The Liberator Beta 2.0: Machine Overview

Things are looking up on the fully automatic, open source, CEB press РThe Liberator  Beta v2.0.

We finally have the machine ready to run in field tests. The basic operational description is here, from the front:

and from the back:

Some noteworthy features are:

  • Full automatic controls usiing Arduino and RepRap components.
  • Machine runs from any external, hydraulic power source up to 28 gallons per minute (25-55 hp max)
  • Turnkey operation – just turn it on and machine self-calibrates for any power source and brick thickness.
  • Brick size easily adjustable from 2 to 4 inches in height by adjusting the placement of a magnet. Brick size – 6″x12″x(2″-4″).
  • Machine is reprogrammable for special soil or operating conditions
  • 13 bricks per minute shown in the lab to date.
  • Machine is designed for disassembly, including hopper, so that it can fit on a 3’x6′ pallet, less than 2′ high.
  • Legs are adjustable for uneven terrain, and main cylinder may be lowered below ground level to lower loading height.
  • Secondary leg positions allow low footprint for transport – machine can fit in the bed of a 1/2 ton pickup truck
  • All off-shelf, readily available components used, for a de facto lifetime warranty of service
  • Soil loading drawer rides on self-cleaning v-groove rails, for zero friction operation to extend machine life.
  • Main cylinder has adjustment screws so the press plate never touches sides of compression chamber, to extend life.
  • Near-zero friction design in the two points above eliminates need of using abrasion lining.
  • 6′ by 3′ hopper opening allows loading with a tractor loader. Size is readily extendable by increasing side hopper panels (extra).
  • Automatic vibrator – automatic soil sensor detects soil during loading, and activates hopper shaker.
  • Safety kill switch is implemented as a rope around the machine – pull on it and power is cut off.
  • Machine loads from one side, and bricks are picked up from the other side for workflow and operator safety.
  • 12V operation of the electronics powered by any auxiliary battery. Weather tight electrical enclosure.
  • Hopper grate eliminates oversize clods and rocks
  • 5″ diameter main cylinder and 2.5″ soil-loading drawer cylinder
  • Soil-drawer speed is adjustable.
  • Weight approximately 1600 lb.

Next is field testing, to be published next.


  1. David

    Very impressing!

    This project has a future because you don’t talk to much like many others, but just work on it.

    Best regards!

  2. Devon

    Looking great! Is the angle of the hopper grate intended to help clear clods and rocks?

    Bring on the field test video, love to see this thing in action.

  3. Maureen

    Very cool!

    Is there somewhere we can go to look for directions on how to build the little conveyors that use bicycle bearing?

    What about tie rods in the walls and how to use them to synch overhead tie beam through the wall and down to the foundation?


  4. Joel

    I’m so happy to see that come together!

    Just to clarify, was the leg spacing chosen so that the press is mountable on a truck bed via the stake pockets? Or just narrow enough to fit between the bed rails, and rest on the bed?

    1. Marcin

      The machine’s secondary leg position (inner leg position) is exactly 4 feet wide. This means that the machine stands on its own legs on the 1/2 ton truck bed, which is slightly over 4 feet wide. The outer legs are six feet wide, and the machine length is 6 feet. When the machine sits in the truck bed, the truck gate can be closed.

  5. Jeb

    Very impressive! I wonder if the soil shaker can keep up with the demand of this automated machine! Can’t wait to see it. One quick idea to consider if you haven’t already: Maybe lengthen and move the front hopper supports out to the corners where they can provide edge support for a light metal or plywood sheet used to catch the bigger rocks and clods that fall off the grate and direct them to a neat pile or container in front? (I’m thinking this might also help protect any valves and hoses that aren’t fully under the overhang.)

  6. ken

    This is what I have been waiting/looking for. In a couple of years when I retire I want to build low-cost housing for economically sstruggling hard-working folks here in the US. Have you set a price yet?

  7. stu

    wow, thats totally different than version 1.0 that we were trying to put those awkward vinyl inserts on….

    looks so awesome!!cant wait to see it in action!

    im impressed….nice one!

  8. Roman

    This is nice. I would like to congradualte you on a fine peice of machinery. this is something we would like to use on one of the housing programs we are starting in Costa Rica!! Please contact me!!

  9. […] Thursday, we finally documented initial field operations with our open source CEB press – The Liberator Beta v2.0. We used the soil pulverizer to pulverize the soil, and we used the tooth-bar bucket to load the […]

  10. […] Prototype I of The Liberator lay gathering dust for over a year after it served its initial purpose. We have converted it into a 20 ton shop press, and used it for testing the compressive strength of the blocks produced by the The Liberator Beta v2.0. […]

  11. […] are offering the fully automatic version of The Liberator with 6 foot wide hopper and hopper vibrator for US$8k, FOB at Factor e Farm, Kansas City area, USA. […]

  12. Alex Sushko

    I’m interested in purchasing a CEB machine, that is fairly priced, to produce affordable bricks in BCS, Mexico. 6 x 12 x (2 – 4) is good, 8 x 12 x (2 – 4) is better to match the traditional adobe bricks of this reagion. Any website info. I can check out. Thanks

  13. Open Source Ecology - Overview

    […] initial field testing, pressing bricks, disassembly, crating (packaging), wiki documentation, machine overview, the frame, the […]

  14. Nagpada

    This appears as a very disorganised site. In trying to access CEB Liberator informatin it is scattered all over this site. Would be far less fustrating if it had been consolidated under one tab. The same applies to other applications.

    I observe many people asking various questions with no responce from the principals. Also no ” contact us ” information i.e. phone number, address, email address all in one place.

    If you want to seriously market your products then there needs to be efficient dialogue, which at present does not exist.

    As far as your CEB unit goes, you spent a lot of time reinventing the wheel. Time which could have been better applied to improving existing designs. The design for the Cinva Ram CEB machine ( manual ) is obtainable for $ 50 from It may not be as good as yours and if so you should have spent your time improving upon it rather than starting form scratch. Auroville a non-profit NGO located in India too makes a manual machine that uses multiple style moulds to produce a variety of building bricks trageted to specialised applications. They have been in this field for many more years and work in collaboration with the UN and various world goverments. Yours appears more on the lines of a ego venture with a lot of wasted money in duplicated effort.

    Your automatic unit appears good but very limited in usage. It would have served a purpose if it had been designed to use the various moulds from Auroville ( collaborative improvement ). Making your unit more veasatile and able to produce a multitude of CEB products i.e. roofing tiles, flooring tiles etc.

    Lastly where does one go to order your products either finished or blue prints.

    Hope you choose to reply.

  15. stephen alter

    I am very interested in purchasing the liberator, automatic
    stephen alter