CubeSpawn is a straight-forward idea:
Frames, made from popular and widely available aluminum extrusion, are used to house machines that perform one step of a manufacturing process. The machines design specifications are provided as "open source" to the community of machine builders.
The frames are based on 300mm increments, so the designs are scale-able from small cells (300mm - pick and place) to medium (1.2m light milling machine or router) to large (4.8 meter - assembly robot)
Each cube is an Ethernet device so they can be linked together to form both the physical steps in a process, and the network to control and manage it, mechanical latches with integrated plugs for power and data link them together. A pallet moving system transports work though the system.
Early machines will be a light milling machine, and a small lathe in 600mm cubes to allow the system to make the structural components for additional cubes, and progressively more complex components as designs are added.
It is felt the system will begin to make its own motor controllers and other electronics in addition to many of its simpler mechanical parts early in the development cycle.
With a bootstrapping (self starting) path to automated production built from open source designs, digital fabrication, and low cost fab-lab style manufacturing,
individuals and small organizations can take advantage of contributed designs to rapidly provide commercial grade capabilities at DIY costs.
Designs for laser cutting, coordinate measuring machines, mills, routers and other fabrication equipment are already available open source, a framework to add interchangeability, automation and compatibility should simply accelerate the process of integrating these designs.
Initial CubeSpawn designs are focusing on ease of manufacturing over aesthetics, so parts are square cornered and simple.
Additional information is available at http://www.cubespawn.com