CEB Press + Power Cube Workshop 2017

August 25-27, 2017 | Factor e Farm – Maysville, MO (USA)

This intensive workshop – led by Marcin Jakubowski, founder of Open Source Ecology – is a deep immersion into Extreme Manufacturing techniques. A team of people builds a complete, 1600 lb CEB Press – in One Day. And – a complete Power Cube – also in one day.

We will be using Extreme Manufacturing (XM) techniques – This is an economically significant model of social production that OSE is pioneering – and we are interested in extending this model to the production of any manufactured product. We invite you to experience first-hand – the limits of open design and collaborative production in transforming the way people make things.

The first day is a One Day build of a complete Compressed Earth Block (CEB) Press – including installation of automatic controls and hydraulics. We are the only group in the world that produces heavy machines from scratch – in one day – using our Extreme Manufacturing techniques – and this is the experience that we are offering to the public. We use a swarming process where a team of people work in parallel on individual modules of the machine – which are then assembled rapidly into the finished product. Workshop immersion involves a crash course on design, fabrication, CAD, microcontrollers, hydraulics, open documentation, collaborative literacy, and open enterprise models.

This workshop features the open source CEB Press, recommended for wide replication – 9 years after the initial CEB prototype was built. This particular machine will go to the Design-Build Bluff project – an affordable housing student project at the University of Utah. The bill of materials cost is approximately $5000, though it could be as little as $3000 for a fully automated machine.

The OSE machine is fully automated and presses 6-10 blocks per minute – or 5000 per 8 hour shift – enough for a small house. See more information at the CEB Press wiki page.

Why use CEB for construction? See first 40 seconds:


The second day is a One Day build of a complete Power Cube – including electrical system and hydraulics.
The Power Cube consists of a gasoline engine with a hydraulic pump, which pumps hydraulic fluid at high pressure to drive any powered devices of the Global Village Construction Set. The brick press doesn’t have a built in power source, so a Power Cube is used for power as part of OSE modular design. We use this same power cube in other machines. While the Power Cube typically runs on gasoline, we will be making a solar power cube later this year, and we have already run the Power Cube on charcoal using our open source gasifier. See more Power Cube information on the wiki.

The third day will be dedicated to brick pressing, CEB construction techniques, machine testing, and data collection. Participants will get hands-on experience using the brick press with manual controls to press sample blocks using the freshly-built Power Cube. This includes mixing soil and loading the machine. We will take data points on compressive strength and production rates of block. We will demonstrate the soil preparation and production workflow for block. We will press both stabilized and unstabilized CEBs from on-site clay. However, we will not be able to press many bricks if it is raining, through we can still press some indoors in the workshop. If time allows, we will go over the best practice techniques for building CEB walls and wire mesh reinforcement to demonstrate finishing and strengthening techniques.

Because of the advantages of CEB construction, we are using a hybrid CEB + framed construction in the Open Building Institute (OBI) Seed Eco-Home. OBI is a crowd-sourced effort to make affordable, ecological housing widely accessible. OSE’s vision is that we achieve the same rapid build times as for the hybrid Seed Eco-Home (1400 square foot house built in 5 days) – but using 100% brick walls. This would be a breakthrough for CEB construction. It requires that we perfect our soil-conditioning machines.

Brick Press Improvements

We perform continuous quality improvement on our CEB machine. In this build, we are making several improvements. We are simplifying the guide system for the soil-loading drawer even further. We are also improving our parallel build technique to make the build faster. We are also implementing the most modular controller to date, which is made of standard off-the-shelf parts. We are very close to a product with build workflow so efficient that only 3 days are required for OSE to prepare and organize an XM build of the machine. The significance of this is that we would be able to run regular builds of the CEB Press in many locations worldwide, as opposed to once-per-year events at the OSE facility.

Intended Audience

The overall 3 day workshop is designed for people interested in transitioning to producers – by being exposed directly to a wide survey of productive skills. We are exploring how small-scale, digital fabrication and distributed production can be a viable model of production that exceeds the efficiency of centralized production. We do not require prior skill, as we train people on the spot by providing an immersive learning environment. Skilled participants are a plus, but not a requirement.

Our intended audience is anyone interested in gaining a breadth of hands-on build experience. Because our machine blueprints are completely open source, attending our workshop makes it easy for someone to learn how to build machines on their own. We are intterested in promoting entrepreneurship, Related enterprises can include machine fabrication, compressed earth block production, house construction, community econonomic development, and other enterprises. We are promoting the practice of Distributive Enterprise: open, libre, collaborative, ethical enterprise ecosystems that accelerate innovation and distribute economic power.

If you can’t attend the workshop because you need financial assistance, email us and we will put you on the waiting list. We will select you if a Sponsor provides funding.

You can select to participate in any one, 2 or 3 days of the workshop.

Have questions? Drop us an email: info at opensourceecology dot org





Marcin Jakubowski – Marcin was trained as a fusion physicist. He left academia right after finishing his Ph.D. to start a farm – in Missouri. For the last 7 years, he has been working on the Global Village Construction Set – a set of enabling tools and machines for building regenerative infrastructures. Marcin is passionate about creating the Open Source Economy – a new operating system for Earth. See Marcin’s bio.



Participants will be introduced to a survey of skills:

  • Module-based design
  • Design for fabrication, scalability, and lifetime design
  • Space frame construction
  • Computed-aided design – FreeCAD, LibreCAD, warehouse parts, and CAM files
  • Basic Mechanical Design
  • Fundamentals of hydraulic system design
  • Fundamentals of circuit design using KiCad
  • Workshop and workflow design
  • Fundamentals of welding, torching, and metal fabrication
  • Using an open source CNC torch table
  • Electronics assembly
  • Prototyping with a 3D printer
  • Parallel build techniques
  • Hydraulics assembly
  • Collaborative literacy, use of wiki, cloud collaborative editing
  • FreeCAD basics, part libraries, and a Construction Set approach
  • Realtime instructionals production

Note: schedule is being refined and may change slightly.

Day 1 – CEB Press Extreme Build
  • 8AM: Introduction to Machine + Build Workflow
  • 9AM: Safety Overview + Beginning of Build.
  • 12-1PM: Lunch.
  • 1-5: Afternoon build session
  • 5-6PM: Dinner
  • 6PM: Final machine assembly + quality control
Day 2 – Power Cube – Extreme Manufacturing
  • 8AM: Introduction to Machine + Build Workflow
  • 9AM: Beginning of Build.
  • 12-1PM: Lunch.
  • 1-5: Afternoon build session
  • 5-6PM: Dinner and Learnings Discussion
  • 6PM: Final machine assembly + quality control
Day 3 – Brick Pressing and CEB Construction
  • 9AM-Noon: Initial run, brick pressing, workflow data collection
  • 12-1PM: Lunch.
  • 1-5: Sample construction techiques, brick formulas
  • 5-6PM: Dinner
  • 6-8PM: Learnings, discussion, closure of CEB Press workshop

Workshop fee includes workshop tuition and some meals.


Participants may secure a hotel in Cameron, Missouri (15 miles away). Please note that there is no public transportation between Cameron and Factor e Farm and that we cannot pick you up or drop you off on a daily basis during the workshop. Car rentals are available at the KCI airport.

There is also an RV Park/campsite a couple of miles from our site for anyone interested in traveling to our event with a camper/RV.

We have 12 spots for participants who want to stay at the HabLab—our shared-room dorm. There is a $15 fee for staying at the dorm per night and spots are filled on a “first come, first served” basis. Please note that this is a very rudimentary earth building and our accommodations are rough. The dorm rooms may be noisy due to late night conversations by participants. Factor e Farm is an experimental facility that is permanently under construction, so please gauge your expectations accordingly. If you want a more comfortable stay, we recommend that you stay in a hotel.

We also have primitive camping on site which includes a composting toilet. Showers and a bathroom are located in the HabLab and there is a kitchen for basic food preparation.


The nearest airport is Kansas City International (MCI), about 1:15 hours away from Factor e Farm. FeF is located in a rural zone and there is no public transportation of any kind in the area. We can pick you up from the airport the day before the workshop and drop you off the day after. Car rentals are available at the KCI airport, if you’d rather not wait for pick up.

Since the round trip to the airport is 2:30 hours, we will pick up participants in groups. For example, if we have one flight arriving at 2 pm, another at 3 pm and another at 4pm, we’ll pick up the whole group at 4 pm. The same applies to drop-offs the day after the workshop. The MCI airport is tiny and there isn’t much to do there, but it has a few restaurants/cafes and quiet areas to rest.

To the extent that it’s possible, we request that you try to schedule your flight arrival and departure times between mid morning and late afternoon. Everyone on site will be working hard and very early/late pick-ups and drop-offs can be quite challenging for an already sleep-deprived crew.


OBI and OSE will provide continental breakfast and dinner. For lunch, bring your own or bring some to share.

We will have an outdoor grill available, so that food preparation is easier and more social.

What to Pack

You are welcome to bring your favorite tools if you wish to – we will be turning a lot of 3/4″ bolts. We will have all the necessary tools on site—as well as work gloves, protective eye-wear, and hard hats. You are required to bring steel-toe boots for safety, as we will be working with metal. Heavy metal falling on your foot can crush your toes.

This being Missouri, the weather is highly unpredictable. It could be hot, it could be cold, it could rain – often all 3 on the same day. Bring clothes for all eventualities and weather. It can also get quite muddy when it rains, so sturdy boots are recommended.

Please also bring a sleeping bag and a bath towel if you’re staying in the HabLab. We have fitted sheets, pillows and pillow cases available – but you may want to bring your own pillow if that’s something that is important to you. If you’re camping, please pack everything you’d normally pack for a camping trip.

Early Bird Admission (before August 11, 2017, 7 PM CST USA):

Registration Fee for 3-day Workshop: $499
Registration Fee for CEB Press build only (Day 1): $299
Registration Fee for Power Cube Workshop only (Day 2): $299
Registration Fee for CEB Pressing + Construction only (Day 3): $149
Sponsor another participant: Sponsor any of the above to fund attendance of someone who is on the waiting list for financial assistance.

Regular Admission (after August 11, 2017, 7 PM CST USA)

Registration Fee for 3-day Workshop: $599
Registration Fee for CEB Press build only (Day 1): $375
Registration Fee for Power Cube build only (Day 2): $375
Registration Fee for Power Cube Workshop only (Day 3): $199

2-for-1 Discount:Take advantage of our 2-for-1 offer and bring a family member or friend with you for free. This applies both to the Early Bird and Regular admission.

Group Rate: Email us if you would like to bring a group.

You can also see our other workshop offerings at Open Building Institute, such as the Seed Eco Home and Aquaponic Greenhouse builds.

True Fans of OSE: As supporting members of OSE, True Fans receive a 25% discount on all of our workshops. This applies only to True Fans who have been supporting the program 6 months or longer prior to the posting of this current workshop event. Email us for redemption details. You can sign up as a True Fan now to become eligible for the True Fans discount on future workshops.

Sponsor another participant or Donate to OSE: We are a nonprofit organization with 501(c)3 status. You can make tax-deductible contributions to us. Sponsor the admission fee to fund attendance of someone who is on the waiting list for financial assistance by making a donation.

If you would like to attend but cannot afford the admission, we can put you on the wait list. If the workshop does not fill up or if there is someone willing to cover your fee as a donor, we can accept you. Please email us.

Payment Options: PayPal, Credit Card, Dwolla, Bitcoin, Check, Money Order, Wire Transfer, or Cash

Registration for the choices above is found on Eventbrite, but Eventbrite accepts only PayPal or Credit Card. If you would like to pay by other means you can select that option at Eventbrite, but then you have to submit your payment independently of Eventbrite. We accept Dwolla, Bitcoin, Check, Money Order, or Cash. Your registration is complete upon receipt of payment. If you pay with Dwolla – Dwolla charges lower transaction costs than PayPal. If you are paying by Dwolla, register at Eventbrite and select the Dwolla option, then pay independently via Dwolla (Dwolla is not currently integrated into Eventbrite). Use Open Source Ecology or as the Dwolla recipient. Bitcoin is a decentralized payment system. You can pay via a bitcoin amount translated by the current bitcoin exchange rate on the day that you register. OSE’s Bitcoin Address is 166yC48RakrZdtsBj36vY9q29CpzknHbxY. If you are paying by check, please make checks payable to Open Source Ecology. Our mailing address is OSE, 909 SW Willow Rd, Maysville, MO 64469. For mailings, please write “3D Printer Workshop” in the memo line on your check. For wire transfers, please email us at for further directions.

Cancellation Policy
If you need to cancel for any reason, we will be happy to (a) transfer you credit towards another workshop in the future; (b) substitute the name on your ticket and have a friend take your place.