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CEB + Stabilised CEB Vaults
  • FEF uploaded the YouTube CEB Prototype. May I suggest:
    and see Soil-Cement Vaults in South Africa
    for fantastic pictures see:

    Lets all build a fabulous world for all with FEF + GCVS.
    Are discussions taking place with
  • 24 Comments sorted by
  • Cal-Earth - The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture are experts in Vaults. 
    Nader Khalili even developed a method to Fire an Abode structure with Glaze (for Iranian Schools = quake, rain + heat proof.

    For FEFarm one Form could be used to build the vault in sections, it is dropped and moved (with LifeTrac?) raised and the next vault section continued.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down September 2011
    This is so awesome.  I want to build CEB vaults so much, I've dreamed of this for many years!

    Do you think it would be possible to get the UN building plans they're using?

  • Well David the among supreme Vault builders CalEarth have plans for structures for sale with engineering plans passed by California Building Authorities for E.Quake zone 4 (highest code in the world). 
    are the most respected CSEB vault teaching centre for the world, set up by a French Architect. Read up on Auroville Earth Institute and be amazed.
    A UN PDF with specs. is from Auroville:
    Please check the Ferro-cement channels PDF for brilliant ceiling / roof ideas.(i cannot wait to build a massive shed/shop/covered work area)
    Go on David just another bigger shop.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    watching the video on the CEB, I saw a couple potentially serious problems in the prep of the blocks. 

    Here is a PDF they use in Brazil for making the CEB there.

    It is a 11 meg file and it is done in a comic book format.  I have this book in English, Spanish and Portuguese language.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    Brazilian CEB Press Manually operated

    The design used in this version of CEB uses a lego block style design, that reduces the need for rebar.  The only rebar is used in the corner holes.  The structure has a concreete "belt" poured to give horizontal strength every couple feet.  This design of CEB is rated at over 1000psi which is suitable for a 60 story building.
  • Both Cal-Earth and Earth Auroville are awesome places.  If they're selling their designs, they're not selling them in a shopping cart on the website - a more than casual search for such things finds none.

    As for the UN papers - Yes, AWESOME.  Also, for me 'why yes, I know.'.   There is nothing new there that I haven't read years ago, I recognize a cogent and well communicated communication of much of the information and methods that I am aware of.

    I don't know who would be handling discussions with CalEarth - No doubt it would be appropriate to send an ambassador.  

    We seem to be fresh out of ambassadors at the moment, though... 

    And we're reluctant to purchase designs when we can do it ourselves.  Is buying designs a good use of the money provided OSE and FeF when we can engineer them ourselves from teh talents that are offered to us in collaboration on the internet?

    I wonder how I can put out the call for a collaborator on creating a funicular study.  This process interests me and I think that somebody who may have taken architecture would be familiar with the mechanics of it.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    even if you could find them i dont think they would want us open sourcing them as we intend to do lol
  • Metz thanks for the Sahara Tech. links. Brilliant format.
    Come on dorkmo you have to understand the Legal implications. The information is free out there. But  for experts to get involved and be sued later is the reality of this world. In USA with 'pockets of freedom" (Micheal Reynolds) or council regulations that allow 'self build' its fine. Other 1st world countries allow self build with structural engineers signing off on the project. The whole Open Source concept is brilliant. But if I build a LifeTrac for myself fine (possible accident insurance issue) but if I sell it? If the buyer kills themselves with it through incompetent use; I get sued as manufacturer by their family and insurance company. Which brings to question: has FeF gotten their clients to sign a legal waver??? 
    David my suggestion is to contact the certifying structural engineer that certifies the CalEarth structures. Designing a structure architecturally you can do; but get it engineered by a structural engineer. A small fee for safety of your self build structure that you can open source later if you like ( they might just help out free?). Just phone and ask. And or get CalEarth to do a teaching season at FeF. 
    I would simplify by doing the Auroville/UN Ferrocement Channel roofs. So it collects water to in-ground water tanks and or have living roof garden.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    i forgot all about channel roofs. we should probly do a 16 x 16 tiny house to test it out.

    would a ferrocement layer be a cost effective way to protect exterrior bricks from water?
  • dorkmo: "would a ferrocement layer be a cost effective way to protect exterior bricks from water?"
    Are you meaning fired bricks or mud bricks or CSEB (compressed stabilised earth brick)?
    1. Some Fired bricks absorb water. There are waterproofing liquids called silanes to spray/flush on to prevent water absorption. Also used on stone monuments.
    2. Mud bricks get a special mix of waterproofing agent because of the clay content. 
    3. CSEB have enough cement per soil type not to absorb (see Auroville tests on videos)
    4. The ferrocement UN poster info does use ferrocement pillars to protect soft brick columns.
    But a render screed with render mesh and or poly / metal fibre would be excellent protection against machinery knocks.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    i think we've been using unstabilised compressed earth bricks
  • I assume by that you mean inverted deep ferrocement channels filled with hay and covered by steel.

    By the ferrocement roof people they suggest two people for every meter.  our 30 meter building would require quite a crew to pick it up and move it - not to mention the scaffolding required to get all those people up that high...

    Also, the straw doesn't fill very much of the space - there are big gaps between.
  • Dorkmo nice one. But the UN/Auroville ferro-cement channels are the other way around.
    David: a mould can be made of papercrete (instead of polystyrene or other poly used to make professional positives). The papercrete smooth 'mother mould' is given a release agent (plastic or the mould release oil used in concrete form work) , then the ferro-cement process is build on that. After removing channel from mould; one end goes onto a pallet with wheels, the other is hoisted up by (Lifetrac) to roof edge, the wheeled end just follows. Now roof end is tied on (glass fibre hoist) and a cable to it, this goes to far end of roof. A roller or two from a conveyor or boat trailer is handy for the channel to roll on, at the edge of the roof..
    The wheeled pallet end is now lifted by LifeTrac1 and slowly pushed over the rollers, end tied cable assists in 'guiding'. Under neath the long span a LifeTrac2 slightly lifts the channel and drives it to the other side (inside building) whilst LifeTrac1 pushes. ?? Clear as mud.

    The UN/Auroville Channel Ferro-cement terminology refers to the channels Between the upside down channels. This where is India the channels and locked together and water is collected.
    FeF could cement the channels together, use waterproofing coating and then fill in between with straw till level with top. Light mesh is placed and the lot ferro-cement finished off : to collect water or have a 'sun downer eating gazebo' and 'living roof' to keep you cool in summer.
    I would add poly or metal 'fibre' to the cement mix these are used in Shotcrete and you could liquid polymer (polymer concrete) for strength, water proofing, flexure.
    Building the roof this way might seem long winded but you dont have massive scaffolding to hold up form work like with reinforced concrete slabs. Use less embedded material etc.and is doable with small crew for wonderful roof space.
    Inside you have the multi channel when sprayed white will enhance light. Sky Lights or open-able vents (like in ...ships) could be cut in and water proofed onto the roof channels.
    I am across the ocean, otherwise I would be physically helping.
  • the coordinated operation of multiple lifetracs that don't lift as high as the building is tall... that is really tricky and dangerous, not a viable solution.  We can't even pick up the channel by its ends without risking it breaking under its own weight - least at the lengths we're talking about here.  Why would we want to make the mould of papercrete?  We could make the mold of clay mud far more easily.  It only needs to support the concrete, not be a permanent installation.

  • Well David I thought the papercrete mould would be used many times over as I do for other items made out of say polyester and glass fibre cloth. It saves money on synthetic foam usually used to make moulds. Hence a few papercrete moulds would do many casts, a smooth inner surface is achieved.
    Span to long? Could you not use 3 channels resting on intermediate piers? 
    Two DIY hoists = 2 LifeTracs have steel tube with hoist block + tackle attached to FEL.
  • synthetic foam?  Forms are built for what you're making.  I'm not going to build permanent molds for temporary needs, particularly when I can make a perfectly sufficient mold, destroy it, then recreate it without much effort later.

    the lifetracs are not cranes, I think you're not really understanding the practicality of waht we're working with here.
  • Well David you sound snowed under; if I were closer I would be there to help. 
    I have 32 years materials conservation science, heritage building conservation and eco building experience. 
    Synthetic foam board is used to make surf boards and a lesser quality foam blocks is used to 'form up' say; a shape of a buildings facade. From this a mould is made (polyurethane with polyester mother mould) into which we pour say concrete to create a 'tilt up facade'. The papercrete form would be cheap as compared with the foam board/blocks; and the interior finish of the ferrocement channels would be smooth. As apposed to the clay shape method used in the UNHABITAT ferrocement poster; which has to be reshaped between channels.
    Question: LifeTrac 1 with backhoe attached; could lift/hoist what weight ,how high? Could two lift the mesh channel?? 
    On your wiki you have information on the Well you could just shape up the channel metal mesh, place onto walls and pillars and spray the ferrocement channels in situ.

    Maybe the following engineers in your country could help:
    Blessings to you all.
  • The mortar sprayer isn't an offer for contribution to the GCVS.

    The lifterack 1 could lift about 500 pounds about 10 feet in the air.  The lifetrak 3 could lift 1500 pounds about 8 feet in the air.  No, I don't think two could lift the channel.  Like I said, they're not cranes.

    The mortar sprayer is, as far as I can tell, just a link to somebody who does something, not an offer to share the design and fabrication procedure open source.  Its not a part of the GCVS, as far as I know.  I agree that spray-on concrete has many benefits particularly in speed of construction consistency and strength.

    Downside is embodied energy though.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    quick attach hoist?
  • I'm sorry dorkmo, but the expected attached sketch and proposal with viability discussion seems to have been omitted from your post.  ;)
  • Greetings David + et al.,
    A few helpful links? Will help make things clear as mud (hihihihi).
    Well... re. embodied energy. Its better to build so it lasts the storms, hurricanes etc than constantly rebuilding (like the US stick + brick method that's embodied energy constantly wasted). A well build structure should last, .. 3 life times? One on my oldest homes was a low fired brick cottage from 1755  with thatch roof(no foundation or strip footing! just straight onto one brick, that on Pleistocene white sand deposit). Good structures are just reused after renovations. Generations later FeF structures should be listed monuments.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2011
    Just as an FYI, David is no longer participating in the forums, so don't expect a reply.


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