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Terry Ruth
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http://hempadobehomes.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XIXtZk_FA8

I gather from the video this guy is an aircraft builder, I too have a background in past 30 or so years. As far back as I can remember we have used a honeycomb core with bonded skins. This guy has taken what he learned from what I can tell uses what he calls "adobe" since I think he is CNCing or machining from a CAD-CAM program out of a magnesium oxide-bassalt block to create the honeycomb with an integrated skin. He then fills the honeycombs with hemp and bonds a skin on in a factory setting. This creates what is known in aircraft as a composite sandwich construction panel, or Structural Insulated Panel (SIPS). The ends are tonge and groove he assemblies on the job site by cranes probable with nuts and bolts, usually by CNC auto-fastening in aircraft.

Nothing he created but interesting non the less. Factory producing the panels has its disadvantages and advantages. You get out of the weather but his structure due to bolts being the weak link is not fully monocoque or monolithic as he states, it is semi. If if you take the same hemp with a magnesium oxide binder and stucco skins cast in place at the job site that is continuous from walls to roof like poured concrete it would be stronger I would guess. His design seems to thermally bridge from the skin-to honeycomb ribbons (or ribs) to skin? The MGO and honeycomb design does provide the ability to get thickness down with high compression strength if you can find the materials. He is WA, USA where they are now growing hemp, MGO is not easy to find. I would think other plants like straw from wheat would work well too, I don't see what makes hemp have a higher r-value?

Thoughts?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Terry,

Well...I wish him all the luck in the world with his project and plans...

For me I see just one more person trying to perhaps "reinvent wheels" with natural products. I like folks like him and their creativity, yet don't really see anything in this product that isn't a take (and not a very good one) on already tried and true vernacular systems.

This is, like so many products today that get "green washed" a natural product material that gets "over industrialized." Then the manufacture developer tries to "sell" everyone on how this is a really good idea? He goes on to say that,

"...I am not trying to take any jobs away from masons, carpenters, and folks like that...they can make better wages working with this product..."

Hmmmm....not sure about that. I like stone, timber and clay architecture. I like working with unindustrialized materials as much as I can. I also am not fond of large masonry slabs that get bolted together...and someone trying to "sell" (convince?) me that this is a better system...

When I read that somebody has a "proprietary system" that they don't want to give me specifics about what exactly is in it...how it is manufacture...and what its material and manufacture details are in relationship to "carbon footprint"....Any one of these is a major "red flag" as far as I am concerned.

His design seems to thermally bridge...


Yes...It does seem to and it looks like it would do this rather badly...Another reason some of his claims seem more like "sales hype" than actual comparative facts...

MGO is not easy to find...


Hmmm....I am not sure or certain that it is hard to find? MGO (Magnesium Oxide) is manufactured just about everywhere and is a base material in everything from TUMS and under medications to OPC (ordinary portland cements) as well as many other industrial products. Yet for me the issues once again...these are not "green products" as they are heavily industrialized...So this entire "natural thing" because it uses hemp is rather "slippery sales tactic" than truth...I have seen plastic panels with hemp fibers too...I would not call that a "natural product."

I would think other plants like straw from wheat would work well too, I don't see what makes hemp have a higher r-value?


Hemp can be "carded" and "spun" into a finer fiber matrix there by raising its ability to insulate better than straw. This in a baled form of compressed, like in these panels...?...I agree, not much better or only the same as straw. Then again, I don't personally see a future for this product as demonstrated...

Thanks for sharing the link and info...

j
 
Terry Ruth
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Jay, I spent the whole day yesterday looking for MGO and today. I talked to a mining plant in Salt Lake City, UT that does not produce the oxide needed for construction. Argonne labs (http://www.anl.gov/) developed a product and licensed some in the 90’s. Grancrete (http://www.grancrete.net/distribution/index.cfm) was one, I called line disconnected I gather out of business. One distributor I talked to this morning said it took off over in Asia, not the USA. It cures so fast spray guns clog up. Does better in molds.

This guy got a Argonne license too (http://www.breathingwalls.com/drupal/drupal-5.14/), he offers consulting for $150/hr and a mag board product, I’m think about reading his book…he is partnered up with China since there are more products over there. He has built 150 or so Rammed Earth, Straw Bale, natural homes in Austin, TX area. Said it is not easy making a profit due to all the time it takes training the trades, realtors, banks, insurance agents, buyers, etc…..A builder has to make a living too and being poor is no fun.

So I’m with ya in that lots of folks know the US building industry is a mess! I agree some are taking natural building products and “green washing” them by a factory or other means. At the same time, I think it is a start. I don’t think the American natural builder with all that is stacked up against him or her, add the building code and spec politics, the change will not happen overnight. It took a long time to get here, and it would probably take a long time for change.

That leaves many trying to make small changes that can be produced by available skills sets. This guy hit on that a bit, taking carpenter’s eliminating their job by cross training them into assembling SIPs panels. I am heading to manage a large church build SIP job in a couple weeks (OSB and foam (not my design), another method that is hard to find trades to do. I did get a chuckle out of the guy in the video when he said he pay the carpenter the same wage to assemble SIPS that takes a fraction of the time of framing, etc…not going to happen he’ll pay his labor the least he can. Sales hype to break the ice I call it.

http://www.premiercpg.com/links.html These guys are sending me a sample of MGO that I can change the mix to the get the properties I want they say they have techs that will help me….They want $1800 ton. I have yet to see if the cost equals out to Portland cement since it will take less due to its better properties all around. I’ll add some hemp to this binder see if it improves over lime. I’m in SE Kansas, anyone have experience with MGO or know of a close by distributor let me know.

I called all my ready mix companies. Some said they will research it, all had no idea what I was talking about. I told them I need mix to mitigate water and prevent a thermal bridge through my foundations. No help here. So that will leave labor intensive mixing in mortar drums, pouring by hand. If it were just my home no problem, but not good for a spec production natural home builder that needs to make some $ to pay bills just like everyone else.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hey Terry......Good to have someone also here really looking into things like this...

I do wish folks, like the Gentleman in the video, all the luck in the world with their dreams and aspirations...I just wish so many of them would not try to "reinvent wheels" and/or drink too much of their own "Kool-Aid," then try to convince the rest of us..."Ya...what I got here is way better..."

I have not seen yet, in 40 years very much of anything that is "way better." I am still looking....

That stress skin project you are going on will show you a great deal...I could promise that structure of OSB and Foam will not be standing in 250 years like the "Meeting House" (the oldest in Vermont) that I attend occasionally here in Thetford. It just amazes me how folks "buy into" the sales hype of all these industrial products and not really take a step back to look at it and the bigger picture of not only the architecture but the industries that manufacture the materials... Everyone seems to want the "quick fix," along with their "instant gratification" and the "cheapest price." Never really thinking is this the best "value?" Will it last? What are the maintenance costs? Is the structure easy to work on, modify, add plumbing and wiring to, etc?
 
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