Full Product Release

Note: We no longer consider this to be a Full Product Release because this is an older version of the machine. Further prototypes and improvements have been made, see update post of Sep. 24, 2012

We are pleased to announce the official, Full Product Release of The Liberator, the high-performance, open source, Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) press. We are releasing it under the OSE License for post-scarcity economics, and we are now taking orders. You can see the plans here.

Full Product Release indicates that the design is sufficiently mature for widespread replication, based on proven functionality and performance of the designs provided. Improvements may be made, but it is not critical for Factor e Farm to lead this effort. The design is sufficient for us to now focus on developing the next products in line – namely the open source tractor, LifeTrac, PowerCube, and others.

We are offering the fully automatic version of The Liberator with 6 foot wide hopper and hopper vibrator for US$8k, FOB at Factor e Farm, Kansas City area, USA. This machine can produce up to 16 bricks per minute. We are offering the manually-controlled version, The Liberator-M, with a small hopper, for US$5k. This machine may produce 5-8 bricks per minute, depending on the dexterity of the operator and the power source. The design of the manual machine is identical to the fully automatic version, minus the large hopper, vibrator, sensors, controller, and solenoid valves. It may be upgraded to the fully automatic version by retrofitting the missing components. Note that our machines do not include the power source, as they can be plugged into any source of hydraulic power. We achieved 16 bricks per minute with a hydraulic power source of 24 gallons per minute. The next competitors with a machine of comparable soil throughput appear to be priced between $45k (Powell and Sons) and $65k (AECT). You can see our full product description and features here. Our price is subject to change, and we have the present capacity to produce 4 machines at one time, with on-demand fabrication lead time of 3 weeks. If you are interested in building with CEBs this season, you may want to consider ordering a machine now. Email us.

The Liberator has come a long way since its initial, manual prototype, to our not-so-effective building adventures, to Prototype II, to the soil pulverizer, to the first prototype of the automatic CEB controls, to beta version product release with manual controls, to the second prototype of automatic CEB controls, to initial results for the automatic machine indicating 13 bricks per minute, and to optimization resulting in the present Full Product Release – with fully automatic controls, with a maximum demonstrated pressing rate of 16 bricks per minute. You can also view our compressive strength testing results.

We are extremely excited about the results to date. We claim that our design is the simplest possible to build, to attain the functionality desired,  and to maintain. This transparency and serviceability offers the user the highest level of control over the machine. The electronics are based on well-documented components from the open source RepRap and Arduino projects – meaning that the electronics design is transparent. The machine is designed-for-disassembly (DfD), and and we expect that the user will be able to keep the machine in working order for many decades, passing the machine down from generation to generation. The wearable parts cost $40 in materials to replace, and the entire machine can be taken apart in about 2 hours with a set of 4 ratcheting wrenches. Moreover, the external power unit choice is  great contribution to lowering operating costs, as an interchangeable unit such as the PowerCube can be used to power a number of other devices.

We are producing these machines on-demand, and it takes 3 weeks to produce one. We can produce up to 4 machines in a production run at present. We already have one order for the fully-automatic machine.

Note also this important point – we are proposing an open source business model – which we believe is one of the first, if not the first, true open enterprise plan. Read the OSE License for further discussion on the philosophy behind it. Our motivation is that if we contribute open source business models into a commons, and others do the same, then we can all benefit from a robust economic base for flexible production – and be on a fast track towards transforming the world to post-scarcity.

We underscore that 100% of our earnings are going back into further product development in the public domain. For purposes of absolute transparency, we state here that our material costs were $3.6k for the fully automatic version, and we are charging between $30 and $45/hour for labor, which is expected to be between 100-150 hours per machine. We have the capacity to perform all the labor in-house. Thus, if we do not outsource any labor, that means that we may capture up to $4.4k of value per machine produced. We are putting 100% of this back into future product development, including addressing infrastructure issues for optimizing our productivity. Our overhead is about $200 per month for the entire facility. William and I are now partners in committing all product earnings to fund the development of further products for the completion of the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). We invite others to join us. As stated before, it will take about $2M to complete the GVCS – and set the world free in terms of material scarcity. The task to be done costs peanuts. I once heard somebody say, ‘if this work does not make someone wet their pants in excitement, they must be sleeping.’

We emphasize that we are not like a typical nonprofit organization, which may spend perhaps 5% of its budget actually accomplishing its goals. In our work, that figure is just about 100%. We’re off-grid, and you already paid for our production facility with your donations, and our overhead is low. Thus, we’re able to give back to the world. We are an NGO, declared as a private, voluntary organization. We also believe that our True Fans base of 75 is way underrepresented, so sign up now if you want to see this work go faster. We can scale the rate of our work by a factor of about 4 using our existing physical and organizational infrastructure, if we had additional resources. We hope that CEB sales may provide such fuel to our operation, but we are not intending to monopolize production – as we have an open source business model that encourages others to replicate the same. If we do not get many sales, we can still function because of our True Fans and other donations.

There is plenty of work left to be done on the documentation front with respect to the CEB Full Product Release. Over the next two days, we’ll finish fabrication documentation and operation instructions – such that anyone interested in building The Liberator on their own is fully equipped to do so. We have a more or less complete set of technical drawings, but they need to be cleaned up and made user friendly. We need to get to a point of professional CAD and fabrication drawings, such that the entire Full Product Release documentation package includes:

  • Technical drawings
  • Exploded part diagrams
  • Hydraulics schematics
  • Fabrication drawings
  • Fabrication procedure – mechanical and electrical
  • OSE Label documentation for The Liberator according to the OSE Specifications score
  • Official presentation on the work of OSE
  • Product Release/Marketing website
  • Model and architectural drawings for CEB housing structures
  • Open Business Model documentation
  • Bill of Materials and sourcing
  • Promotional video for recruiting True Fans
  • A CD/DVD for The Liberator Full Product Release

If you can offer assistance on any of the above, contact us and let us know what particular results you propose to offer, along with your qualifications and samples of your work.

At best, we are looking for those with fabrication experience or commitment to learning such skills – to join us on a long-term basis as part of the Factor e Farm Home Team. Our open source, on-demand, flexible fabrication business model could pull in $100k/person/year. This would allow our group to complete the GVCS within the next 5 years, and for meme-like replication to occur when the capitalization barriers to replication are annihilated via open source design. Remember that we are paving the way for low-cost access to the tools for which we are paying dearly with our efforts and time. The goal is to enable any interested individual to check into a new, unplugged lifestyle of meaning – free of the Matrix – as soon as possible. Transformation of the world and evolution to freedom can then follow.


  1. LucasG

    Marcin, William, all involved in each and every step: well done, congratulations, and thank you very much!

    I’ve just written part of this in Spanish, over at my blog

    It looks like you’re well on your way to building even greater stuff over the Summer. If you invite folks to work on laying bricks with you, maybe someone is interested in how has a first unit installed in Haiti. It’s made from plywood and it looks like it can be built in no time, say at the start of a “building with bricks” month.

    The 5-year vision is great. But, in terms of excitement, I’d say this year is even greater. How come reporters are not flocking around your site?

    Again: well done, congratulations, and thank you very much. I’m honoured to be a True Fan.

    1. Marcin

      Check out this powerful talk for a lucid reality check – by our leading competitor in the field of relief housing, Vinay of Hexayurt – as linked above:) This took place at the recent Dark Mountain Festival in the UK, and the organizers appear to be well-worth listening to.

  2. Abe

    Congratulations! I hope to see more products like this come out of FeF (maybe a torch table?!?!?!)

    I do think a machine like this will make a lot of sense to someone who will be building several buildings, or possibly a group of people wanting to build several houses. The costs can then be divided between the several projects.

    For a one-off small house, it is probably a DIY project, or use adobes or slip-form instead. (or maybe buy your bricks from someone who has a machine, like I did!)

  3. tanium

    Congratulations, this is great news! Hope you get the publicity you deserve for that project, so that you can easily fund the next …

    Especially, I like the high-quality documentation you are preparing for the CEB press. (This is still lacking for many other open design projects, so far.)

  4. Leo Dearden

    Marcin and all other contributors,

    Congratulations, and thank you so much for your work, and your contribution to the world. This is a marvel and a triumph.

    It’s now also on my list of things to make. 🙂

  5. […] optimization for The Liberator open source CEB press involves designing and deploying four, heavy duty, open source, fabrication […]

  6. […] Since he’s been here, we’ve seen full product release of the open source CEB press, The Liberator, and we’ve had significant progress on the open source tractor, LifeTrac Prototype II. We […]

  7. […] Farm. In a few days, Sean and I will begin full fabrication documentation video on the next copy of The Liberator open source CEB press, where the funding basket for it is filling as we […]

  8. […] S. forwarded a link to a piece on building with compressed earth bricks (CEBs) (Also called compressed earth […]

  9. […] still, though we think this will turn around any day if we get a couple of sales from our first Full Product Release. It appears that this will take more than passive marketing on our side – but we are […]


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  12. Mitra Ardron

    Great to see this, but both the links to the plans on above are broken, and the ones on the wiki:
    seem to be much older (2009) while the product page:
    just has a scan of a spec?

    I’m not sure if I’m just finding the Wiki hard to navigate, or whether its not intended that it be buildable, or its just not done yet.

  13. Nagpada

    Does anyone have any input on using this with fly ash which is an waste product and available in vast amounts at some locations. Feel free to comment.

  14. Shalagram

    If you want more people to use your machine, you should design it to make more than one size block. 6×12 is a medium sized block, and compared to a full size 10×14 block, twice as many are needed. This means twice as much work to build an indentically-sized wall.

    Therefore to properly compare production times you have to cut them in half. Now your machine compares to the AECT 3500 (for example) which makes 500 blocks per hour. But, using yours still requires twice as much block-laying. The walls will also have less strength, because the weakest part is the joints between the blocks.

    6×12 is a great size, but you should consider modifications to allow for 10×14 at 4 inch height. Obviously that would not be difficult if the original chamber is 10×14 and you had a solid insert to reduce the size to 6×12, and a removable press head mechanism that allowed interchangable heads.

    The other thing to consider is to make the hydraulic pressure automatically compensate to achieve a uniform block height. This tremendously reduces block-laying time and allows for a thin slurry which can be done by very inexperienced workers, as opposed to a mortar which takes much longer and requires more experience. It also saves time and/or money on the amount of material (slurry/mortar) needed for building and further increases wall shear strength.

    If you were able to make these two modifications you might just have one of the premier block machines in the world. I would certainly buy one. I might even consider one with just the first modification, but especially for unskilled workers, having a uniform block height is invaluable.

  15. Gill

    What improvements have been made to the shaker if any since the last video? Any thoughts about making different size molds for pavers and such? What was causing the dirt to stick to the walls of the shaker? How many units are in operation now?

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    […] First brick press product release of 2010. See blog post. […]

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