October Progress Report: Major Success in Crowd Funding

Thank you to all the people that supported us for the month of October – our transition to support via crowd funding. The October funding and corresponding progress were a major success. Here is the progress report.

Overview: We are on our way to neocommercialization of the CEB press, starting with the building of a flexible, digital fabrication facility. This building addition is planned to feature CEB walls, a living roof, solar design, CEB masonry stove, sauna, and off-grid operation. The month of October was taken up primarily by field testing of the open source LifeTrac/CEB/rototiller/toothbar bucket/backhoe combination – as applied to site and earth preparation for CEB construction. We also built a number of roof trusses.

Funding: Our goal was $3125, and we collected a total of $2705 in value. The highest third-party donation was $600, and the lowest was $5. There were only 17 donations, with an average of $159. We received $240 in direct material/tool donations.

Accomplishments: This month, we completed the entire CEB construction infrastructure. The tractor, tooth-bar bucket, backhoe, and rototiller are in working order for CEB block production. We moved about 60 tons of soil, sufficient for approximately 8000 bricks. We completed several of the 25 total trusses (32 foot long) for the roof and got gravel delivered to the site.

In addition, we built one Hexayurt, received an insulated army tent on loan for a year, and published our initial CEB CSM business plan.

Tooling and inftrastructure upgrades: We received a miter saw for truss construction. We upgraded our acetylene torch setup from a 150 to a 250 lb oxygen bottle. We installed 8 of the 14 solar panels, installed the inverter, and an open source on-demand water heater for our shower. This heater is quite useful, so we documented its construction:
We purchased a larger metal grinder. We also got a stove donated for the Hexayurt, and a hot water heater that we’ll heat with stove flue gases.We also bent out the tines on the tiller, and added a 4th tine set.Funding allocation: The resource allocation is as follows. Initially, we proposed about $2300 in building materials, and $800 in stipends. We received $2725. The stipends were not paid out. Alex left. Bob went away for 2 weeks to work. This money was allocated additional building materials.

Note: items in italics were not yet purchased. The total resources needed (about $500) carry over into the November funding cycle.

Challenges: The main one was the tractor breaking at the main joint. This was fixed. Weight distribution is still poor, because the front loader sticks out too much at the front. It should be closer to the tractor body. Even with 1500 of weights on the back (dead battery banks), the back wheels almost begin to come off the ground when the front loader is filled with soil.

Commentary: The development path is full of challenges and decision forks – constant, on-the-feet problem solving is required. Nothing, outside of the general direction, goes as planned – one can plan only after experience in an experimental program like this. Demoralization for the team is a constant issue, which I address personally by regular meditation and mind-body practice. Indeed, the deeper the challenge, the deeper the solution. That’s been the history in my experience – unsolved issues linger for no more than a few days at a time, and typically they are addressed either the same day or day after.

Next month plan: We are in the thick of brick pressing and building. The month of November will be completion of the CEB CSM workshop facility – so we can begin work on the digital fabrication XYZ torch table in December.

We are also planning a sawmill prototype for November as proposed before: . The sawmill is relevant to the replication of the CEB CSM business model – where self-generated lumber allows low-cost construction of facilities. This falls under the scenario of decentralization technology-based Global Village creation.The total budget for November, described on our wiki, is $3400. So please continue your support by donating here – so we can bring a revolutionary, open source business model to life.


  1. Robert L

    Hey guys,
    I have just opened your web page today after looking at well drilling videos on Youtube. I am having alittle bit of a problem going through your blog as it is so stretched out but, I am managing and enjoy the entries.
    I just wanted to throw an idea to you about your weight problem on the tractor thingamajig. Maybe if you had alittle bigger tires and used some tire fluid in them? I know some tractors use some kind of fluid for weight. Also I had an old JD-B that used weights mounted on the wheels. Just an idea?
    I do not mean to plug up your comment spot with my suggestions but I did not see an email(contact) area with names and positions of your members. If they do have positions, or do you all share responsibilities? I would think some are good welders, food preservers, gardeners, etc, etc.
    By the way, where is this community? I did not notice a “about us” area in your website, maybe I am not looking enough.
    Also I do not see the size of tract of land and what your natural resources are? I guess I am being a pain so if you want to delete this that is fine but I was wondering.
    Robert, we are in the Kansas City area. Are you interested in visiting? Also – on the traction question – we are using $5 truck tires. Getting real tires with good tread, like skid steer tires, is about $300 a pop. Feel free to fund that for us. In the meantime, we’re doing $5 tires with $25 tire chains – it works well. The real traction issue is that the loader is too far out to the front – so the rear wheels have really suboptimal traction. – Marcin

  2. Richard

    haha. now all factor E needs is a presidential endorsement.

    j/k… sorta…

    lot more money gonna be goin to the DOE, SARE, and other gov’t sustainability programs, hopefully.

    As far as the state gov’ts, Missouri (where Factor E is) looks to be headed in the right direction. A more responsible and sustainability oriented government of democrats might create a better climate for these kinds of projects. Extension, Natural Resources, and the University System will all stand to benefit, and thusly will sustainability in missouri. The possibility exists for getting a sustainability initiative with a more robust education system on a level comparable to the campus sustainability initiatives in oregon… and OSE could be an integral part of that…

  3. Solus

    “gov’t sustainability”? You mean sustaining the gov’t or sustaining ecological development? It always seems that throughout time they usually become mutually exclusive.

  4. Richard Schulte

    ecological development. the idea is to better utilize the resources these institutions offer us and allow us to create new models to pluralize the current systems we depend on, and create a wider breadth of options. through capacity building by attaining research grants, subsidies for more agroecologically sound food production, and by funding economic localisation projects and more community development and capacity building projects, we can actualize a more sustainable mode of economic, social and political participation via NGOs and emergent forms of community organisation.

    if we dont tap into the resources many in govt and large foundations are willing to divulge in the anticipation of more ecologically sustainable and sensible systems, those resources may only be exploited by those who would misuse them for private gain. There is much that can be done in encouraging a sensible, just and economically sound transition to a better way of life for people in this country..

  5. ram

    Hi there have you all thought about using a small salt bath furnace that is programmed at a lower heat to store solar thermal energy for use at night or during cloudy days?

  6. Marcin

    Ram, no we have not considered salt bath furnaces. Tell us more about the possibility.

  7. Marcin

    Ram, Please tell us more about this concept.

  8. ram If you look at the system they use you would realize that they use molten salt (phase change material) to store solar energy thermally for use at night and overcast days. Now take a look at the salt bath furnace here .The device is electrically operated so if you could convert it into solar powered using a high temperature fluid you would be able to store the thermal energy for conversion into electricity at night. The circuit would look like this – Parabolic dish connected to salt bath and coils immersed in the salt solution which lead to the tesla turbine. You would definitely need electronically operated valves and pumps in the high temperature fluid line as well as the steam circuit. One added benefit would be use the molten salt to also heat treat various metals. Hope you got me take care and keep up the good work. On a side note what do you all plan to do for telecommunications? I thought that you all could voip wimax handsets or laptops netbooks computers etc.Do you all plan to introduce open source hardware like motherboards, mobile phone chipsets etc ?? Also I would suggest you all grow hemp for all your fibre needs as they are pretty hardy.

  9. […] 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 […]

  10. […] we are returning to the crowd-based funding baskets – with which we had decent success in our previous session of village-building adventures. Now this is Take Two on CEB construction, where Take One was a great learning experience. Now […]