CEB Press + Power Cube Workshop 2016

September 23-25, 2016

Factor e Farm – Maysville MO, USA

Build Yourself. Build Your World.

This intensive workshop – led by Marcin Jakubowski, founder of Open Source Ecology – and assistant Tom Griffing – OSE’s Power Cube Lead – 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. This will be the first time that we are executing and documenting builds that are economically significant – in that we are showing that an Extreme Manufacturing process can be replicated, and can be a viable method of producing goods and services, as opposed to centralized manufacturing. This is an economically significant model of social production that OSE has pioneered – 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 automatic controls and hydraulics. We are the only group in the world that produces heavy machines from scratch – in one day – and this is the experience that we are inviting you to. 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 design, fabrication, CAD, microcontrollers, hydraulics, open documentation, collaborative literacy, and open enterprise models.

This workshop will mark the 100% release of the open source CEB Press, recommended for wide replication – 8 years after the initial CEB prototype was built. The BOM cost will be approximately $4000 – assuming that the metal is CNC cut using an open source CNC torch table in house. Several cost and performance optimizations are being included since the last main prototype of 2014. The OSE machine is fully automated and presses 8-14 block 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 will be dedicated to machine testing, data collection, and CEB construction techniques. 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, as well as blocks from various mixtures of biomass, fiber, cement, gravel, and soil – with various levels of moisture and binder content. We will also test the feasibility of using the brick press for compressing aluminum cans into blocks for recycling, for making blocks of compost for starting plants, as well as other crazy composite ideas that participants may bring with them. We will go over the best practice techniques for building CEB walls. We will present a model of the lowest cost house that can be built with CEBs and local burned lime. We will then lay sample wall and CEB floor demos, as well as add sample insulation and wire mesh reinforcement to demonstrate finishing and strengthening techniques. We will cover the details required to build earthquake resistant housing.

The third day is a One Day build of a complete Power Cube – including electrical system and hydraulics. 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 design, fabrication, CAD, hydraulics, open documentation, collaborative literacy, and open enterprise models.

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 will use this same power cube in our Eco-Tractor next year, which will be fueled by charcoal using our open source gasifier. See more Power Cube information on the wiki.

The overall 3 day workshop is designed for people interested in transitioning from Zero to Extreme 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 skilled participants, as we train people on the spot by providing a deep learning environment.

Our intended audience is anyone interested in Extreme Production, efficient natural building, and especially – entrepreneurship in the numerous related enterprises. Such enterprises can include machine fabrication, block production, house construction, community econonomic development, and other enterprises. We are promoting the practice of Distributive Enterprise: radically open, libre, collaborative, ethical enterprise ecosystems that accelerate innovation and distribute economic power.

During the workshop, we will also be applying remote documentation techniques – where a remote team of collaborators produces a build instructional during the same time as the build. This way, we intend to produce a complete machine build guide by the end of the actual build.

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 one, 2 or 3 days of the workshop.

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



  • Marcin Jakubowski 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.
  • Thomas Griffing has a background in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Technical Writing and Hydraulics. He runs a small computer consulting business, instructs Tai Chi classes and also teaches “online” computer classes for a community college in Dallas. He has a farm in East Texas with a shop where he practices permaculture farming, works on projects of interest and sells Power Cube kits, parts and other items. He has also led OSE workshops on fabricating the Power Cube and Micro Power Cube. Tom Griffing is OSE’s Power Cube Lead and has been in Power Cube development since 2011.
Learning Outcomes
  • Module-based design
  • Design for fabrication, scalability, and lifetime design
  • Bolted 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
  • YouTube + Kdenlive for Reatime Video Editing

Note: schedule is being refined and may change slightly.

Day 1 – CEB Press Extreme Build
  • 8AM: Introduction to Machine + Build Workflow
  • 9AM: Beginning of Build.
  • 12-1PM: Lunch.
  • 1-5: Afternoon build session
  • 5-6PM: Dinner
  • 6PM: Final machine assembly + quality control
Day 2 – Brick Pressing and CEB Construction
  • 9AM-Noon: Initial run, brick pressing, workflow data collection
  • 12-1PM: Lunch.
  • 1-6: Sample construction techiques, brick formulas
  • 6-7PM: Dinner
  • 7-8PM: Learnings, discussion, closure of CEB Press workshop
Day 3 – 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


Workshop fee includes workshop tuition only.


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.

We have 18 spots for participants who want to stay at the HabLab—our shared-room dorm. There is no extra cost for staying at the dorm 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 also try to provide fresh, organic vegetables from our farm. However, this may not be available at all times of the year as it depends largely on crop cycles and season.

We will organize trips to Cameron’s food store (a Walmart) or you can coordinate with other participants to go on your own. There is also a small grocery store in Maysville, which is a short bike-ride away from FeF.

We typically have dinner catered by local restaurants. However, since we’re in an isolated area, the number of restaurants available and the quality of the food may not be what you’re used to. There are only 3 restaurants in the area that do catering: a Mexican restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, and a Subway. Another option is for us to provide the ingredients and allow participants to self-organize dinner preparation (which means some of you would volunteer to cook for the group). Upon registration, we survey the group to find out what is the preferred option.

What to Pack

You are welcome to bring your own tools if you wish to. But we will have all the necessary tools on site—as well as work gloves, protective eyewear, and hard hats. If possible, bring steel-toe boots – as that’s the safest footwear for any workshop. If not, please bring the sturdiest boots/shoes you have.

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 (before Sep. 9, 7 PM CST):

Registration Fee for 3-day Workshop: $500
Registration Fee for CEB Press section only (Sep 23-24): $400
Registration Fee for Power Cube Workshop only (Sep 23): $300
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 Sep. 9, 7 PM CST)

Registration Fee for 3-day Workshop: $600
Registration Fee for CEB Press section only (Sep 23-24): $475
Registration Fee for Power Cube Workshop only (Sep 23): $375

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 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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.

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