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CNC Laser Cut Parts and Stainless Steel GEKs

We’ve recently moved to a CNC laser cutter solution for sourcing the raw gek metal parts.  For the last two years we’ve been making these in house with a CNC plasma cutter, but our throughput has outgrown the reasonableness of the plasma cutter solution.

Fortunately we can use the same files to outsource to a CNC laser cutting house, and have everything show up done, clean and nicely taped together in bunches on a pallet.  The locals find this MUCH superior and do not miss the de-slagging, re-drilling and general fussing with each piece off the plasma cutter by hand.  Abram, Nick, Ben and Johnny would’ve been here for the above pictures, but they were out celebrating at the local bar, telling war stories of our CNC plasma table (tales of both love and hate).

So hurray for desktop manufacturing and outsourcing (all the way to southern California).  It continues to amaze me how accessible CAD/CAM/CNC tools have made complex manufacturing processes that used to only be available at the mass scale with large capitalization.  The GEK manufacturing process would not have been possible just 10 years ago.

The full gallery of CNC laser cut parts is here:

As you can see, we’ve sourced the parts in both mild steel and 304 stainless steel.  We can now provide GEKs in all stainless for those who want it as such.  The default and value optimized GEK is a mix of mild and stainless steel.  We only use the exotics where they are really needed, and minimize stainless for price optimization and reduction in shop health issues around working it regularly.  But for those who really, really can’t live without their stainless indulgence, and find it pleasing to pay extra for the indulgence, we now agree to indulge.  We can now provide any GEK reactor or add-on you want in stainless, finished with a fancy brushed surface.  Prices are on average about 50% more for the stainless versions.  Inquire to for the details.

BEK at Biochar Conference at Ames, Iowa State University

Full gallery here:

Bear Kaufmann Reports:

All Power Labs attended the Biochar 2010: U.S. Biochar Initiative Conference in Ames, Iowa this past week.  We brought with us a full GEK TOTTI and Biochar Experimenters Kit (BEK) for consideration and Q&A.  We now have the BEK in 5 university and research sites, and hope it will soon become a meaningful platform for comparative biochar research.  Recently we launched a BEK wiki, which will soon grow into a parallel biochar information resource like the GEK wiki and forum.  See here for the beginnings:

The conference was host to many major researchers on biochar including Johannes Lehmann, Christoph Steiner, Stephen Joseph, and others exploring the potential for biochar to be a potential component of sustainable agriculture and energy production, including Gloria Floria and Hunter Lovins.

There were a number of recurring themes in the presentations at the conference.

One of the final plenary talks was given by Laurens Rademakers of Biochar Fund which is working to reduce deforestation in Africa (Cameroon, Congo) by improving agriculture yields and minimizing the pressure by farmers to clear additional forest for farming.

Iowa State hosted the conference, feeding attendees with ample supplies of local and corn-based foods and showing their facilities and research on bio-energy and biochar.  More information on the conference is here:  Hopefully the papers and posters will be up here soon.

The gallery of all our photos from the conference is here: If you were there, feel free to add more.

Get your own BEK and join the learning and testing over the biochar proposition.  Details of acquisition are available via email post to

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