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Eco block forms

Discussion in 'Mining/Aggregates' started by Spud_Monkey, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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  2. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    I know you live aways from anywhere, (for me it's 50 miles to the nearest concrete plant), but I can buy the blocks and haul a tractor-trailer load home for less than I can buy bagged concrete mix to pour my own, IF, I had the excess energy. It takes 40 80 lb bags to make one of these blocks. At $4.80 a bag, that's $192. I buy them loaded on my truck for $15 a piece in truckloads. You have a truck and trailer to haul them....
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
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  3. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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    I would spend $135 in fuel or more just trying to get to nearest concrete plant here which would be 6 to 8 hr round trip across 50 miles of bone jarring river rock road carrying 5 at time max. Versus driving 3 hrs round trip down same road to nearest town and spending $160 and save my sanity in the process from not driving so much.
     
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  4. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    Yeah, but enough bagged concrete to make 5 of those blocks is $960!
     
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  5. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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    Yep and they will be used to build my house out of that will be buried in the hillside, after that's done or while doing that I will use them to stabilize the hillside at the bottom of the house. Either way I was going to spend the money on concrete, would love to have concrete truck come out and pump it out or pick up blocks in town, but such as it's the price of living out there. A concrete truck full of concrete would just sink, not be able to climb up a ridge and not get to where the location of where the house is, I seen it was pushing it at 40k lbs 5 days ago.
    Why such thick walls, well we aren't going to pour bagged concrete fast enough for a wall form of 60' (unless I missed something somewhere), make great thermal mass batteries in winter time, I don't trust bricks to hold the hillside up and even then got to fill them with bagged concrete.
    If you got a better idea of how to take on such project with using just concrete bags and forms that can be interlocked as each one dries, I'm open for ideas.
     
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  6. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    Nahh, I like the idea, I was just saying buying the blocks poured at the plant from scrap concrete for $75 a load, vs $960 a load for the same amount of concrete will pay for a lot of driving.

    What would you get for $160?
     
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  7. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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    That would be the price of 40 bags of concrete here, though I would get several pallets at a time.
     
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  8. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    Oh, ok. so $160 per block, plus your labor to pour it.
     
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  9. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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    No matter which direction I turn on these mathematics I either spend ton of time or ton of money, question to one is which is most important in life.
    Labor is free for me to do and if I wouldn't be doing that I would be working on something else, driving is not my forte on what I want to spend my time on.
     
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  10. Ct Farmer

    Ct Farmer Senior Member

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    You could cut the cost of the concrete drastically by not using premix. If you can get sand and stone delivered or have a way to haul a some in and get bags of Portland you can cut it to maybe $80 a yard. Plus rebar. Mine your own sand and it is even cheaper. Simple 1/2/3 mix by volume Portland,sand, stone. Roughly 5 bags Portland, 1/2 yard sand, 3/4 yard stone plus water gets you a yard of mix around 2500psi. Add another Portland and around 3000psi.

    We mine our sand and get Portland by the pallet. Triaxle of 3/4” and good to go. I would not use it for anything structural but for mafia blocks and setting posts it is plenty good.
     
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  11. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    Well, I've always said to have anything you have to spend time or money, it just comes down to which you want to spend. It makes a difference that I can haul 14 blocks at a time, too.

    I wouldn't think it would be very hard to build these forms.
     
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  12. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    I guess I don't see the difference in weight or the hauling. If you are bringing the bags in as pallets as mix or as poured blocks, the weight is the same. I get the travel distance difference, but that would more than be offset by the labor in mixing and pouring blocks and likely the poured blocks are far far cheaper than buying the mix- as you said, money is a issue and the blocks will be cheaper than the mix.

    Now I could see a advantage if you don't have big enough equipment to set pre poured blocks, but if you are going to set the forms up on site and pour, you still will have to move and set them, unless you plan to pour in place.

    I'm thinking a 3 point mounted forklift mast on the tractor I saw on your trailer, and make the trips to buy the blocks whole, rather than as pallets of mix. If you can't make it up your hill, unload 1/2 of them down at the bottom and make a couple extra trips.

    How many blocks do you want to pour? If its just a few you would be better to just make up some forms like the old simons wood forms. The steel forms are for making the same blocks over and over and over again. If you just need to make 10, I'd form up blocks with wood forms and pour as you go. You don't need to buy the fancy forms to make the shape you want. Wood is cheap.

    I'm going to suggest if you are making and pouring on site, to not mess with "blocks". Just form it up and pour as you go. The old timers built dams without water stop or anything- with just wood forms. Form up and pour a 4' x 6' by whatever depth your wall is or whatever you feel like mixing up. Strip forms the next day and build on the next piece.

    The blocks don't sit tight with each other very well, and if its the wall of your house, a formed and poured wall will be far- far better. And actually easier to do given your site distance constraints.

    I was also going to suggest the buying in bulk the sand rock and portland, but then dump trailer will be in order:).
     
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  13. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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    I didn't know how long concrete could set up before you ran out of time to pour the next layer. All I see is people pouring a whole formed wall at once and seems to be limited information on concrete online and in books in drying times or pouring time. Reason I was picking those fancy forms is to have it where they locked as I stacked them and I have front end loader for that tractor to build forks for. Which thanks for the insight of an idea if I can't get up the ridge offload some and come back and get them, though main reason for hauling so little is I can only hold 16k on that trailer.
     
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  14. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    I've poured my share of concrete. How big a wall do you want to build? 10' high 30' longx 30" deep? twice that big? 1/2 that big? I think everyone can help out if we know more what the end result you are looking for is.

    Ever read about building hoover dam? They pour a section at a time and the next pour ties into the one before it. They don't pour that in one shot, and you don't have to either.

    What I was getting at and mitch is too, that the 16k on the trailer that you can haul, is that it doesn't matter if that's 4 pallets of mix, or 4 blocks, volume is the weight. The only part you aren't hauling is the water. Blocks cost less, but are further away, mix costs more but is closer. Mix is more work on site. Blocks are more driving.
     
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  15. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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    Would be 8' in height and then if you look at attached picture of where the tires are in black circles it would be 62' for back wall about 20' on each side on side walls and then the taper down to ground such as in this picture. I'm building a passive solar home, not a Earthship where they pound in 900 plus tires like ants.
    Two bedroom.jpg
     
  16. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    So you are wanting a concrete wall where the tires are. I wouldn't do that out of eco blocks. It will leak between the blocks and be a pain. Think of it as pouring the wall just like adding lego blocks. Form up and pour what you can reasonably mix in batches. If you get your loader up and running, a 8' tall wall would be a breeze.

    Here's how I would do it with what you have for equipment

    1: if you had a 3 point mounted forklift mast, a loader full of rock/ dirt for counterweight. Mount a mixer on the forklift Pto drive. A twin cylinder mast would be ideal to make your forklift mast out of, it gives you room for your pto shaft. Mixer lowered, with tractor on the future home floor level. Load mixer. When mixed, unhook pto shaft. Back up to forms and dump mixer. You could do your home floor the same way working your way out after you do the walls.

    2: If you don't have the forklift mast, you can probably do it with the loader. Mixer on ground. PTO running mixer from tractor. Load and mix. Disconnect PTO, turn around and pick up mixer with loader, carry it to the walls and dump. Repeat.

    If you want to use the loader. The first concrete pour I would make would be about a 3' x 3' x3' square, with two side pins and two angle irons sticking out the top. This becomes a counterweight to mount on the 3 point of the tractor.
     
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  17. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    I made a drawing for you.:)

    Start the first day with blocks #1 formed. Pour. Second day form and pour #2's and keep stair stepping down the wall. When you aren't pouring and waiting for concrete to set up, your forming.

    After you have a piece poured, place a 2x in the top of the unset concrete, making a groove. Pull it when the concrete is partially set up. This becomes the tongue for the next block up the wall, locking the pours together. You can do the same thing on your end board forms, attach a 2x2 in the center, making a groove for the next "block" to flow into locking your sections together side to side.

    And just kind of figure on pouring a 2x8 or 2x10 or so height, each time you pour.

    It won't be the prettiest smooth wall, but it would be way better than blocks stacked together.

    Are the cisterns for radiant floor heat/ cooling with the pipes in the floor? And then you need pipes in the wall?

    Or are they just for water storage.

    Also for mixing all this concrete- What have you got for water onsite? Just rainwater storage or is there a pond or stream? Water may be a issue.

    20201003_081109.jpg
     
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  18. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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    Cursive writing eh, that's rare to see now days. I have a ravine that will be damned up that will catch the rain water and I can either A go into town and get water or B get it from the river halfway between the town and my home, either way I have access to some. Those are water cisterns to collect rainwater off the roof but I won't have those there, bad enough the damage I will do to existing trees that don't grow back fast,. My water cisterns will be on the sides. Don't care if it's the prettiest smooth pour they do make mortar to level it out, and yes I knew the blocks would leak but was going to butter them like bricks before I put each one down, though now I will just build and do as the concrete forms you are talking about. Except no reason to go 2' thick anymore as according to my studies anything over 16" is a waste in passive solar home, so that will save few hundred bags.
     
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  19. repowerguy

    repowerguy Senior Member

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    Spud, you seem handy with fab. Have you considered a used up mixer truck bought from a R-mix company? A few calls made may find you a mixer that has enough issues that they aren't willing to repair it anymore, but would work as an off road unit. As others have said, get the raw materials on hand and roll your own concrete. A short conveyor line with a hopper at the bottom can batch the truck. If you have a small skid steer and a bank to back the truck up to, you could widen the charge hopper enough to dump the loader bucket into it.
     
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  20. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    Funny- I had actually written something similar all out, but erased it as being too much work for no more wall than he has to pour. :)

    My idea was pulling the mixer off the truck (find one with a dead truck and a "mostly" worn out mixer), build a hopper and chute to load with the tractor (ramp if needed). Run the mixer off the wet kit on his semi. Unload the mixer into the loader bucket, haul to walls and floor. 6-7 yards at a time. ;)

    Getting the mixer off the truck makes it a lot easier to load.

    My other concern was having enough water to make the large batches.