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To member "The Light" - info for you  RSS feed

 
John Abacene
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Well, after spending the better part of an hour typing up info for you, when I went to post, an administrator had sent the whole thread to "The Compost Heap", without any notice or reason given.

Its a good thing I keep a copy of what I type, or I would be twice as ticked off, and the information would have been lost. I would appreciate it if you would help get to the bottom of this censorship and set things right if you can.

In the mean time, here is the text I was hoping to provide:
( Guess that it will have to be in more than one part...)

@The Light:

First, it is extremely important to approach this within a certain framework.
The details (in general) about how this works have everything to do with the natural scale of things, which is based on the scale/size of everything from atoms and molecules up to building a wall.
(To those I just turned off by making it seem like this is impossibly complicated, please stay tuned...)

Applying large-scale construction thinking to this will not work from the start.
They say that giant ants cannot exist - why? Because if you had a machine that could make them giants, they would first collapse under their own weight, and would otherwise die almost immediately.
In the same respect, if you were to use that machine to shrink the largest whale to the size of a gold fish, it too, would die immediately. Why is this? Because of the natural, universal scale of things (Matter).
To a lesser extreme, very small  dogs have particular medical risks and problems that are directly because they are smaller than normal/average dogs, and very large dogs have other medical risks and problems directly because they are large. It is all about scale.

Now, closer to the subject at hand, I used to do stone masonry, and when I worked with/for others, I would always end-up being the guy making the mortar because I have a real talent for it.
I would make what I called "Triple-thick" mortar, which stone masons and brick layers loved for all kinds of reasons.  I could make mortar that could practically be stacked vertically and hold its own weight and shape; if I made a pyramid-shaped pile of it in the wheel barrow, and stopped mixing it, it would retain that same shape. - Now, if you took a large amount of that same mortar and piled it the same way, it would not retain the same shape, because of this same principle.
That is one facet of hoe this works.
 
John Abacene
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Next... Mr. The Light? I will assume that you have seen older buildings, constructed with concrete, where you can still see the imprint of the individual boards used to make the form, which had various imperfections, small gaps, etc. due to the imperfections of those boards.
In some cases, in fact, the farther back you go, the more of them, were not necessarily poured all at once directly with a cement truck or pumper truck. In some cases, men would be taking the concrete and putting it where it needed to be, which was a little slower than directly pumping or pouring it.
In some other cases, it might have come directly from a cement mixer/truck, but because they were trying to set up a long wall or even a whole section of a building, there would only be so much concrete in that mixer or truck, so it had to be poured a layer at a time - with a more or less short period of time before the next mixer or truck was ready or had arrived. In some other cases, that layer would actually set before the next one could be poured, or would intentionally be left to set as their chosen method, which I would not agree with. There were, of course, yet other methods and factors I am not going to write a book about here. This kind of thing, in various forms had been done since the Roman Empire and possibly before that.
 
John Abacene
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These factors have a very real effect on what actually happens with the concrete.
If a large scale contractor assumes that a pumper truck is going to almost instantly fill the same concrete forms I just referenced, what happens? Disaster. Thus, such a person might claim that it doesn't work, and would be dead wrong.
Why would it be a disaster? Because that pumper truck is pumping a very fluid mix all at one time.
Similarly, if brick masons somehow could assemble a whole brick wall at one time, it would also almost instantly deform, squeeze the mortar out of the cracks, and possibly even collapse.
In the brick mason's procedure, mortar is gradually applied, brick by brick, and later, layer by layer, each layer having some time to partially set by the time the next layer has been laid.
In the older use of forms, where there was some delay or gradual application of the concrete, there is also some chance for the concrete to partially set as it was added to through the process.

Next, the scale of the form itself - (over-simplifying for example) if I were to make a 4 foot by 8 foot form, that was only 2 inches wide, the weight of the concrete put inside would have much less of an effect; this is due to all kinds of factors, even friction.  Similarly, if that form was 10 inches wide, the weight of the concrete has much more effect, and becomes almost the sole factor in how it behaves.
The point evolving here is that if someone just says "Concrete weighs this much" they are making all kinds of possibly baseless presumptions about the whole process, and being ignorant of all the other factors that are actually involved.
A 2 inch thick wall would be really easy, but regardless of actual height, in most cases is going to be useless.
A 10 inch thick wall poses all kinds of problems for this application, and is very difficult at best to do.
- So where is the happy medium, the middle ground, the sweet spot?
 
John Abacene
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Lets say I decide to make it a 5" thick wall.
One problem I can anticipate someone bringing up is how I am supposed to pour that form, the top of which is 8 feet, regardless of how tall the actual wall is going to be? and maybe How is one person going to do this by themselves? - The perceived problem is actually the solution.
Lets say I am standing on something about 1 - 1 1/2 tall so I can reach the top of the form, and lets say I use a 5 gallon bucket to scoop the concrete and pour it into the form (yes its a lot of work).
This makes the process slow - problem, right? - No, solution.
Hard work - problem, right? - No, solution.
The slower process, especially if I have to take breaks because my arms get sore bringing those 5 gallon buckets up and pouring them gives the concrete first poured at the bottom a chance to slowly start to set - especially if its my wonderful triple-thick type mix. This means the concrete is getting thicker, supporting more of its own weight and shape, and putting less stress on the form.
Time is also a factor, not just weight.  If I were to slack off, take too many breaks that are too long, then the balance swings too far the other way, and slight weaknesses can develop between each bucket-full/later applied, which could possibly weaken the wall, and/or leave unsightly lines and imperfections in the wall.
 
John Abacene
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This is by no means a full explanation, as there are many factors, but my experience has shown me that sometimes a project can dictate its own development. When that phenomena occurs, maybe you can force it to what you want, with steel and force, sometimes that will lead to ultimate failure, but sometimes when that occurs, and you go with it, and cooperate with what works, things can really work for you, rather than against you, where you have to force things with steel and force.
 
John Abacene
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One more example:
I used to be a very talented stone mason, I had a gift, and part of that gift was that I had a 'thing' with rocks. I grew up where there were billions of rounded granite boulders.
On a project I was doing for a friend, three potential impossibilities occurred.
Two of them had to do with boulders in the ground - one was a semi-rectangular boulder,  which if out of the ground and standing up, was a perfect place for an address plaque, better than anything a person could buy.  It was about 2 ft x 2 ft x 4 1/2 ft.  The other was also a semi-rectangular boulder, about 3 ft x 3 ft x 1 1/2 ft. - Go ahead and do the math on how heavy those each were.
In this project, as with most similar ones, the main and almost only tools I used were a 4 ft crowbar,  a 6 ft rock bar, - and rocks.  My friend, and his neighbor both said about both boulders that were flush in the ground "You'll never get that out of the ground" "Not without the 'proper' equipment", "You'll need blah, blah, blah, blah, etc."
Well, each boulder was not only out of the ground, but a part of the wall within less than an hour.
I did ask for a little help positioning the address plaque boulder just right. once I had placed it.

 
John Abacene
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Now, I am not a skinny anemic person, but I was no weight lifter either, and was usually out of shape and over-weight. But I don't care how much those boulders weighed, there were other factors that people just don;t take into account.
The third impossibility was that my friend ( A DuPont Engineer) wanted a very odd-shaped boulder set up in just the worst way that you could try to put it, because it had a nice flat face, and a flat top if placed right, which was again, 180 degrees in the wrong direction due to its other faces/shape.  They said they were going to help me! (Oh no...) So they stood it up, balancing it on an off-center odd-shaped point, and tried to brace it up with all kinds of little rocks they were putting in here, there, and anywhere they could wedge them. Not matter how they tried, it would not work, and the boulder kept scooting out into the driveway, refusing to stand like they wanted it.  I told them "That rock wants to go out into the driveway and you have to deal with that" which they assumed was superstitious nonsense and he said "Rocks don't want!"- and after 2 or 3 hours of their folly, they gave up, and my friend lost his cool and stomped into the house.
 
John Abacene
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As he was going up the steps, I said "Give e 10 minutes and it will be in place" - that did not him any happier.
I set that boulder aside, got rid of all their little rocks, found one rock that was just right for behind, set the boulder near where I wanted it, put a big rock in front of it to keep it from going out into the driveway, used my own leverage to get it closer into place, then was basically sitting on it, with my feet up against the hill it was to retain, and put it right where it had to be.
Suddenly, they both come running out of the house saying "We'll help you!!!" - Oh no you don't!!
After three hours of failure and giving up by an engineer, I had it a part of the wall within about 15 minutes (Ok, I was late by 5 minutes)

Again, there are many factors in how things actually work, not just the obvious ones. Either they can work against you (Or you are actually trying to work against them)  or you can see what wants to work, and work with it.

My for works, has worked, and will work - but I am not going to spend all kinds of time to submit full design and specs here, this is about the concept, and I would actually like to get other people's ideas on it, not a forum of me proving every detail and giving away all mu secrets.

If you really want a brain twister, look up pr read about Coral Castle in Florida - just do a Google search on it. I don't claim to have that man's ability by any means, but he did what he did somehow, and the enormous weight of what he was working with didn't stop him, and I really wish I could know whatever he did.

I hope you get this info, as I went to a lot of effort to get it to you, but as things are going with censorship and people thrashing me and whole threads without any moderation, I'm not sure I want to be a part of this forum any more...
Good luck, and we'll see what happens I guess.
 
Derek Brewer
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Location: Hatfield, PA
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Wow. Ok, this is going to take me some time to digest. Thanks for posting the details!
 
John Abacene
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I hope it makes enough sense for you - I'm not a cosmic "One with the rocks" kinda guy - its just that I have learned over and over again that there are certain very practical patterns to how everything works.
As far as the form cast concrete goes, on one hand it is very simple, on the other hand there are a lot of factors and considerations. The real beauty is that sometimes if you see where a project naturally wants to go, it tends to work for you and not against you, -or that it at least works out a lot easier.
Problems become a sort of steering mechanism to guide things to the best way of doing things.
 
                      
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I am glad you reposted. I like the idea you made it in several posts. One long post like some I have seen makes it hard to read sitting 3 feet back!
My dad loved working with concrete,  so I had some experiences with it. As you had said, pour too fast you may blow all the forms apart from the hydraulic pressures.
I hope you do touch once again on how you was going to make  castings to set in place.
 
John Abacene
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@ytram: "I hope you do touch once again on how you was going to make  castings to set in place."

- Really? What else would you need to know, other than specs and diagrams for a form?
If you build a good, sturdy form (of the right  dimensions) with tight tolerances, and especially if you can seal it all around (not air-tight) and fill it right with the right kind of mix, that should basically do it.

I am curious - if you have concrete experience, I am always looking for different "recipes", and especially additives.  Only once was I able to add Kevlar fibers. I am
One thing I intend to do with a partially underground construction is to have secondary walls/layers outside/in addition to the primary made out of what I call "Hard Mud"
"Hard Mud" is something I got from my own dad: Assuming you have dirt without any real degree of organic matter in it (Sand, gravel, rocks, etc) You put that into a mixer, then add the first water, then the cement and Elmer's glue (I think this was before the professional construction additive was available) -BUT, unlike making real concrete, you only add maybe half as much cement, and maybe even less to make what is just a really tough hard-cast mud.  My dad did this under what was to be gravel to keep weeds from coming up, but I would like the first layer of earth put back against the wall to instead be this Hard Mud - any thoughts on this?

Also: Are you familiar with "Tow Mixers"? - Not the regular mixer you happen to tow to a site, but the kind improvised from a rear differential and a stock tank
I plan on making one, as they can make and pour a whole small slab in one shot.
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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crete: did your methods resemble this?

I love this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pCvx5gSnfW4
simple ideas that have been mostly forgoten in the age of large machines
 
                      
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creteman wrote:


- Really? What else would you need to know, other than specs and diagrams for a form.



My thought was more on making castings for walls set on footings, setting in place, and holding them together.
 
John Abacene
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@Brice Moss: Great video. It is amazing what one person can do.
In some ways I have done similar.  Usually, when working with odd-shaped or almost roundish boulders, I could pivot one slightly on one of its corners. Not sure if I've ever used an odd-shaped little rock for a ball-bearing though.

@ytram: Exactly. the real technical trick is making a form that will allow the wall to not only set on the footing/foundation/slab, but for it to also toenail or "hang ten" over the edge, just outside the slab/etc. which can help to lock everything in place.

I am currently considering a design using the egg-shell principle, or using the superior strength and locking of domes or curves for partial underground construction.
Just a flat wall of any sort has enormous "Soil pressure", which can multiply during a rainy season.
If a circular wall is used instead, properly designed and formed, the pressure locks the wall sections together ever tighter with increasing pressure.  Adding built-in buttresses to the form would multiply the strength against any pressure.  Combining these two concepts effectively uses the imposing force against itself, making the wall ever more solid and locked together against it.

I have been debating with myself back and forth between square based modular forms, and circular.
The circular are better for partial underground construction, while the square are more universal, diverse, and applicable to different sized rooms, etc.



 
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