MicroTractor Workshop


July 13-15, 2015

Maysville, Missouri, USA

Build Yourself. Build Your World.

The MicroTractor workshop is a 3 day event – led by Marcin Jakubowski, founder of Open Source Ecology (OSE) – and Thomas Griffing, OSE Power Cube Lead Developer. The event takes participants hands-on through a complete build of the MicroTractor.

The micro-tractor – the OSE MicroTrac – is a tracked, small-size tractor with a 28 horsepower hydraulic power unit, the Power Cube. The MicroTrac has a quick connect plate and can accept a wide range of implements, from a bucket, backhoe, to a trencher – or it can be used to power other machines – such as a sawmill, brick press, welder, heavy duty lathe, well drilling rig, log splitter, or many others.

Workshop immersion involves concept and practice, and includes crash courses on key elements of fabrication, OSE’s modular design methods, CAD, and documentation. Participants become part of OSE’s design and build process, where we produce open source blueprints for the infrastructures of civilization. This workshop focuses on one of the 50 machines of the Global Village Construction Set – an important utility, agriculture, and construction machine – the MicroTrac.

In 2009, we have built our first prototype of a micro-tractor:

Since then, we learned about the importance of traction, especially in rough conditions. Now, we are building upon our structural Power Cube to build a tracked, stand-behind, multipuropose tractor.

The three day workshop revolves around the structural Power Cube – a 28 horsepower, hydraulic power unit – built in the Power Cube Workshop right before the MicroTrac Workshop. The first day includes crash courses in welding, torching, and other tool use. The workshop features use of OSE’s open source machines – including the open source 20-ton hole puncher, ironworker machine, and CNC Torch Table. This workshop is intended for people interested in immersion, hands-on skills training and practical results. This immersion course may be especially useful to people who would like to master their own machines and tools, such that the machines can last a lifetime.

We will use structural steel tubing construction just like in the Power Cube. Workshop participants will be exposed to modular design – where motors, parts, power units, and other modules can be interchanged between machines. As an example of modularity, we will build a charcoal gasifier after the MicroTractor workshop (not part of this workshop) – so that the MicroTractor – can be run on a locally-produced, carbon-negative biomass resource.

We are inviting those individuals who are interested in building their own MicroTractor – or entrepreneurs interested in starting a business. OSE’s goal is to create open, collaborative, ethical enterprise ecosystems that accelerate innovation towards a better world. We are also inviting dedicated documenters and videographers to participate in documenting the build.

The overall workshop is designed for people interested in transitioning from Zero to Maker, though those with experience will also learn a number of skills. Can’t weld? We’ll give you a crash course. This course assumes no prior skills outside of general body awareness. Some people will be given documentation tasks if appropriate.

  • Weekend Workshop (July 13-15): Design, Build, and Get Skills.
  • Documentation Track (July 13-15): Document for replicability.

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.
  • Thomas Griffing has a background in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Technical Writing and Hydraulics. He runs a small computer consulting business, instructs Tai Chi classes and also teaches “online” computer classes for a community college in Dallas. He has a farm in East Texas with a shop where he practices permaculture farming, works on projects of interest and sells Power Cube kits, parts and other items. He has also led OSE workshops on fabricating the Power Cube and Micro Power Cube. Tom Griffing is OSE’s Power Cube Lead and has been in Power Cube development since 2011.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design for fabrication, scalability, and flexibility
  • Frame construction
  • Computed-aided design – FreeCAD basics, warehouse parts for design, and file manipulation for documentation purposes
  • Computer manufacturing file generation
  • Basic Mechanical Design calculations
  • Fundamentals of hydraulic system design
  • Basics of safety engineering
  • Power/fluid flow calculations for horsepower to hydraulic fluid power
  • Workshop and workflow design
  • Fundamentals of welding and custom fabrication – drilling, metal shearing, shop press.
  • Use of MIG welder, torch, and angle grinders
  • Use of open source CNC Torch Table, Hole Puncher, Ironworker Machine
  • Parallel build techniques
  • Collaborative cloud editing, use of wiki
  • Collaborative data collection, video, and picture uploads
  • FreeCAD documentation basics
  • Realtime video and instructionals production


Note: schedule is being refined and may change slightly.

Day 1 – Introduction and Crash Courses
  • 8AM: Workshop Introduction, OSE Presentation, Site Tour
  • 9:30AM: Introduction to the MicroTrac Design and Build Process. Using FreeCAD for manipulating design, Documentation Procedures, Contributing to OSE Development.
  • 10:30AM: Break
  • 11AM: Safety training and workshop introduction
  • 11:30AM:Crash Courses in workshop + custom fabrication tools training. Welding, torching, grinding, drilling, CNC Torch Table. Making sample parts. Understanding small engines. Understanding hydraulics. Engine electrical systems. Measurement and data collection.
  • 1-2PM: Lunch
  • 2-5PM: Extreme Build: Parts Inventory and Layout; Pre-cutting; Fabrication
  • 5-6:30PM: Dinner
  • 6:30-7:30PM: Build Workflow, Role Allocation, and Quality Control Presentation. Team Role Allocation.
  • Day 2 – MicroTrac Extreme Manufacturing
  • 8AM-Noon:Build continues.
  • Noon-1PM: Lunch
  • 1PM-5PM: Build continues.
  • 5-5:30: Workshop Cleanup
  • 5:30-6:30: Dinner
  • 6:30-8:30: Movie Night Bonus – Reversing the Mississippi – a pre-release screening of a documentary on the collaboration and tractor build with OSE and the Our School at Blair Grocery projects.
  • Day 3 – Build Finishing
  • 8AM-Noon: Finishing assembly. Test run: moving and loader bucket operation.
  • 1PM-5PM: Test run: auger operation; mowing operation if time allows.
  • 5-6:30PM: Dinner
  • 6:30-7:30PM: Discussion, Feedback, and Closing
  • Workshop Start and Contingencies

    The workshop starts at 8 AM sharp on Monday morning. Presentations and workshop activity will continue rain or shine. In the event of bad weather, we will do what we can in terms of the site tour. If rainy weather is in the forecast, please bring rain gear.


    Registration Fee for 3-day Workshop: $350

    Registration Fee for Documentation Track (3 days): $250

    Sponsor another participant: Sponsor $350 to fund 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 $15/day. Email us for details.

    2-for-1 Discounts: Select 1 or 2 day option, and 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.

    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.

    Workshop fee includes workshop tuition. We can pick you up from the airport, Kansas City International (about an hour away). Participants may secure a hotel in Cameron, Missouri, (15 miles away). Participants are also welcome to camp at Factor e Farm. We have a camping location which includes a composting toilet. Showers and a bathroom are located in our main house, HabLab. 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 and make-your-own sandwiches for lunch. A kitchen is available for basic food preparation. We also have a swimming pool that is open during daylight hours for relaxation.

    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 MicroTrac 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.

    1 Comment

    1. Gift

      which address can write to. I would like to inquire more about this workshop