Make Magazine has a great profile of Pat Delany, a self taught builder of low cost machine tools. He has mined much of his knowledge from 19th and early 20th century DIY publications. His work on these tools led him to the Appropriate Technology movement. In his words:
It’s strange, but at my advanced age I realize that machine tools are about all that I believe in. The lathe, shaper, and mill built the foundation of our current standard of living and there is no reason why a cheap and easy-to-build multipurpose tool could not help the 500 million people that need simple water pumps or the billion people who live on a dollar a day or less. Thanks for getting a crazy old man started.
Excellent work, Pat!