Open Source Soil Pulverizer – Prototype II

We have finished the second prototype of the open source soil pulverizer – an important labor-saving device for soil-handling in CEB construction. It is useful because it combines digging-pulverizing-loading the CEB press in one device. See the fabrication and the first test run:

Open Source Soil Pulverizer Prototype II from Marcin Jakubowski on Vimeo.

It should also be noted that the pulverizer action above is powered by a single, 18 horsepower Power Cube I. This is not bad at all for a lawnmower engine. Also, compare the present results with Prototype I to see the simplifications. For one, we have eliminated the hydraulic cylinder of Prototype I for opening the mouth. We replaced this cylinder with a simple, passive chain – which does the task automatically as the loader bucket is tilted down.

The Prototype II dxf design file, including swept motion analysis, is available for download.

It is encouraging to see a device that is now much closer to Full Product Release. Overall, the Pulverizer II is much more stiff and stable. The rotor rests on height adjustors, which also allow the rotor to jump over bumps since the down pressure is caused only by the weight of the rotor assembly. Moreover, the increased torque on the shortened tines prevented stalling of the rotor in hard, dry soil. This is so far quite pleasing – especially since we are using only 18 hp of power. The next step is adding the second Power Cube – the Power Cube Prototype II that we just finished. We’ll report on this topic next.

We are introducing here the prototype of the OSE Label – a product label for post-scarcity economics – pursuant to OSE Specifications and the OSE License for Post-Scarcity Economics. Here is the descriptive label for the Soil Pulverizer:

Note the low, dedicated parts cost of $200 for the Soil Pulverizer – made possible by utilizing a product ecology of other components that are already part of the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) infrastructure. This is a further demonstration of how the GVCS is a set of Lego blocks for creating real infrastructures. If we consider the cost of the hydraulic motor and bucket, the total price for the Soil Pulverizer would be about $800 for materials.

If you are up for some more video, here is William’s footage of the Pulverizer test run with the real sounds:

As such, we’re getting closer to effective CEB construction with improved equipment which is leagues beyond our initial CEB building adventures.


  1. Edward Miller

    Fabulous design, and excellent implementation. Perfect documentation complete with video. Nothing more to say.

    Very very impressed.

    By the way, how does the user interface for the operator work? At minimum all the controls should be clearly labelled by the time of product release.

  2. Stu

    Great work as always. Hey I know you guys are kinda onto CEB construction but CEB still needs a roof which is pricey, or construction of a vault which is is skilful and slow work. Have you seen the work displayed here?

    fast, cheap and easy. This house is less than $3000us to build

    1. Marcin

      We have built with earthbags, and decided to move on to CEB as a result. Sandbags are cheap, but extremely labor intensive and not fast, from our experience. See for the previous work. It looks easy, but have you tried doing this in practice? It is seriously backbreaking work – suitable if you have lots of time and people available, and if your structures are not particularly large.

      Our next steps on the roof are Open Source Sawmill -> lumber, followed by Induction Furnace -> sheet metal to arrive at industry standards. After that, we can talk about 2000 square foot Silicate Foundry -> 10-100 tons of metal produced per day. Sounds far out? It’s all proven technology, it’s just a question of information and energy.

  3. neodynos

    Looks great to me.

    Then I just wondered how easy it would be to attach this thing to a commercial tractor (as kind of a migration strategy for those who want to do CEB buildings and already own a tractor). It might also help you to find a broader range of customers for the soil pulverizer.

    Building an adaptor for you quick attach system is probably quite simple, the hydraulics are probably standard connectors, but does attaching the chain need modifications to the loader arm of the tractor?

    1. Marcin

      Attachment to a conventional tractor will depend on the bucket/loader arm geometry, and would require at the very least that one would drill through the loader arm to make an attachment for the chain support. The arms fo the pulverizer rotor would also have to be attached somehow, and the bucket would have to be stiff enough to support the pulverizer. No turnkey solution there. The easier solution is the bucket-pulverizer assembly, coupled to a quick attach of a commercial tractor via an adapter. Then the only task left would be attaching the chain support.

      From our perspective, as distributed production gains a hold – the presence of distributed fabrication facilities would allow modifications to become an easy part of industrial practice. This is especially true if distributed fab facilities produce the heavy equipment all together – such as from downloadable digital design files. This is where the world is going anyway, so I believe your issue will resolve itself naturally in the future. In the meantime, fund this work – so we can get there faster. It’s just a matter of time, and in our opinions, distributed digiital fabrication is a goldmine, wholly untapped in terms of economic potential.

  4. LucasG

    It looks awesome!

    Cold weather seems to be aproaching. I hope you will be able to make bricks and walls in time for other folks to join you, or is that not an issue if Marcin will leave the place for some time?

    Regarding domes, I wonder if bricks need to be rectangled or if they could be shaped in a way more suited to building domes. Or maybe it’s regular bricks plus extra wedge-shaped bricks. Could that be done with small changes to the Liberator, such that pressure is applied on one end or the brick is cut in half after it’s made?

    Romans did it, so it’s not exactly new technology. 😉

  5. LucasG

    Maybe the simplest way to make a few wedge-shaped bricks would be to make a complementary wedge made of metal, and put it where the dirt will fall, so that when it’s pressed, there you have it.

    Maybe the metal wedge can be screwed to the bottom of the pit receiving the dirt. Then it would be posible to make many such bricks, not just a few cumbersome ones.

    If it’s easy it would be a good experiment. Perhaps to make a keyhole garden first? Now that might make many a permaculturalist, and a few “emergency permaculture” proponents too, jump of joy.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by lucasgonzalez, lucasgonzalez. lucasgonzalez said: A scary film about The Jaw: Simplified & closer to release. […]

  7. LucasG

    Of course, domes may need some supporting structure while you’re building the inward-bent wall. That, in turn, might mean cutting lumber.

    Obviously not an expert in these things, but yes, ceilings are needed.

  8. aco fanouli

    hey, you could think of being added to – so others could follow your adventures!

    1. Marcin

      We’re on there already, but it doesn’t appear that our blog is on their feed. Can someone add us to their blog feed?

  9. Glenn Poston

    Was this your inspiration?

    1. Marcin

      Interesting. Haven’t seen that before.

  10. Andi


    your soil pulverizer reminded me of a documentary about so called
    “flail deminers”:

    for example:

    or oldschool:

    I think it’s worth a try (if you haven’t yet). Doesn’t get stuck that
    easily, kind of self adjusting to the soil and more “propulsion” (or
    whatever the english word for accelerating the soil in direction of
    the bucket by hitting it is) due to increased likelihood of hitting a
    certain particle.

    Just another way to turn swords into ploughshares…

    Cheers and keep up the good work, Andi

  11. Adam

    Think the soil pulverizer could withstand this?

    Nice slow-mo

  12. Early Adopters | Factor E Farm Blog

    […] of The Liberator CEB Press (full product release), LifeTrac open source tractor prototype III, and Soil Pulverizer prototype III. Hear our discussion on other early adopters, such as Columbus and […]

  13. Open Source Ecology - Overview

    […] Soil Pulverizer is pulverizes the soil to a fine consistency which can be used in preparation for pressing […]

  14. […] for next Thursday, as our open source bulldozer is not developed yet. The dimensional sawmill, two soil pulverizers, plus tractor loader-mounted cement mixer are being built. Power Cubes are being finished. Roof […]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *