Power Cube – Prototype I Complete

Power Cube is our open source, self-contained, modular, interchangeable, hydraulic power unit for all kinds of power equipment. It has an 18 hp gasoline engine coupled to a hydraulic pump, and it will later be be powered by a flexible-fuel modern steam engine. Power Cube will be used to power MicroTrac (under construction) and it is the power source for the forthcoming CEB Press Prototype 2 adventures. It is designed as a general power unit for all devices at Factor e Farm, from the CEB press, power take-off (PTO) generator, heavy-duty workshop tools, even to the LifeTrac tractor itself. Power Cube will have a quick attachment, so it can be mounted readily on the quick attach plate of LifeTrac. As such, it can serve as a backup power source if the LifeTrac engine goes out. See the construction of Power Cube, and demonstration of it powering the PTO generator:

The noteworthy features are modularity, hydraulic quick-couplers, lifetime design, and design-for-disassembly. Any device can be plugged in readily through the quick couplers. powercube It can be maintained easily because of its transparency of design, ready access to parts, and design for disassembly. It is a major step towards realizing the true, life-size Erector Set or Lego Set of heavy-duty, industrial machinery in the style of Industrial Swadeshi. Via open source, it is now becoming accessible to everybody. With the addition of local biofuel (pyrolysis oil) and steam engines, we await the time where local production is a reality.


  1. Nick

    Good work! That little power cube is defintely a nice interchangeable idea. I too can’t wait to see a robust pyrolysis oil burning steam engine attached to it.

    Perhaps in the meantime someone might want to use a gasifier?

  2. anonymous

    Cool stuff!

  3. Erik de Bruijn

    Like it a lot. Especially that you have a single or a couple of cubes running many different tools that don’t each need an engine of their own. There’s so much wasteful redundancy there.

  4. […] parts, including the Power Cube, are interchangeable with LifeTrac. I can take the wheel off from MicroTrac and put it on LifeTrac. […]

  5. […] The other minor fix will have to be adding a muffler to MicroTrac. We eliminated the muffler because it did not fit within the tight cage of the Power Cube. […]

  6. Pressing Times | Open Source Ecology

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  7. […] experimental setup involved an Arduino powered by the 12 volt battery from the Power Cube.(See presentation where from which this slide is […]

  8. […] now focus on developing the next products in line – namely the open source tractor, LifeTrac, PowerCube, and […]

  9. […] with the wheels and wheel motors, minus the PowerCube engine unit. Now hang the 18 horsepower PowerCube I on the rear of the frame, and take it for the first test […]

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    […] now focus on developing the next products in line – namely the open source tractor, LifeTrac, PowerCube, and […]

  11. […] hydraulic quick-connects so that any other mechanical power device may be connected. A single Power Cube I (18 hp) has been used to power LifeTrac II as shown in the last post. Power Cube II will be added […]

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