Cob Homes, Earthbag homes,Super Cheap/Super Easy

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Gopherman, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    We've been looking into alternative sustainable lifestyles. During my research over the past year I have found a lot of incredibly diverse and ingenious methods for cheap and easy ways to build homes.
    Quonset Huts, probably the fastest way to get up and running but cost thousands of dollars.
    Next was Earthbags, Super insulated, lots of physical work involved but extremely cheap!! Do not be afraid to scavenge construction site dumpsters! I worked in the construction trades all my life and I have seen enough wood off one job go in the dumpster to build a home, not to mention all the windows with a small chip or dent in the frame, appliances with scratches, etc.....
    Woven Polypropylene Sandbags 18"W x 30"L {1000 pc.} -
    $209.00 for a thousand bags, by my calculations you should be able to build a structure 20' wide by 40' long with 960 bags at a wall height of 8 feet.
    High clay based earth is about $10 a yard, if you want to by it, personally I think buying it at that price is a whole lot easier on you than digging the stuff up, but that"s just me.

    This video is very helpful.

    Next is Cob, this is by far the coolest method I have found and very well insulated. The best part of it is the creative freedom you have to incorporate your personality into the structure. The options are limited only by your imagination and willingness to do the work. It is a labor intensive procedure, however the people I see doing this type of construction are, NO OFFENSE, mostly tree huggers, that are doing this for a far different reason than I am, funny how both reasons achieve the same end, maybe the tree huggers were right in the first place, however they tend to SHUN mechanical apparatuses that would dramatically increase there productivity, all in the name of not burning fossil fuel! I personally am too old to be doing the mud dance!! LOL!
    There methods are slow and rely on too many people to do it the way they are. I would rent a huge cement mixer and could probably do it in a fraction of the time with a fraction of the labor or by myself.
    There is very little in the way of roofing instruction on these dwellings, the recommend circular designs for the homes, then put up a Tee Pee style roof. Personally I would rather make sure my roof wasn't going cave in on me and would opt for a conventional Log Supported ribbing supported by bracing beams in case of Tornado's or heavy driving winds, you want to be sure the roof doesn't fall down or off! That's always good!

    cob homes - Google Search
    With a lot of south facing windows you wouldn't need much lighting during the day, and a solar generator kit could work for day to day operations of small kitchen appliances, and evening lighting. Depending on how far you really want to go with it you could not even have the solar, that's a little more real than I want to get, but to each his own.
    A roof can be designed to channel all rainwater to a runoff location and the into storage containers
    A cascading array of 10 55 gallon drums with filter material in the last 3 barrels, 1st sand second with activated charcoal, the kind found in aquariums, and the last with a medical grade 12v uv bulb in a quartz jar epoxied into the top to sterilize any little nastie's that get through.
    Of course like anything, check into it thoroughly before risking your health. I plan to set it up and then have it tested to see how effective it is, and have a on demand water filter for drinking or cooking purposes.
    there is Rocket stove technology out there that is not only efficient, its brilliant

    I prefer the big one because there's no baby sitting involve you can walk away for a couple hours at a time.
    I built a test one in my yard and it worked excellently and wasn't even well sealed. All that came out of the exhaust vent was steam, it didn't even smell like smoke. You can also put larger wood in it!
    You can do the research for yourself and determine what will work best for you, but the info is out there to find, just have to look for it.
    Just because you have that looks different from Suburbia, doesn't make it a downgraded house, in many ways it will last longer.
    Hope this helps those with a limited budget, with Big Dreams!
    Good Luck
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    chelloveck likes this.
  2. xls

    xls Monkey

    There is also the fee option of tire constructed homes, tire center just give them away. And it offers a lot of defensive options.
  3. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Sure and what most do not know is that the tires are filled first with a rammed earth inside the tire, then the tire is layed in place and more rammed earth fills the center. A whole lot of time and labor as well as material aka dirt, that takes time to collect and mix.

    Ramed earth tire structure would be the least expensive and the most labor intensive, but IF I had to rebuild then that is what I would have. With re-bar at each layer and then vertical placed re-bar. Each tire would be tired to the tires above, below and the ones next to it.. Lath work and concrete for the inside and outside, no ditzy thin layer of sand, air and thin cement mix for me aka stucco.

    [img id="yui_3_10_0_1_1454624313742_1689" src="" alt="BRIDGES: Earth Tire Construction with Long Way Home">


    Note the "Concrete Beam" on this design below. This Concrete Beam is the key in any structure of this type that provides a strong connector for the wall structure and for the roof. This type "Concrete Beam" should also be used in any concrete block building.
    [img id="yui_3_10_0_1_1454624313742_2270" src="https://es-media-prod.s3.amazonaws....ef1a2ada/e8bd8c0bc6dc45e899281212bb4d25bf.png" alt="Cronk Earthship ( house), rammed earth, passive solar">
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
    chelloveck likes this.
  4. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    We are starting our earth berm house on Saturday.We will be carving a 32' x 40' wedge into a hill side and framing it and pouring a 6" concrete retaining wall. I'll take videos and post as we progress. Wish me luck!!
    Kamchuka, Ganado, Motomom34 and 6 others like this.
  5. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Nothing ever changes but the name. My oldest uncle was born in the 1890's in a soddy, earth "no bag" home near Minot North Dakota and my grand dad said it was cool in the summer and easy to heat. They built the school house and the teacher's house out of wood boards, and he said that they couldn't keep them warm in the winter. No insulation and tripple pane windows in those days. Looking forward to your photos.
    Looks like the beam functions like the tension band in a yurt and keeps the roof from kicking out the walls. Always a good idea to let someone else make the mistakes and learn from them, especially if they might kill you!
    HK_User and chelloveck like this.
  6. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    Last weekend the bulldozer guy pushed us back a week.
    We went up anyway and removed brush and a couple tree's from the dig site. We squared it out and I ran my Rototiller around the entire perimeter of the site to be dug out. Then we installed and cemented a dozen posts in place for the Livestock enclosure.
    All in all it wasn't a total loss. I will start filming as soon as we begin the digging! I'm getting excited! I'll get a chance to finally integrate all this stuff I've been learning about over the past 3 years. Earth Berm, Rocket stove, drill my own well, Ram Pump, Solar Panels, Perma-Culture .....Wooh Hooo!!
    Ganado, HK_User, Motomom34 and 3 others like this.
  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I look forward to seeing your project. How big will the house be? BTW- I think rocket stoves are really a great concept.
    Gopherman likes this.
  8. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    bought a 3,000 w hydro/wind generator a couple years ago and now I get to try this and see if it works. If it does I'll have enough power to run a Fridge and washing machine and even a few lights or so. Fingers crossed!!
    Closed system Ram Pump.
    chelloveck and Ganado like this.
  9. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    32x40 +/-
    I have the cast refractory unit ready to install with an extra bag of refract. insulation clay to set it in place. I want to use it with my wood cook stove top still working on that innovation!
    chelloveck, Motomom34 and HK_User like this.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I made a short attempt to understand the diagram. Unless I'm missing an important detail, that looks to be a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, i.e., it looks like an attempt to get more power out of the system than is going in. You cannot pump from the lower reservoir to the pelton wheel, then return the expended water to the lower reservoir to recycle again. Each of the components will work when used as designed, no question, but you need an external input to get any output.

    Open questions:
    What drives the ram pump?
    What does recyling flow from the pelton wheel output to the input do? (Should not work at all, sending water from a low pressure area to a high pressure area without another pump to raise the pressure.)

    To say I'm confused would be mildly understated.
    chelloveck and 3M-TA3 like this.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    The Ram Pump runs on Stream Flow, that goes by, and does not go up the pipe to the upper Res. That is the energy that is NOT shown in the system... It is also very inefficient... Use of power... But it doesn't really matter because the Stream Flow is constant....
    chelloveck, 3M-TA3 and Gopherman like this.
  12. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    The reservoir at the top left where the pelton wheel is located line comes from the bottom with about a 16 foot fall, the ram, if you watched the video, creates 10-30 time the head as the fall, however about half the water comes out the front end and is dumped on the ground. I want to catch it in a concrete reservoir and use the 12v pump on a float activation system to pump it back up to the 350 gallon reservoir, thus closing the system. The water used to power the pelton wheel drains into the main 350 gal reservoir.
    The only place I am using any power at all is when the concrete basin fills to the point where it triggers my water pump and then only runs until the water level drops back down.
    At 40 lbs of pressure through a reduced nozzle that will go in at the bottom and the a second will be routed to the opposite side at the top, it should spin quite nicely. iI don't have a stream to run it off of, so I thing the pressure from the weight of the water and the 12' fall should get that sucker running pretty well. I have to get the water back up to the main tank some how. I had the Solar panel to run the water pump at the far right side of the diagram.
    chelloveck and Ganado like this.
  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

  14. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    The last video would perform better if the input pipe was 2"steel and about 20' long @ 6' drop .( it is the kinetic jar of the flow of water that causes the pump to work .) If the input pipe is too soft there is'n enough jar to be as effective as it can be.
    I spent a few days with building the ram pump and its fun and an education.
    I've experimented with different configurations for the first flapper valve, but to be honest simple is efficient enough for the money.
    The smaller the out put line is the higher it can be pushed. water weight 8 lbs pr gallon.
    Gopherman likes this.
  15. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Check that. Pressure is independent of pipe size, neglecting velocity, which will have the opposite effect; reducing the head available for overcoming gravity.
  16. Kamchuka

    Kamchuka Grease Monkey

    Gopher, make Any progress on the house or did ya "squirrel". Ima connect some sort of earth house to my subterranean green house. I like the tire idea cuz they are free and there happens to be a mess of them down the road some one dumped, a mess! Like 500! So I'd be cleaning up too.
    chelloveck likes this.
  17. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    We dug out a 32 x 40 foot hole into a hillside and were getting ready to form and pour it when tragedy struck! Our friends brother is a meth-head and he suddenly showed up at the family property and started a bunch of drama.
    We pulled out and removed all we could from the site, we are down about $600 dollars in materials, but it could have been worse.
    Recently we found 15 secluded acres with a cabin, power and well on it for $69k, We are in the process of getting pre-qualified and then we're going to pursue that instead.
    We broke it down and the payments will be less than $500 a month.Thinking about finding 2 other like minded families to go in on it, and it will be about $160 a month each.
    I am a construction guy so I know I can fix up the cabin and probably rent it out for what the payments would be if we fail to find suitable people to go in on it with us.
    We can afford it without help anyway, but it makes more sense this way, plus puts someone on the property to keep an eye on things.
    I have an employee that I trust and I know he would be interested.
    Ganado, Motomom34 and chelloveck like this.
  18. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Few people are more than three degrees, let alone six degrees of separation from @$$h*, and family of friends are the worst. :( I think you were wise to walk away from that disaster in the making.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
    Motomom34 and Gopherman like this.
  19. Kamchuka

    Kamchuka Grease Monkey

    Well that sucks! Hope you get the other place. Sounds pretty bad ass.
    Gopherman likes this.
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary