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I built a Cinva-Ram CEB press, and I made it easier for you to build one too!

 
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richard walker wrote:I cannot lift them without them breaking in half! What am I doing wrong?



Without being there to feel it, it's hard to say. My guess is, something's wrong with the soil mixture. I mean, they're never VERY strong right off the press. You have to be gentle with them. But if you can't even slide it off the plate and transfer it to a drying spot, then you're right, there's an issue.

I'd try:

1. Mixing the soil drier

2. Grabbing a different soil mix from another spot on your property

3. Mixing the soil with more clay
 
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I'm going to buy some cheap clay cat litter and crush it into a powder and add about 10% of that to my mix. I know there is clay in the Red Clay sand because I can Isolate chunks of it. I did try different amounts of water and have been watching a lot of youtube videos as well. Trial and error will eventually prevail.
 
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What is the effective pressure applied by the press to the soil? How heavy the press is?
What is the average productivity of the press in bricks per hour operated by 1 person? 2 persons?
What about interlocking bricks like this one?
How difficult it is to implement?
 
Mike Cantrell
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According to this paper by VITA,:




Making 300 blocks in a day sounds VERY ambitious to me, but perhaps that assumes a big pile of screened soil is already there with you? (In other words, your work is ONLY blockmaking, no digging/screening.) And you and your partner have had some practice? I've never made more than 30 or so at a time, and that takes a couple of hours. But this is all play for me. I've never treated it like work, trying to be efficient, sticking to it all day.
 
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When I had these cut, I chatted with the shop owner about cutting another set. He says he keeps his past jobs just about forever.

So if you'd like to build this press, you can
1. Call the shop I used
2. Ask for Mike Cantrell's press parts from March 2011
3. Get a kit in the mail


The shop has been bought out but we still make the Cinva Ram- new information below:
ECS, Inc. Arkansas Machine Works
Joe Rheingans Tim Samson
160 B East Randall Wobbe Lane
Springdale, AR 72764
479-751-1327

sales@ecscorp.net arsales@amwinc.com

The price is also lower now. We are cutting them on a plasma cutter instead of a waterjet, which lowered the cost and it is faster.
 
richard walker
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I just spent about 4 hours playing with these bricks. I had a heck of a time figuring out the moisture content, then I got it. I put a piece of 1/4 inch plate steel inside the chamber and then put the dirt in. Once I made the brick I popped it out and slid the plate off and unloaded it in the drying area. That worked famously! I was able to make 15 bricks out of a half wheel barrel of dirt. I think If 2 people were mixing the soil in a cement mixer and kept it coming, and 2 men were working the Cinva you could probably get 400 bricks in a day. Once I got rolling It went pretty quick and I got 15 in an Hour by myself.
 
Mike Cantrell
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Just got word that the business above has changed hands. So you'll have a new contact person and new contact info. Matt also pointed out that he can cut your parts for a much lower price with a plasma cutter.

I think Burra will be adding the post that was set aside for review in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...
 
Alex Sober
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Here some man recommends to sprinkle the curing bricks three times a day.
What if instead of sprinkling to boil the water in a big boiler on a slow fire placed under the water-isolating cover along with the bricks?
 
Mike Cantrell
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That's strictly for the sake of the Portland cement. Portland needs to cure slow and damp.

If you're leaving the Portland out, then there's no reason you'd sprinkle them.
 
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Hey everyone sorry for reviving an old post. I am going to order a Cinva ram from the new place on this thread today can't wait to put it together!

Before I order it. I was wondering if anyone might be up to help me with some design changes...

I am looking to add 2 holes in it and also make the brick more lego like or ability to put molds in there to make different bricks like ones that save dirt/pavers etc.?

It seems to make it lego like we might be able to add an addition to the closing plate on the top to make the shape. For the holes I think I have seen it where the bottom plate has 2 holes cut there and then below it there are 2 metal cyclinders that are roughly same hole size that are welded to the bottom of the press and go to the top cap plate. This allows the press the press the brick but still have it come out with 2 holes (so you can fill with rebar and concrete for a stronger wall). The final addition I am looking to make is a wider press that can make 2 bricks at once and even better a hopper design for above to make making the brick easier. I have the sketch up file and I am thinking about making some modifications, but since I have never made one of these before I am a little weary. If anyone has time and willing to consult with getting updated plans to do this I would be willing to pay a little money for the help . I am hopefully closing on a house today and thinking about going crazy with ceb to make a retaining wall, grill area/patio, fence, shed, and maybe even a pool or hottub if I can do it.

If anyone has plans for lego blocks with holes or a 2 at a time machine with hopper I'd totally be willing to pay for that and try to make one. I might just start with this simple machine first and go from there but the other side of me says slow down design a better one and my back will thank me later Any help would be much appreciated thanks!
 
Mike Cantrell
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I got a question by PM about the arrangement of the hole in the 5 inch block. Here are a few pictures to clarify: it's centered through the long axis.

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Hey Richard, Could you please post an update on your progress? I'd like to know more about how you got the moisture correct and if you've had success building with the bricks. Thanks!
 
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Anybody have a used ram to sell? If not, I'll just have one made. Got a buddy who's a welder, machinist, has plasma cutter.
 
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Hi, I joined this forum specifically to ask a few questions about this, and to share a link that others might find helpful.

Here's an eBook I found digging around which has some good information on how to make the clay as well as overcoming some of the problems with it:

http://www.rivendellvillage.org/CINVA_RAM_Compressed_Earthen_Block_Press.pdf

1.) Is anyone still selling this unit? I'd like to purchase one pre-assembled if at all possible. (I have absolutely no experience with welding). I sent an email to the first contact in this thread, but didn't get a response about it.

2.) Has anyone considered changing the mold to an interlocking brick design? Like, an H shaped brick? Or bricks set out like Legos?

One image in my head: A press that makes bricks in a Lego mold shape, and with a screw on attachment that could be used to set one to have a hole through the center of one end or the other so that at an interval it could be embedded with standard steel rebar for reinforcing the structure. At the very least, it shouldn't be too difficult to make a mold for something resembling the EverBlocks so that the pieces would connect without mortar and hold together:




An H design where the squares (and gap) are the same size and a perfect cube shape would also allow a brick footing to interconnect. In fact, there is one ancient structure that has stood for tens of thousands of years (at least) uses interlocking H shaped blocks and no mortar.

Here's a replica of one of those blocks which should work fairly well as a mold shape, though obviously not as a simple brick mold.



But even something like this would be an improvement over a flat brick:



That would probably be the simplest modification, requiring one strip of extra metal on the bottom and two strips of extra metal on the top and could still be designed to allow mortar, but would make sure the wall would always be build completely straight. (although I imagine would present a problem when building the corners, so something adjustable would be perfect)
 
Brian Hendricks
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Hey people have made interlocking bricks at least in South America...you can see a video or two on youtube. If you can't find them by searching cinva ram I'll gather some links for ya.

I am hiring a friend to build one for me. If you want to be involved he might be able to build 2 of this design at lower cost which would be a win for all three of us, and he might be able to modify yours the way you want it.


Elliander Eldridge wrote:Hi, I joined this forum specifically to ask a few questions about this, and to share a link that others might find helpful.

Here's an eBook I found digging around which has some good information on how to make the clay as well as overcoming some of the problems with it:

http://www.rivendellvillage.org/CINVA_RAM_Compressed_Earthen_Block_Press.pdf

1.) Is anyone still selling this unit? I'd like to purchase one pre-assembled if at all possible. (I have absolutely no experience with welding). I sent an email to the first contact in this thread, but didn't get a response about it.

2.) Has anyone considered changing the mold to an interlocking brick design? Like, an H shaped brick? Or bricks set out like Legos?

One image in my head: A press that makes bricks in a Lego mold shape, and with a screw on attachment that could be used to set one to have a hole through the center of one end or the other so that at an interval it could be embedded with standard steel rebar for reinforcing the structure. At the very least, it shouldn't be too difficult to make a mold for something resembling the EverBlocks so that the pieces would connect without mortar and hold together:




An H design where the squares (and gap) are the same size and a perfect cube shape would also allow a brick footing to interconnect. In fact, there is one ancient structure that has stood for tens of thousands of years (at least) uses interlocking H shaped blocks and no mortar.

Here's a replica of one of those blocks which should work fairly well as a mold shape, though obviously not as a simple brick mold.



But even something like this would be an improvement over a flat brick:



That would probably be the simplest modification, requiring one strip of extra metal on the bottom and two strips of extra metal on the top and could still be designed to allow mortar, but would make sure the wall would always be build completely straight. (although I imagine would present a problem when building the corners, so something adjustable would be perfect)

 
Mike Cantrell
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Here's a hobbyist looking to cut some sets:

http://www.permies.com/t/53993/cob/MakerSpace-WaterJet-Planning-Cutting-Cinva#443539
 
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I have a WaterJet! (Well my MakerSpace/HakerSpace Does) ... I joined whats called a MakerSpace, in my local area and we have a WaterJet Up and Running!

From http://www.provolt.org/435/its-water-jet-cutting-time/
A water jet is a very versatile machine capable of being used for everything from prototyping to full production runs of hundreds of parts. A part can go from design to finished part in less than an hour and can be made from almost any type of material from foam to steel, and thicknesses ranging from tinfoil to over 8 inches thick. One key feature of water jet cutting is the lack of a heat affected zone around the cut. Cut parts stay cool, and require very little cleanup.

So if you Need Something Cut, I can do it, (Provided a Correct Donation for Time on the Waterjet) to the Group "The DIY price will be on the order of $55 per hour, just enough to cover the costs to keep the machine running, and for maintenance"

Do you need WaterJet Cutting?
My E-mail is BrianScottCarpenter@gmail.com



See Me and It Here!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxq-ftz7UALEeXVUT3J0dDl4LTNyR010QVlOSG1HTmpPaUdF/view?usp=sharing

I would really Like to Build Cinva - Rams For people in 3rd world .. ETC
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Me and WaterJet
 
Brian Carpenter
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Nepal Needs, Cinva Rams, Due to the earthquake they had,

So if you want to help by sharing the following link, that would help us design and build Rams for you!
https://www.gofundme.com/cinvaram





This is a person with a large company, In Nepal talking about the need for Bricks
https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/company/media/partnerships/a-special-message-from-our-founder
 
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Hello, Mike. Could You post drawings in mm system ?
 
Mike Cantrell
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Gediminas Kavalskis wrote:Hello, Mike. Could You post drawings in mm system ?



Gediminas, it's not so simple.

I assume you want to use steel in mm thickness, right? That means changing the design of the machine.

I started from a metric (mm) set of drawings, but they are not my drawings. I bought them here : http://www.papercrete.com/cinvaramplans.html. I cannot sell them or give them away.

 
c von
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Hey is anyone planning on making one? Id be down to make one or help pay to lower costs. My ideal one would be 2 bricks at a time, mouldable so you can make interlocking, regular rectangle, pavers and perhaps roof tiles. The other thing would be nice if you could add a $99 press (electric would be nice but probably not strong enough or would burn out) but not sure if thats possible or another way so it could be upgradable. Id be down to help design and fabricate however I can help I am good with 3d modeling, cad plans and design. Would like to make one this spring and it would be great if we could do it for real inexpensive so I could start making them for good causes. Thanks!
 
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following are a few design references, we could export the drawings parts to 1:1 scale DXF/DWG format for greater compatibility.

CEB manual press
https://grabcad.com/library/ceb-manual-press-1

Concrete block press CETA-RAM
https://grabcad.com/library/concrete-block-press-ceta-ram

The manual CETA-RAM CEB press
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/35985762/The%20CETA%20RAM%20Block%20Press.pdf
 
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Started my CEB press today!   It was raining hard his morning so I worked in workshops this am on my CEB press.  Post poned outdoor projects!
I had the local steel guys cut out all my pieces to required sizes.   Had the rest cnc.  Total press cost under $200 Canadian.  Started welding it together today.  Building as per the directions on this forum.  So far very easy to assemble very clear instructions thanks so much.   Going to use the bricks for the floor in our house build.
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Byron Gagne
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Almost done.  Wire brushing, a little paint and build a handle
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Byron Gagne
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Here's some pics testing different soils to see which makes the best brick
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I would appreciate any tips or warnings anyone can think of regarding some ideas I am developing.

I am looking to make a block that works a bit differently than the standard building block. And, I am looking for a way that I can make this block and hoping that a CINVA Ram modification can accommodate this.

What I want this block to do is function as the form for making a rammed earth wall where its inside hollow parts will be filled with the rammed earth soil mixture and tamped. And, of course, in this case, the blocks used as the form will become part of the finished wall. In this way there won't be a bunch of complicated forms to put up and tear down.

The block's configuration will be very much like a two-cell construction block but it will be at least 12 inches wide (outside surface) and up to 18 inches wide. So, the block length will be double the width at 24" up to 36" and in order to keep the weight of each individual block down it could be 3 or 4 inches high. I would also like for them to have a divot on each end (lengthwise) so that they interlock somewhat so that they do not shift while being tamped into place.

Thus, depending on the height of the block, you could lay 3 or 4 courses and go up a foot and add in soil for tamping and then lay in 3 or 4 more courses and then do some more infill and tamping and just go around and around raising up each time until you reached the top where you would put in your bond beams, etc.

I realize that blocks of this size and configuration would very easily break if they weren't handled with care, but once they were filled in and the material was tamped this wall would be extremely strong.

Another concern I have is that there would possibly be a different expansion/contraction ratio between the block and the material tamped inside of it if the material wasn't sufficiently consistent. This is why I would like something like a CINVA ram customized for this purpose because then it could be on-site and the blocks could be build from the exact same material that is being tamped inside of them. Are there any other things that could lead to a breakdown of this wall?

Is there anyone else who would have an interest in developing this particular building method with me? I am in south-east Idaho.

Thanks!

Jason
 
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richard walker wrote:
I recently bought a kit from the supplier on your link. You may want to let him know that the slot size has been changed from 2" to 1" for the pull arm guide slot.
So far I have everything welded except the cam. It appears to be going well and Thank You for posting this!
A lot of welding could have been avoided and a stronger product as well, by building certain components out of 1/2" steel such as the bottom push assembly could have been cut as a T, as well as the top and bottom plates. I am currently working with a Machine shop and will have an alternative source available soon for these parts as a kit, using the same dimensions but a slightly different part layout using 1/2"  where needed for those of us who are not quite as handy at welding.
Again it was Awesome of You to post his resource! I will post again when it's done.
Thanks,
    Richard




Richard, what is the name of the machine shop? And do they offer the parts with your modded design?
 
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I used these plans to build this block machine. I'm actually on my way to Nicaragua with it right now as I type this. My wife's dance company started a Language Through the Arts program down there. Teaching english with dance, music and other arts. One of the teachers and myself are driving down this year. We're kinda in a holding pattern here in New Mexico while we raise the funds necessary to make it through Mexico with all of our school supplies, the block machine and a pull behind camper trailer. Some unexpected expenses have manifested and screwed up our budget. Crazy right? Well, Nicaragua or bust! Maybe we could sell some blocks, lol. Please share our link to our donation page with your friends and family so that we can bring this open source building method to Ometepe, Nicaragua! Let's stop firing bricks!!
https://www.youcaring.com/the-communities-and-villages-of-nicaragua-s-ometepe-island-599044/update/536245

 
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Here is an article on CEB composition (which led me eventually here via Google)

Make Your Own Bricks from Soil:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/make-your-own-bricks-zmaz76mjztak

Very interesting everyone, thanks for posting all of this amazing info!
 
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Well I don't know if this thread is still active but I do want to ask; if the volume of soil in the compression chamber were to be increased by say 50% will the machine still be able to compact it to the same block height of 92cm? Also I found the article on CEBs on Wikipedia which I quote:


"If the blocks are stabilized with a chemical binder such as Portland cement they are called compressed stabilized earth block (CSEB) or stabilized earth block (SEB). Typically, around 3,000Âpsi (21ÂMPa) is applied in compression, and the original soil volume is reduced by about half."

From the ongoing design on this thread which obviously is working well, the arm and piston moves an average of 6.3cm upwards which doesn't seem to be half the volume of the chamber.

I would really appreciate any explanation from anyone about this...


Thanks in advance.
M. Jinks
 
Mike Cantrell
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Michael Jinks wrote: if the volume of soil in the compression chamber were to be increased by say 50% will the machine still be able to compact it to the same block height of 92cm?



I find that there's a wide, wide variation in the density of the soil I put in my press.

If I dump in a few shovelfuls and pat them with the shovel, it can easily be too much. So that I can't compress it. In fact, I bent a couple of the components of my press bouncing up and down on the end of the 8' handle when I had too much soil loaded.
Or, I can obviously put in too little soil, so that that handle easily moves through its whole stroke, but the block inside is loose and crumbly.

There's a bit of technique to it. Doesn't take long to get the hang of (say, 50 blocks and you'll surely have it mastered), but it's not automatically right based on the volume+movement of the machine. It's mostly in the soil. The machine is happy to accept far too much soil for a block or far too little. The operator has to put just the right amount in.
 
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Hi Mike. I've been following this thread and I wanted you know if you could design a larger press. I'm thinking of one that could make bricks for home construction. It would be a game changer for me.
 
Mike Cantrell
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Vee Green wrote:Hi Mike. I've been following this thread and I wanted you know if you could design a larger press. I'm thinking of one that could make bricks for home construction. It would be a game changer for me.



These bricks are quite suitable for home construction!

They're about the size of traditional (southwestern North America) adobes, which are specifically for home construction. People worked out the size of adobes over time- they're the right balance between being large enough to build efficiently, and small enough to carry with average upper-body strength. These are in the ballpark of 20lbs each after fully drying.

They can be used to make a 6" thick wall, an 11" thick wall, or a double-wythe wall of 6" + insulation + 6" (which would end up being quite stout indeed).
 
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I designed and have built in Australia  the Dalrac Mud Brick press. It makes wider brick, at 8 inch or 10 inches wide. today I tend to sell only 10 inch machines.
I have a few differences in the design, but otherwise they are similar.
This is not a sales pitch, please keep this in mind, but I have had 43 years experience making them and can share some issues.
I can answer many questions;
The problem with the brick breaking is caused by a higher clay content, and can be overcome by throwing a sheet of newspaper in the bottom before you load the soil.
the brick thickness will change a bit if you use different soil, its just something to do with the soil and nothing else.

I found hydraulic presses can make a lot more failures, allow 20% because it will press bricks perfectly,
but when they are fully dry the osmosis that is necessary for the particles to stick together will not work if the moisture content is too low, but the brick will look perfect, until it dries out.
That may take 12 months or more.

Also to make them last longer I harden particular surfaces, and use higher strength steel on other parts to keep the weight realistic.
I guarantee my machines for life, except for the pins which will wear sacrificially but can be made anywhere in the world easily.

There is no need to add Portland cement or lime, since the correct soil is generally easy to find, but if you are having difficulty try different small amounts and watch the results. Use 50%  lime than Portland cement.

The brick if everything is ok will not break when you twist them off and can be laid directly on a wall on low lifts. IE do not build walls 6 bricks high immediately, work around the building and you will save time and storage issues.

 
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I know this is an old post and the email is no longer valid but does anyone have contact info for the guy who supplied the parts for Mike?
 
John C Daley
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Drop a piece of paper on the bottom before you load the soil.
It occurs because you clay content is high.
In Australia I use a page from a telephone book
 
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Hello all,
Arkansas Machine Works still offers the Cinva-RAM blockpress that has been discussed on this forum.

The shop information is:

Arkansas Machine Works
450 Agnes Drive, Springdale Ar 72762
arsales@amwinc.com
479.751.1327


Call or email with any questions you may have. Connect with us on Facebook
 
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Has anyone tried putting an additional block in the bottom that would make L shaped tiles for roofing? Some wooden beams could go across the roof and the blocks could possibly overlap. Cement would probably need to be added because these would probably be much thinner block/tiles.

 
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Does anyone have plans for the cinva ram with the lego bricks on youtube in south america they managed to make? I'm considering modifying and building one (why I signed up on here) to build a house, garage, shed, retaining walls on my land and was curious if I could order the parts anywhere for the interlocking bricks that can be rebar reinforced. The reason being where I live (west virginia) it is a wet climate and would be better to have a concrete header and footer tied together with rebar on such a structure. Is there any way to make inserts to make different types of bricks in this ram (with holes or interlocking with holes) or would it be better to make separate rams for it?

I have a few years of technical drawing under my belt and might try to design one myself (possibly with a better or more adjustable compression ratio) but I'm not sure where I would have to have the parts cut. Is powder coating necessary?

Are these bricks good for using as a road base or pavers?
 
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