CEB Automation with Sensors

For the last two months, we’ve been developing and implementing Prototype 2 automatic controls for the open source Compressed Eearth Brick (CEB) press. We had initial results from Prototype 1 controls, without sensors, back in November. This time, the motion is controlled fully by magnetic position sensors, and we added a soil sensor for activating the grate shaker. We’re building on Arduino and RepRap electronics.

The process of adapting, packaging, programming, and debugging the system was one detail after another and took much longer than expected. It requires unskilled labor with a brain – my new term for problemsolving work when one has no prior experience in the art. This is a highly prized skill at Factor e Farm – and also the key to building resilient, post-scarcity communities.

The overview of the automation system is described in this 5 minute video. The CEB machine is half-assembled without the 6-foot wide hopper to show the workings.

The next step is to run the system at the rated hydraulic flow of 28 gallons per minute, to verify the predictions proposed in the initial automation work. It’s time for the rubber to hit the road.

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