Bulldozer Workshop


August 15-24, 2015

Maysville, Missouri, USA

Build Yourself. Build Your World.

The Open Source Ecology Bulldozer Workshop is a 10 day immersion experience where we build Open Source Ecology’s largest machine to date – a 12 ton, 168 hp bulldozer. This workshop builds upon our recent production of 6 Power Cubes and the MicroTractor:

MicroTrac from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo.

We are extending these results to build the world’s first Open Source Bulldozer prototype. Our goal is to build a prototype comparable in power and traction to somewhere between the Caterpillar™ D5 and D6 industry standard. In this workshop, we will stack multiple Power Cubes, track units, and modular wheel units – and other lifesize Lego-like modules. The innovation lies in modularizing the design such that a much larger machine can be build from the same components as the smaller version. This is an example of the radical modularity that we are applying to the heavy machines of the Global Village Construction Set:

Workshop immersion involves concept and practice, and includes a crash course in metal fabrication: welding, torching, and other basic skills. Participants become engaged in a part of OSE’s development process, where we produce open source blueprints for the infrastructures of civilization. Participants are introduced to basic principles of collaborative literacy – how the collaborative mindset can be used to solve wicked problems.

We will break up into several teams working in parallel: tracks, universal rotors, idlers, bulldozer blade, and ripper/keyline plow. As one team welds the tracks (6 people), other teams work in parallel on the other modules. The first 6 days are intended for building the components (tracks, blade, universal rotors, frame, ripper, and hydraulics) – and the last 4 days will involve assembly. The workshop capacity is limited to 16 people.

If more than 12 people register for the workshop, and if there is electronics expertise within the team – we will dedicate another team to the build of OSE’s CNC torch table. The CNC torch table is an essential tool for rapid prototyping which allows us to cut parts rapidly. This CNC torch table builds upon the work of the open source Koruza project – a minimalist CNC machine that requires only a drill press and grinder to fabricate.

The nature of this workshop is experimental, in that this is our first prototype of the bulldozer. However – since we are building upon our existing Power Cubes, OSE’s Modular Wheel Units, and our proof of concept on the bulldozer tracks – we are simply stacking several of these modules for the larger machine. The modules are overbuilt so they could be used for larger machines, such as this test of the 2000 lb MicroTrac carrying 6000 lb of weight on idle:

We have also developed techniques to scale the number of Power Cubes indefinitely. We expect to finish the 168 hp base traction system and to do a test drive. We think that the bulldozer blade and ripper are also within the scope of the program, but that will depend on the cumulative skill and collaboration of the workshop participants.

OSE’s intent is to use this machine in September for earthworks to begin implementing our site plan.

This workshop is intended for people interested in immersion, hands-on skills training and practical results. We are especially interested in meeting future collaborators who are interested in developing viable, open sourcce business models around the machines and tools that we are developing.

To help spread this work, we have recruited a dedicated video documenter who will produce an interactive video on this build event.

The overall workshop is designed for people interested in transitioning from Zero to Steward and Maker. We welcome both complete novices and those with experience, as those with experience will also learn a number of skills. The critical part is willingness to learn. There are 2 tracks offered in this workshop:

  • Full 10 day workshop – $750
  • Individual days – sign up for any number of days at $120/day.

As a bonus, we are also screening a pre-release of a documentary film on one of OSE’s collaborations, Reversing the Mississippi.

Have questions? Drop us an email: info at opensourceecology dot org



  • Marcin Jakubowski was trained as a fusion physicist. He left academia right after finishing his Ph.D. to start a farm – in Missouri. For the last 7 years, he has been working on the Global Village Construction Set – a set of enabling tools and machines for building regenerative infrastructures. Marcin is passionate about creating the Open Source Economy – a new operating system for Earth. See Marcin’s bio.

Learning Outcomes

Skills Learning
  • This is OSE’s first event where we will be documenting participants’ skill levels by using OSE’s Certification Process. The OSE Certification is an OSE-specific credentialing system for generalist skill sets which is not a pass/fail mark – but instead – documentation of the skill level of participants. We are offering the OSE Metal Fabrication Certification for welding, torching, and other tool use. This is OSE’s documentation protocol for recording the capabilities of individuals, with an intent of encouraging continued learning. This is NOT a formal certification for industry, but more a skill set for the farmer-scientist and generalist and innovator for the distributed economy.
  • Design for fabrication, scalability, and flexibility
  • Bulldozer Design
  • Frame construction and Basic Mechanical Design Calculations
  • Fundamentals of hydraulic system design
  • Power/fluid flow calculations for horsepower and hydraulic fluid power
  • Workshop and workflow design
  • Speed, power, torque, and traction calculations for traction vehicles
  • Fundamentals of welding and custom fabrication – drilling, metal shearing, shop press, other tools
  • Use of MIG welder, torch, and angle grinders
  • Using the open source holepuncher, ironworker
  • Parallel build techniques
  • How to build a bulldozer
  • Collaborative Literacy basics
  • Collaborative cloud editing, use of wiki, and cloud documents
  • Instructionals Production and Data Collection


Note: schedule is being refined and may change slightly.

Day 1 – Beginning
  • 8AM: Introduction to OSE
  • 9AM: Bulldozer Introduction
  • 10AM: Workshop Orientation. Beginning of training and build.
  • 12:00PM: Lunch
  • 1PM: Afternoon Session
  • 6:30-7:30PM: Dinner
  • 6:30-7:30PM: The Quality Control Checklist – a critical piece towards success. We will go over all the steps and collaboratively refine a complete checklist for the build.
Day 2 – Power Cubes, Modular Wheel Units, and finishing of parts cutting.
  • 8AM: Review of progress and intro presentation
  • 9AM: Morning Session. Layout of Wheel Units.
  • 12:00PM: Lunch
  • 1PM: Afternoon Session. Welding of Wheel Units.
  • 6:30PM: Dinner
  • 7:30-9PM: Movie Night Bonus – “Reversing the Mississippi – a pre-release screening of a documentary on the collaboration and tractor build with the OSE and Our School at Blair Grocery projects.
Day 3 – Track Welding. This is the big day – if we make it through the tracks by Day 3 – we are golden.
  • 8AM: Review of progress and intro presentation.
  • 9AM: Morning Session
  • 12:00PM: Lunch
  • 1PM: Afternoon Session
  • 6:30: Dinner
  • 7:30: Poolside relaxation
Day 4 – Bulldozer Idlers and Sprockets
  • Schedule follows pattern of Day 3
Day 5 – 6 Way Blade and Combination Bucket
  • Schedule follows pattern of Day 3
Day 6 – Keyline Plow
  • Schedule follows pattern of Day 3
Day 7 – Finishing of Modules
  • Schedule follows pattern of Day 3
Day 8-10 Assembly and First Run. The last 3 days will focus on the assembly of modules.
  • On the last day at 7:30 PM, we will have a closure session where we discuss our learnings and future directions. The cutoff for any build and testing activity is 6:30 on the last day


Workshop fee includes workshop tuition. There will be 2 pickups and dropoffs from the airport, Kansas City International (about an hour away). If you need a ride, we will be picking up people on Friday night between 6 PM and midnight. Please plan to arrive in that time frame if you need a ride. This applies to August 14 and 21 only – otherwise you are responsible for your own transportation to our site. Airport dropoff will occur first thing in the morning on August 17 and 25, so please plan for a return flight closest to this time. There are buses to Cameron and St. Joseph, Missouri – where we can also pick you up during a break. Participants may secure a hotel in Cameron, Missouri, (15 miles away). Participants are also welcome to camp at Factor e Farm. We have wild camping which includes a composting toilet. Showers and a bathroom are located in our main house, HabLab. The bathroom is being remodeled. The kitchen and bathroom will be clean upon arrival, but after that space maintenance and cleaning is the responsibility of those using the facilities. Meals will be done as a combination of catered dinner and potluck lunch. For lunch – bring your own or bring some to share. OSE will provide continental breakfast make-your-own sandwiches for lunch, and catered dinner. A kitchen is available for basic food preparation. We also have a swimming pool that is open during daylight hours for relaxation.


Registration Fee for 10-day Workshop: $750

Registration Fee for any day: $120/day. We recognize that 10 days is a long time to take off for this immersion experience, so we are also offering single and multiple days. For those who would like to become familiar with OSE’s culture and design/build techniques + obtain tools training, we recommend that you come for the first 3 days. If you would like to see the finished product, we recommend that you sign up for the last 3 days, which will focus on assembly of the completed machine.

Sponsor another participant: Donate $750 or $120/day to fund the attendance of someone who is on the waiting list for financial assistance.

Discounts for Students and Low Income Individuals: If you are a student or in need, your cost is 50% off for any of the options. If this is still beyond your means, we can consider Work Exchange, where you stay an extra day to help with site preparation and cleanup. You pay a deep discounted rate of $25/day. Email us for details.

2-for-1 Discounts: Bring a family member or friend with you for free.

Group Rate: If you can bring a group of 3 or more people including you – we can give you a discount. Please email us.

True Fans of OSE: As supporting members of OSE, True Fans receive a 25% discount on all of our workshops – on top of the discounts above. You can sign up as a True Fan now to become eligible for the True Fans discount on future workshops.

Donate to OSE: We are a nonprofit organization with 501(c)3 status. You can make tax-deductible contributions to us.

Payment Options: PayPal, Credit Card, Dwolla, Bitcoin, Check, Money Order, or Cash

Registration for the choices above is found on Eventbrite, but Eventbrite accepts only PayPal or Credit Card. If you would like to pay by other means you can select that option at Eventbrite, but then you have to submit your payment independently of Eventbrite. We accept Dwolla, Bitcoin, Check, Money Order, or Cash. Your registration will be confirmed upon receipt of payment. Please make checks payable to Open Source Ecology. Our mailing address is OSE, 909 SW Willow Rd, Maysville, MO 64469. For mailings, please write “Miracle Workshop” along with number of days on your instrument of payment.

Cancellation Policy
If for any reason you can’t attend a workshop you registered for we will be happy to (a) transfer you credit towards another Power Cube workshop in the future; (b) or equivalent credit towards any other other OSE workshop; (c) substitute the name on your ticket and have a friend take your place.

Pay with Dwolla

Dwolla charges lower transaction costs than PayPal. If you are paying by Dwolla, register at Eventbrite and select the Dwolla option, then pay independently via Dwolla (Dwolla is not currently integrated into Eventbrite). Use Open Source Ecology or ops@opensourceecology.org as the Dwolla recipient.

Pay with Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a decentralized payment system. You can pay via bitcoin for your particular choice via a bitcoin amount translated by the current bitcoin exchange rate on the day that you register. OSE’s Bitcoin Address is 166yC48RakrZdtsBj36vY9q29CpzknHbxY

Pay with Paypal / Credit Card

To pay with paypal/credit card, please use the the Eventbrite form below. Eventbrite charges a 6% fee on top of the ticket price.

Code of Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

Our location is a living and working facility. We expect basic standards of respect and nurture a collaborative environment for any problem solving. For conflict resolution on any unresolved dispute, we encourage the use of binding arbitration. If, however, basic respect is not shown towards anyone on site or if there is an unwillingness to resolve the problem in a calm and respectful way, the person in breech of this code of conduct will be asked to leave immediately. Insults (veiled or otherwise), threats, any form of aggression, the use of inappropriate language or any form of disrespect will not be tolerated.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.