Open Source CEB Press Production Run Results

We have demonstrated a production rate of 4 bricks per minute in our first test production runs.

We ran the CEB machine with 3 people, low-medium throttle on LifeTrac, about 12 gallon per minute hydraulic flow, a hydraulic pressure of 2200 psi, and a force of about 20 tons on the bricks. The hopper cylinder was adjusted with a needle valve to reduce its speed. We pressed 53 bricks in a sample 13.5 minute run.
These are amazing results – bricks coming out of the machine as fast as we could handle them. For soil preparation, we roto-tilled a small part of our earth pile with the LifeTrac rototiller, followed by a small, walk-behind 6 hp rototiller – to break the soil into a flowing powder. Thereafter, I ran the CEB controls, Nick loaded the hopper, and Bob stacked the bricks as fast as he could on a pallet. Nick was shoveling soil into 5 gallon buckets as fast as he could from the prepared soil. He then poured 5 gallon buckets into the hopper.Learnings and challenges: The critical step was pulverizing the soil to about 1/4 inch pieces. We mixed in about 5% sand into the soil, which helped make the soil flow better. If we used soil with particles larger than 1/4”, distinct grain boundaries were forming – there were fault lines in the bricks. Once we went to 1/4” particles – the bricks got larger and stronger. There was less air space in the soil mix.

The limiting step in the sample run was bridging of soil in the hopper. I had to poke the soil by hand in the hopper – for every brick – so it would fill the compression chamber evenly. To address this, we will operate the machine at a slight angle, or possibly change the slide angle within the hopper. We concluded that with this simple improvement, we could get to 6 bricks per minute. We would then be able to produce about 3 thousand bricks in a day – or enough bricks for our 1200 square foot facility in under three 8-hour days of pressing. This means going through our 20 tons of soil per day.

We believe this is achievable with a minimum 4 person team. One person runs the controls, one person loads the hopper, one person stacks bricks, and the fourth person goes through the soil pile continuously, pulverizing the soil to the required size with a walk-behind rototiller. Come down to Factor e Farm – we’ll be pressing in this coming week.

Here’s the good part. If we achieve the 6 brick per minute rate, that would make The Liberator the highest-performance CEB machine in the world. The highest production rate that we know of is 5 bricks per minute from a machine that is 5 times higher in cost. We are talking of entry-level, manually controlled, one-brick-at-a-time, hydraulically-driven CEB machine types. We actually think we can get to 8 bricks per minute with the same, manual machine. Hmmm.

We think that we are on the way to demonstrating the full promise of open source economics– the promise of highest performance, lowest cost, lifetime-design products. Period. If you want to see this machine go into production– donate here. Be a part of changing the world. We are operating entirely on volunteer donations.


  1. Dan

    Nice blocks!

    I’m wondering, if you loaded the hopper by weight instead of by volume, would you get blocks of more uniform thickness?

  2. Marcin

    Possibly. Why don’t you come visit us, and show us how that would work?

  3. Dan

    I’d like to do just that, and will arrange a visit when it is practical for me to do so.

  4. Frank Cox

    I am sure you are good hearted people but have you actually thought about what you are doing? You are attempting to build a Utopian cashless society . Of course you are asking me to send you cash to do it, a bit inconsistent don’t you think? It seems you want to turn America into a Third World Country and defeat the evil capitalists. Why not just move to a Third World country ? Utopia comes from the Greek,El Topia,El means no,topia means place, as in topography. Utopia means no such place.
    If you asked me to buy some ridiculously risky stock that might bring a strong return and you intended to finance one out of 100 machines to a Third World country that needs help I might have bought some. You can’t see it but you are asking capitalists to finance Marxist Socialism, which is how it is aways financed. I am keeping my rope comrade, God Bless you.

  5. Richard Hendrix

    I think you are doing a wonderful job guys. Im a right wing republican myself, but so what? I dont really care about your political allegance. Your efforts and work done to date is incredible. I am considering sending a small donation to you to help you out. Keep it up guys! Ive learned alot watching your progress with the CEBs. I have created a small bottle jack CEB press myself and have had good test results, following some of your lead. Thanks again!

  6. Richard Schulte

    i hate to say, frank, but OSE promotes an emerging fair, value based capitalism via neocommercialization and open business models and open, distributed finance and exchange systems. I suggest you read a bit into what OSE is about, and understand where we are coming from. it is in no way what you are imagining, but if you would rather envision a movement to reestablish the capacity for responsibility and dignity in a more simple world that can develop its families, communities and to maintain its most important traditions and most vital resources, and to learn what it means to be a good ancestor and to pass manageable, resilient systems to those who are to follow ourselves, then you would be imagining what OSE is about. check out and you can learn more.

  7. […] we struggled on this part – first with digging the soil with the toothbar bucket and then using small rototillers to work through our piles of earth. Many times, the soil was too wet, and sometimes it was too dry. […]

  8. […] struggled on this part – first with digging the soil with the toothbar bucket and then using small rototillers to work through our piles of earth. Many times, the soil was too wet, and sometimes it was too dry. […]