The guys at Re-Char, a small startup that makes carbon-negative products, were faced with a problem. They wanted to ship products to Kenya, but the options available were wasteful, costly, and not nearly as efficient as simply manufacturing near to the customers. To do it, in a place with little industry or infrastructure, Re-Char designed something new—a fully functioning, off-the-grid factory inside a shipping container.
It worked. It worked so well, in fact, that Re-Char will now send the self-sufficient, open-source Shop-in-a Box anywhere in the world. It's hard to exaggerate how significantly life can change for a community once one of these shipping containers shows up.
Brent reported live from Burning Man, in a possibly fruitless attempt to convince Joe that this trip should not come out of his vacation time.
Like the gang from ReAllocate, Re-Char came to Burning Man to prove a product could work in a harsh environment. In this example, the Shop-in-a-Box performed rapid fabrication, using software to make quick designs, and then turned to a CNC plasma torch to cut the pattern out of a sheet of steel. The two-foot long demo, a Gizmodo logo, was cut out in about a minute. It was damned impressive, but what was the point?