News Column

Workshop Makes a Compressed Earth Brick Press from Scratch in One Day

June 23, 2014



WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis., June 23 -- Mid-State Technical College issued the following news:

Extreme manufacturing techniques were on display June 17-19 at Mid-State Technical College's (MSTC) Wisconsin Rapids Campus.

A three-day workshop led by Marcin Jakubowski, founder of Open Source Ecology (OSE), showcased how extreme manufacturing techniques are used to build a complete, automated compressed earth brick (CEB) press in one day. The machine was completely built from scratch, with parts cut via computer numerical control (CNC). These pieces were then welded, and then assembled together with the automated controller and hydraulic system.

"It was exciting to get hands-on training in the process of building this sophisticated machine out of nothing more than basic resources," said MSTC Sustainable Heating & Cooling Technician Instructor Ben Nusz.

A CEB press compresses clay earth into bricks that can be used for building. These bricks are cheaper because they can be made with dirt on site, and are consequently more environmentally friendly. They are also highly energy efficient, insulating well against both heat and sound.

The workshop was designed for people interested in hands-on training, especially those individuals who want to use a CEB press in future endeavors. Participants were immersed in concept and production, including crash courses on key elements of design, fabrication, computer-aided design, microcontrollers, hydraulics, open documentation, and open enterprise models. A total of 30 people attended the workshop.

Event planners partnered with MSTC and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in co-organizing this event. The machine will be on display June 20-22 at MREA's Energy Fair in Custer.

Nusz emphasized that this workshop is just the tip of the iceberg for people interested in careers related to renewable energy and conservation.

"This workshop is just one of many great opportunities in sustainable energy technology available here at MSTC," said Nusz. "MSTC is home to numerous career programs and certificates in the field of renewable energy, many that are available nowhere else in the Wisconsin Technical College System."

MSTC currently offers career programs in Process & Biorefinery Technology, Renewable Energy Specialist, Solar Electric Technician, and Sustainable Heating and Cooling Technician. Individuals who are interested in learning more about these and the more than 100 total programs and certificates available at MSTC are encouraged to visit www.mstc.edu/programs or call 888-575-MSTC.

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