Bricks are fairly easy to make, but in the developing world, traditional fired bricks are sometimes weak and crumble-prone, while cement ones are often unaffordable. The Vermeer BP714 is the first compressed-earth-block machine that makes strong air-dried bricks out of dirt. Its bricks don't just exceed U.S. cement-code strength requirements—they're 20 to 30 percent stronger, and cheaper than other machines' too.
The process is simple. An operator mixes dirt with a bit of water and cement and shovels the concoction into the Vermeer. A portion of the mix moves into a chamber hydraulically pressurized by an integrated diesel engine, where steel plates slam 55,000 pounds of pressure upward to squeeze the dirt into a block. To make the bricks strong and uniform, the machine does something unique: Two cylinders slide into the brick, compressing the dirt even further.
The Vermeer can pound out a 7-by-14-by-4-inch block every 15 seconds. And the bricks are the first that can interlock and accept steel reinforcements for earthquake and hurricane zones.
Now make it even on a larger industrial scale and make the bricks even cheaper still and make slate shingles as well.
And what happens to the bricks when they get wet?
"And the bricks are the first that can interlock and accept steel reinforcements for earthquake and hurricane zones."
No, google "stumblebloc" also a very good idea, and you could make them without any machine.
Just wondering, why this look like the CEB Press from Open Source Ecology. Link below:
Aside from the fact this is not the first of it's kind machine, given its specs (every 15 seconds it pumps out a 7x14x7 brick), assuming a 80% run time (thats generous) one could expect roughly 4600 bricks per day. That is enough to make a 10ft by 75ft square box (750 sq ft house) each day. Given that this is suppose to be fore developing countries, its not bad. Not amazing...but not bad if you're using more than one.
How can this be redesigned so that it can be used with out electrical power nor hydraulics? Levers and cams come to mind.
We were building these 15 years ago in Albuquerque for a company called Adobe International in Milan New Mexico. We were pressing 8-9 blocks a minute at 3000 feet and 12 at sea level. As far as rain goes it's not a problem at all. We got a block jammed in the machine once and it took a 4' chisel, twenty lb sledge, 4 men, a pressure washer and 4 hours to chip it out of there. We compressed horizontally at 72,000#. Larry has built some good looking building with them, both commercial and residential in the US as well as Africa and South America. Also there is no cement or water used in his process, however there was another company using flyash to cause perpetual hardening of the blocks. Really nice idea and ecologically practical. After all it's cheap as dirt.
Hmm, reminds me of the Stockade Building System R. Buckminster Fuller invented very early in his career.
Each of his bricks also had two holes, for pouring concrete into.
its not getting the materials to build a house, its getting the land in which to build a house upon.
Kind of hard to talk local building inspectors and city engineers into accepting non-standard, non-tested products. A normal brick company or block manufacturer can test and assure the architect of some quality. It would be more difficult to get a loan for such a home too. It would be very difficult to produce blocks to some standard compressive strength.
Saying that, ram earth homes have stood in some place for hundreds of years. There may be some fact that the locking ability and reinforcement would save lives in earthquake prone areas.
I did test some earth-crete blocks using local soils at one time. They did do quite well but a traditional block is still a better product. There isn't that much concrete in a normal block as it is produced in very low slump mixtures under compression. They tend to use by products like fly ash in them if available.
The article claims “The Vermeer BP714 is the first compressed-earth-block machine that makes strong air-dried bricks out of dirt.” This is incorrect as we have been in business since 1989 and have been making compressed earth block machines from day one.
We have 40 pieces of equipment with the U.S. Military and are in 26 other foreign countries.
You can Google or YouTube Advanced Earthen Construction Technologies or AECT and you will find our machines.
Excellent animated illustration. It really supports to make filtered bricks without granules. It is looking like single brick making machine. I have seen medium size machine which can make 16 bricks at a time.
"And what happens to the bricks when they get wet?"
Probably nothing. If you press hard enough, it becomes stone.
Other than that, it seems too short to make it worthwhile for usa. It requires lots cement and labor.
"How can this be redesigned so that it can be used with out electrical power nor hydraulics? Levers and cams come to mind."
I don't see how this is going to be better without hydraulics or gasoline. The machine already look very compact and portable so I would say they already made it cost effective compare to other methods.