Star Top CEB Presses

Star Top Compressed Earth Block Presses
Star Top Compressed Earth Block Presses

Compressed earth blocks (CEBs) have countless uses and come in dozens of shapes (many more than shown here). They are commonly used for residential and commercial structures, earthquake resistant structures, privacy walls, columns, bond beams, pavers, planters, stairs, etc. For instance, you could make CEB columns on your house and privacy walls and stack earthbags between. (See Confined Earthbag.) Right now I’m making an outdoor oven with CEBs. The possibilities are endless.

Star Top Construction and Blockprasan Co., Ltd. manufactures very high quality compressed earth block presses in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. When you look at the ¾” (2 cm) thick steel parts, it sure looks like these machines would last well over 100 years with continual use. Note: I am not paid in any way for promoting these presses. I’m very impressed with their ruggedness and quality and would like people to know about their products. In fact, I’ve admired them for about 4-5 years and have finally got around to telling people about them.

Many people know about the Aureka presses made in India. Here’s a brief comparison:
Star Top Standard press makes 10 types of blocks and costs $800 US.
Star Top Hitop press makes 30 types of blocks and costs $900 US.
Aureka 3000 multi-mould manual earth block press as shown here costs $X [cost not available yet, but it’s roughly twice the cost if I remember correctly]

Star Top also manufactures a whole line of block making equipment, including hammermills to pulverize soil, mortar mixers to mix the soil with cement, and machine and hand-operated block presses. I’m guessing there are several thousand small shops in Thailand with a similar set of machines. They quoted us $4,171 for the whole set of machines to make blocks by hand and $8,843 for the machine operated set that makes two blocks at a time.

Sample CEB Block Shapes (many more available)
Sample CEB Block Shapes (many more available)

Note the holes in the CEBs. Rebar is inserted through the blocks and then the holes are filled with cement grout. There is no mortar between this type of CEB.

Star Top website
Star Top Technology
Phone in Thailand: 034-2679534
Cost of CEBs at Phu Phan Research Center: 23 cents
Standard size of CEBs: 12.5x25x10 cm high (you can make other sizes)

Update: This video shows how the press works. It’s actually a competing brand made by K. Thai Machinery Company that looks and operates virtually the same way.

68 thoughts on “Star Top CEB Presses”

  1. Dear Mr.Owen and all,

    I’m writing this comment to update our contact because I received feedback from customers that they don’t receive your email reply from

    So I would like to inform our contact as follow;
    Whatsapp: +66832686417

    Best regards,

  2. I really appreciate for your great work you put through this as you know there is no hell of lot info about isb or cssb haven’t said startop seems great deal but as some of us already mention they do really take their time by email or by whatsapp sometimes I wonder if they really up to this, I am interesting interlocking block machines as I have my on project some of the house will be 2 storey we are concern about density of the blocks also we believe we can use more cement like 20% or more and fine sand and maybe little bit clay, about the clay we are not sure as we find out clay could shrink over period of time but again we are not expert it will be great if you can share any ideas thaks

    • It’s a cultural thing. Many Thais don’t like to answer emails. They much prefer phone calls by another Thai.

      Try to find good soil with the proper sand/clay ratio so you don’t have to add extra clay.

      The best CEBs are made with a pulverizer and mixer to thoroughly prepare the soil before making blocks.

      • thanks for the reply Mr Owen Geiger appreciated it, for the kind advice I was wondering if you can recommend any pulverizer brand cheers also what about if I use 20% of cement would that be a problem or weaken the block cheers

        • Talk to people who are already making CEBs, preferably those with a lot of experience. They will know what brands are best. Same with any other tools. Just ask the professionals and see what they use. The percentage of cement will depend on your soil. You can’t guess. You have to analyze by doing soil tests and making sample blocks.

      • Hello Owen, I want to get a training on how to build with IECB, do you have any recommendation in Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia?

  3. Dear Owen Geiger

    Because you have experience with different construction methods and because you may know of different suppliers in Thailand, I want to ask you:

    – Is Startop the only one company in thailand that produces block presses?
    – Does their Startop block press have adjustment bolds to calibrate the block height and parallelism?

    Thanks in advance.

    • There are numerous CEB manufacturers in Thailand. The main reason I’ve mentioned Startop is because the local research center 10 miles from our house has one. We buy blocks from them occasionally and the machine is very well made. I’ve just heard from a reader that their new machines are even better. The old machines produced blocks that deviated in height by 1/16″ or so. Now apparently the blocks are uniform in height as well as length, width and parallelism. Contact the company to verify if this is accurate.

      • Thanks for your quick reply.

        What other manufacturers do you know/recommend for manual block presses?

        I am interested to buy one manual block press.

        Regards from Siem Reap.

          • Dear Owen

            I saw the Auram Press 3000 from India and it is able to make many things. However, at the moment I think it would be more useful to me to know about manufacturers in Thailand, because they are closer.

            So far, I have contacted Startop to check if the new manual presses have the height issue corrected, but in my experience they take their time to reply email.

            I have also contacted K.THAI GOLDEN MAR CO. but they do not have the model I want in stock (30x15x10 cm). They told me they can manufacture it for USD $2,000 if I place the order.

            Any other option you may know of in Thailand?

          • Most websites and most information is in Thai. It’s waay easier to pay a Thai such as a Thai teacher to search for you.

  4. Dear Startop Interlocking Brick,

    I am interested in buying your machines. Do you have any english language website?

    How can I contact you to learn more about your machines.



  5. Hi

    I am investigating building an Earthship ( in Thailand and as a result do not want to use cement. I would prefer to use a mix of locally obtained earth, clay and organic binder – maybe sawdust, sugarcane leaves or elephant dung (1 part clay, 2 parts sand and 2 parts organic) to create the bricks and also as an adobe render.

    I am keen to know whether the machines described here would be appropriate to use with these ingredients?



    • It’s not clear if you want 1. materials to go in the tires, 2. materials for interior walls, 3. materials to build something similar to an earthship such as earthbags. 4. build CEB walls instead of tires.

      For strength, low cost and speed I would use earthbags (tubes are faster than bags) filled with road base. This is the red clay/gravel soil that’s common throughout Thailand and many other countries. It’s used on all the roads and is very cheap.

      Ramming tires is way slower than building with earthbags. Making and stacking thousands of CEBs would be extremely slow. CEBs are best for narrow walls.

    • Hi Lloyd,
      While I cannot comment on the types of equipment you can use, you should visit our website and see what AggreBind does for soil stabilization and CEB. Also see the AggreBind block making videos on YouTube.

  6. concerning multi story buildings from CEB walls: We are general contractors that build with ceb. We have purchased a STARTOP machine and are happy with it. My engineer says that at the present time, only 2 stories can be built with current technology altho I personally think the buildings could go higher. In any event, check with your engineer if you plan to get your project thru the local inspection process.

    • Thanks for the input. We get a lot of inquiries. I always tell them to contact the manufacturer.

      The number of stories allowed can depend on local codes and number of cores filled with rebar and cement, window sizes, etc. Check with an engineer like you say.

    • Hi Greg,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I would like to purchase a few STARTOP machines too, and they emailed me their catalog. How did you proceed with the payment? I live in the USA, and I was wondering if I should travel there to purchase the machine, make the payment locally and ship the machine or make the payment from the USA. Can you please let me know how you proceeded with the payment to get the machine?
      Thanks in advance.

  7. Dear Mr.Matt and all,

    I would like to let you sure when you order machine with our company. I send the machine to you surely when the machine produce finish, have testing complete, don’t have problem and your payment completed. So don’t worry, We have customers from Thailand and abroad around the world. We have sent the machine completely more than 10 countries more than 20 times.

    Best regards,
    Startop Interlocking Brick Co.,Ltd, Thailand

  8. Dear Mr. Owen Geiger,

    Thanks 4 your very informative blog about StarTop. I got a price quote from them and a request to send a 40% advance prior to production & remainder after production & before shipping. Here’s my problem, how can I ensure that after payments, they’d evevtually deliver? Did you actually order some of their machines and if so how did you effect payment?


    • I have nothing to do with them. It’s just one company, one article out of thousands that we’ve posted on our blog. I did see their machines though and they look very good. I think they will deliver okay.

  9. Dear Owen Geiger,

    Thank you for your article that about us.

    I’m Thanitcha from Startop Interlocking Brick Co.,Ltd (Old name: Startop construction and blockprasan Co.,Ltd) Now, you and who interested in our product can contact our at “” or Facebook: because If you call to company, I am afraid that my English listening skills make we conversations not clear. I suggest to send email or Facebook.

    And can visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel:

    Best regards,

    Startop Interlocking Brick Co.,Ltd.
    Production and distribution of Interlocking Brick Making Machine, Mixer Machine, Crusher Machine (soil, stone, red earth etc.) and production the machine according to customer requirements. All of parts of the machines produce by us. To ensure the quality. Export to overseas such as US, Nigeria, Ghana, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia etc. E-mail:

  10. AggreBind can be used for CEB. Please see our Protocol for Brick, Block, Paver Making at Also, AggreBind can be used in place of cement or with cement. Please see our Polymer Modified Concrete Presentation at
    AggreBind is an environmentally friendly, water based cross-linking styrene acrylic polymer. It remains fully traceable after installation providing excellent quality controls. AggreBind is supplied as a liquid concentrate for dilution with water (even sea water providing the salt content is less than 4%). In its undiluted liquid state, will withstand at least five (5) freeze-thaw tests and retain its chemical properties. The stabilizer, when cured, has a temperature tolerance range from -57ºC to + 163ºC, -70ºF to + 325ºF, Highly resistant to water penetration and damage from acids and chemicals. Water resistant benefits offer an additional protection for the reinforcing materials. Curing time is 28 days at 15C. The strength curve is almost identical to concrete. AggreBind remains flexible after curing. AggreBind is compatible with cement, sand, aggregate and virtually all mine waste materials. Subject to laboratory testing, AggreBind will provide significant benefits to concrete formulations without any increase in cost to the final product. Supplied in 1000 ltr totes and 205 ltr drums. AggreBind has a 10 Year Product Guaranty and UV-resistant tested to 12 years. The unique AggreBind polymeric formulation is classified as non-hazardous. AggreBind is available in white that dries clear and in a wide range of colors.
    In many markets we are priced less than cement.

  11. Hi Owen,
    I saw your blog and Maxim Kar asked about AggreBind. AggreBind is not an enzyme product. AggreBind is a complex cross-linking styrene acrylic polymer with tracers used for making roads, blocks, bricks and pavers. It is available in many colors including white/natural and black.
    Thanks for your good work with CEB.
    Best regards,
    Rob Friedman
    President of AggreBind

    • Thanks for the feedback. So your product is suitable for making CEBs? How does the price compare to cement? This could make a good blog topic.

  12. Thanks for the interesting posts on CEB’s. We are planning to build a home and are interested by this as an alternative to conventional construction materials. I would like to ask for one clarification – you refer to a “horizontal” CEB press in some of your posts. Looking through the brochure from Startop company, they mention two models that apply the compression from the side, rather than from the bottom to the top – would those be “horizontal” presses? They are the models they describe as “compressed on the side” priced at 37,500 Baht and “briquette machine curved” priced at 45,000 Baht. Would blocks made by sideways compression tend to have less problems of uneven height than ones compressed from bottom to top? I suppose they could have problems of uneven widths but that would presumably be less troublesom than uneven heights.

    • Yes, that sounds like a horizontal press. Thanks, I hadn’t seen that in their brochure. If so, that would create blocks of perfectly uniform height. That’s way more important that slight variation in width (which doesn’t hurt anything). So this would solve my number one complaint of CEBs — inconsistent block height.

  13. Dear Owen,
    Thank you so much on this post. We are about to order two machines from Malaysia from a a company called Safido Handan. They are VERY expensive and little mold option.
    I am a big fan of CEB and I like to build houses with this technology for low income families. We are a charity that helps poor with housing. we desperately need a better system than our current kiln brick sytem.
    I was looking for another soil stabilizer instead of cement. I have found a company called Aggrebind. Do you have any comment on polymer stabilizers? Please tell me your ideas?

    • Sure. You could go much higher if you wanted. The main disadvantage is getting all the blocks the same exact size. Sometimes the blocks are slightly off and it’s tedious keeping the courses level. That’s why I did the post about horizontal CEB presses, because that type of machine makes them all the same exact height. I’d love to know if Star Top makes a horizontal press. (I haven’t seen one in their literature.)

  14. I want to buy a compressed earth block machine – hydraulic operated one. I am located in Bangalore province of India. Please let me know the contact point in India to buy the machine. Could you please provide me the details.
    Thanks and regards,

  15. I stumbled on your wonderful Star Top Compressed Earth Block Presses whilst searching for one on the internet and I immediately fell in love with them. They are the best in terms of quality and price combined I’ve come across so far.Thank you for making such a nice product affordable to us in the developing countries.

    Please, let me know as soon as you can how much it will cost to ship one of your presses to the US and to Cameroon. I am a Cameroonian but I have a brother in the US who will buy one for me. Thanks.

    • We’re just reporting on good ideas. You’ll have to contact the company directly for details. This may be difficult due to the language barrier. They may not answer emails in English.

  16. Owen,

    It sounds like maybe you have one of these, is that correct? If so, can you please inform us where and how you procured it (including contacts etc.) so we can perhaps get one too?

    ~ evenstill

    • No, I don’t have one. This is the basic kind used by many CEB cottage industry businesses in SE Asia (thousands?). You’ll have to contact the company directly using google. It’s better to call. They probably won’t answer email (it’s a cultural thing). You may need to hire a local translator.

  17. We Want a partnership with blockprasan.We CAN MEET on Thailand on December 2011. Our Megabrik soil blocks press are the best hydraulic 30 tons strength. Claude CALAFELL 0034680840023

  18. Owen:

    If you happen to have contacts at either of these companies in Thailand, could you let them know that there are folks (well, at least 2 of us, anyway) in the US interested in their products. I’ve tried contacting both firms with no results so far.


    • I have no association with these companies. You’ll have to find someone who speaks Thai contact them. Many Thai companies do not respond to emails that are in English since their English skills are probably lacking.

  19. I suspect that cement stabilization is essential with these CEB’s, since without it there would be the danger of the blocks “blooming,” or expanding when they get moist. I know that this is a common complaint made by traditional adobe advocates.

  20. A very timely post, as we were just about ready to order an Aureka block press. At first glance, these do seem perhaps to be built more heavily, and given that customer service will be half a world away that’s very important.


  21. Owen,

    I definately want to buy one of these. I will hopefully be moving to the Denver, CO area this summer with a few friends and we are going to build 2 earth bag homes. I can see where these bricks will come in handy for many things. My question is what do I use exactly (and what ratios) to make the bricks?

    • I think this brand may be the top CEB press in the world. It’s also very affordable. I’d love to hear opinions from others. It sure seems light-years ahead of the crude Cinva rams (original CEB presses made decades ago and plans are still circulating on the Web).

      These blocks were made with about 14% cement. You’ll have to make samples with your local soils and have them tested in a lab (test various soils to see what’s best). Soil properties vary radically from site to site.

      YouTube has some interesting CEB/earth block videos.


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