• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • James Freyr
  • Mike Barkley
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Greg Martin
  • Pearl Sutton

Pre-Rammed Earthship Tires  RSS feed

Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello I'm new to the concept of Earthships but this forum has been a huge help in getting up to speed. I'd like to pose this idea to the community in hopes of further reading or critiques -

In my few days of research it has become obvious that these homes are tremendously cost-effective yet the amount of labor, "sweat-equity," is a barrier to entry for many potential builders.
More specifically, filling and packing each tire with dirt takes an incredible amount of time - it's estimated that a single individual can pack about 8 tires a day while an entire Earthship may require something like 1800 packed tires!

So I'd like to propose that we create the earth-rammed tires in a manufacturing facility and then ship these pre-rammed building blocks to a construction site.

Now I've never constructed an Earthship or done the actual ramming of dirt into tires, so the manufacturing details aren't worked out but if anyone has worked on an Earthship and could provide insight and any pros/cons to this method I would love to hear what you think!

*One downside I've considered already is the weight of each tire. From my reading it seems like a single earth-rammed tire can weigh upwards of 300 pounds, making the complete load many many tons. Maybe the good ole' American railroad can help us with transport but getting the tires to the construction site will still be logistically challenging.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!


Posts: 54
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Austin,
Earthships are not my forte, though I have been looking into the costs of shipping firebrick for a Batch Box Rocket Mass Heater I plan to build.  I can assure you, the cost of freight is outrageous when you consider to kind of tonnage you are talking about.  Maybe it is more economical to devise a simple device to assist in packing the earth into the tires?  Moving tires full of earth would be backbreaking work.
Posts: 2554
Location: Toronto, Ontario
bee dog forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Austin. Welcome to Permies.

One of the benefits of Earthships was the use of in situ resources. Your suggestion would obviate that benefit.

If you are going to use a machine to ram tires, you could make such a press mobile, and ram the tires on-site, but then why use tires at all? Why not earthbags, or compressed earth block? Why not do away with the need for unconventional machinery and ram earth between forms like one pours concrete, using a tamper to compact the layers as you go?

I tend to stay away from used tires. Many of the reasons why this may be a good idea are contained in a thread I have linked below.


Posts: 2242
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've thought I would cut off one sidewall of a tire before packing it.
More work, more tools,more efficent, less frustrating?

The best use of tires in an "earthship" I've seen  is the compressed tire block.
Made of tires that are baled into a cube, they are so heavy and dense it is said they can be used to build a wall directly on the ground without footers!

There is a thread here on Permies by an owner/builder.

Regarding other ways to build with soil, soil concrete is something I would consider, but
RapidAdobe is what I really want to try:


Basically rammed earth in leave in place fabric forms.

Very diy friendly in terms of labor and material resources.

Velacreations post here under a different name, and thus is only one of their great contributions.

Posts: 669
Location: Bendigo , Australia
dog homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great idea in theory, bud in practise.
If you study better ways of working on the site with in situ materials you will improve productivity.
Time is spent shifting the earth around, and unto the tyres.
Time is taken with compacting the soil.
I would look at conveyors, air driven compacting tools, funnels to hold over a tyre to speed up filling.
Even a simple crane or fly system to move the tyres around quickly.
Look at filling sat 3 tyres at a time and then compacting them .
I studied time and motion, it will help you to plan things differently.
A wop bop a lu bop a womp bam boom! Tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!