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Replication of the Compressed Earth Brick Press
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2011

    As a result of my Oberlin College (Ohio, USA)  presentation - local organizers have taken an interest in replicating the Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) Press. Here is a forum for this discussion. You can see the collaboration invitation document from the Oberlin team here as a Google document.

    You can see the report from Oberlin in a blog post:

    I am not aware of any replication of the CEB Press yet. This would be a major contribution to the project, and to the open hardware movement in general.

    Professional-grade fabrication drawings are still needed for the CEB Press.

    See the forum on the technical documentation status of the CEB Press:

  • 22 Comments sorted by
  • Vote Up0Vote Down February 2011
    I'm working on them! I could use some assistance with some details, but I should have working drawings of the Liberator v 2 pretty soon.
  • Dorkmo is working on a build of the controller box for the CEB. Check out his thread at , give him some feedback.
  • Point me in the direction as to where the plans are, Ian I can get started on them.
  • Dusty, the plans are being put together here:

    You should get in touch with Wolfrick; he's been doing CAD work on the CEB press.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2011
    How are the plans coming along? I have a Indian friend who is interested in acquiring a copy. Many of the Indians I work with will be out of a job when I leave my present employment and open my shop. I would like to give them a CD of blueprints that they can take home and make some livelihood.
  • I have spearheaded an effort to go through the existing diagrams in Google Sketchup and written directions for building this machine, checking with the current builders to bring the specifications up to date, and putting together a full and complete document with a word processor, destined to be published as a .PDF that includes Google Sketchup models and simple, clear instructions for manufacturing the CEB Press.  It will include a Bill of Materials and list every tool and material required to build the machine.

    Unfortunately, the existing documentation I have to draw on is on the wiki, and after reviewing the very first part with a current builder, the specifications for it were found to be out of date, so I am assuming all the part specifications are and we will need to go through them one at a time.  I am not yet physically with the group at Factor e Farm, so I am having to check these parts one at a time with someone who was at Factor e Farm and knows the current specs.

    It is difficult to estimate when the document will be complete ... it is a slow but steady start.

    If you mean Indian as in India, unfortunately there is a bit of a catch that I would foresee ... during this early prototyping work, Factor e Farm is reliant upon local materials and tools and, as Factor e Farm is located in the United States, our parts and tools here are all in Imperial measurements (inches, gallons, etc.)  Once our document is complete, then, people in countries using the metric system (I presume India does, but of course you would know better) will need to figure out metric equivelants for parts specifications.  I do not envision it would a simple imperial-to-metric conversion when it comes to actually ordering the materials (what thicknesses of metal for angle steel are available, for instance; I doubt its a simple metric conversion from 4 inches by 6 inches by half an inch thick that are presently being used for parts in the CEB Press, for instance).

    Marcin set a goal of Christmas (December 25th) of this year for full, public release of the first sets of documentation for a few of the machines.  It is an ambitious goal.  I can offer no guarantee of success, but I am committed to doing everything I can to bringing it about.  I am a hopeful candidate for a Dedicated Project Visit at Factor e Farm ... there are other things I will probably help out with, like construction of their buildings, but my primary focus will be on documentation.  I hope to set up collaboration by, for instance, taking measurements of parts and e-mailing those measurements to a team of folk to model in Sketchup, especially if I can collaborate with several folk so that several parts can be modelled at the same time, that will really speed things up.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2011
    Yes India as in the land of curry. People still use imperial measurement in Asia here due to the Brit and American influence. I can assure you, most people here can do conversions. My house was built with both metric and imperial measured parts. Doors in imperial, plumbing in imperial, windows and other dimensions in metric. We order raw steel in imperial.

    I myself am American and used to both so for my own I can fabricate using either system.

    As far as files go, to use in a plasma table, they should be in dxf. I still have to import them into my CAD software to create tool paths, lead ins, and export as gcode to the machine.

    I am very serious about a enterprise collaboration in the Philippines. I previously owned a auto parts company over here, and am restarting metal fabrication in March 2012 with a CNC plasma machine. I know the CEB press using the 10% cement powder mix would really go well if people can see that a CEB will hold up with the heavy rain and humidity here.
  • CAD is unfortunately a sore spot.  AutoCAD (which I think is the native program for .DXF IIRC) is on the order of $4,000 for a non-student to buy, and while some may already have it or can afford it (or are a student and can buy it at a student discount), it only really helps for the collaborators if we can all use the same program (so we'd all need to have it).  There's a lot of talk over a couple different free/open source alternatives, like FreeCAD, but the gist of the consensus is they are promising but not ready for prime time yet.  For now, we're using Sketchup which I know is not really a professional CAD program, but its what we will be using for the models in the documentation (for the to-print and wiki).

    And sorry for the confusion on Indian/India.  I'm a Yankee myself, and since you mentioned you are one, you know the Columbus fumble that makes the word 'Indian' ambiguous between real India-Indians and Native American "Indians" for us descendants of the colonists following Columbus who thought he had hit India.  :P
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2011

    Please keep in mind that the quality of the bricks made with any CEB press will be dependent upon the type & quality of the soil used as raw material, so before you spend a great deal of cash on building these, it may be best to build one (a manual one would be good enough), and try out making some sample bricks with the soils you would be wanting to use.  Then try mixing in some cement, and test how long they take to cure, do some strength testing on them, etc.

    Just because they could do something in Missouri doesn't mean that you'd get anywhere near the same results elsewhere (for soil-based raw material goods).

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2011
    I found this video today as a hand operated CEB press.  There are other  related videos showing this type machine in operation in Thailand and Africa.

    From What I have read so far, it is recommended to use subsoil not topsoil and avoid the organic matter inclusions as it will create voids after the biomatter decays.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    Found detailed instructions on soil prep for CEB. 

    Posted here:


    This is from a company in Brazil that does CEB machines.  Looking at the progess done in CEB machines in Brazil, I am wondering if the current CEB press is several generations behind what is happening in Brazil?

    The Brazilians have a different design of block that fits together like a lego block with holes in it.  really neat concept.

    see video here

  • That machine operates slowly and manually.  It creates interlocking blocks with voids in them - different to work with, no doubt, and they do have their advantages.  But still not the kind of industrial productivity that you're going to get out of the powered OSE CEB press.  
  • I presume the FeF OSE  ceb press could have the die adapted to make interlocking blocks? 
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    ive thought about that dreambuilder and i think the way that the drawer moves requires the top and bottom of the brick to be flat.

    i think you could change the shape of the brick, like a traingle or what ever. you'd have to change the press plate attached to the hydraulic cylinder and also fill the void of the drawer that wasnt where the brick would be.
  • The OSE ceb press is not capable, in its current design, of making such interlocking blocks.  That is not to say its impossible to create a similarly powerful derivative design that would do so, but it would not be the same machine by a fairly significant margin.
  • Howard_V_Agnew, I like what you are doing. I am not in your field myself but I can follow your explanation. Your are correct about conversion issues for non-imperial countries. Most of Africa is metric. But here is what I want to do, I would like to set up a shop in either the US or Canada where parts can be fabricated for most of the 50 machines (when they are ready). I am hoping there could be a way to ship a tractor kit, power kit and ceb press in a box to Africa and have it assembled there. I have been listening to Marcin's videos and I am very happy to find OSE. 

    I have a project for Africa that will need all the 50 machines when they are ready. Sorry I can't contribute to the designs but really Africa is the frontier that OSE will make the most impact. I hope to have a seriously discussion about this, I am a new comer here but I know I belong.

    Anyone feel free to comment and help me out here. 

  • Keep in mind that the GVCS is currently being designed based on the assumption that work will be supplied by engines. That means anyone who wants to use the GVCS will need access to suppliers who can get them all the tools/parts necessary to maintain engines (at a minimum). Also, if the group using the GVCS can't afford to buy it in the first place, then they probably can't afford to buy the parts to maintain it (they won't be able to sell the fruits of their labor to their neighbors at a high enough price). 

    There isn't any reason much of the GVCS couldn't be designed to work with simpler and cheaper mechanisms (bicycles, animals, etc), but there would be a parallel reduction in capacity. 

    If the plan is to donate the GVCS then you might want to convert all the machines to run on some kind of sealed-for-life electric motor so that dependence on outside supply chains is less of an issue.

    At any rate, give it a shot. Lets see what happens.
  • william neal is currently working on making a metric ceb press in china

  • hey there,

    for information, we are starting a group in France.
    we are based around Montpellier
    you can join us on
    we are at the early stages and will send out news very soon.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2013

    Hi all,

    I just
    recently joined the Forum. I’m impressed with the products, the goals and the
    future. I want to acquire a Liberator CEM. I just bought a small parcel and
    want to enclose it, plus I want to build a storage/garage structure using CE
    blocks. I do not have a shop capable of reproducing the liberator. Does anyone know
    of someone selling a used Liberator CEM? I would consider other machines, but
    their prices are kind of high. I appreciate any advice. You can leave comments
    here or email me suggestion at

    No sure if
    this makes a difference but I'm located in southern Colorado. To all, be well
    and thanks for the help.


  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2013
    I'll email you, but also post here, that I have a CEB Press that I used to build my house and would be interested in selling or renting mine, especially to someone nearby.  I am in Bloomington, Indiana.  I've paid $12000 for the CEB Press and $2500 on the power cube.  I may also be available to answer questions and help refine a design if that is desired.  I am currently building a CEB House of my own, I've payed an architect roughly $8k to teach and explore the design elements of CEB construction with me and have consulted with FeF about their microhouse.

    My email is

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2013


    Thanks for your response. I just got back in the country after some work duties. I will email you back. You sound knowledgeable and want to explore finding a use CEB press.


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