neither will the drive-by media, at least for white people.

Monday, 23 August, 2010  

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