Step 4: making Papercrete Blocks, making blocks is super easy. After mixing up a batch you just cast it into forms. Block molds- mine are made from 2x6's and scrap siding. Bathroom scale- for measuring out the paper. Shovel, materials, water Paper (used of course) Shredded plastic (if you want) 95 lb bag of cement (cement not concrete- no rocks or sand in the mix) Process. . Set out your molds. . you will need enough flat space to drive over them and pull your truck and the mixer in all the way in front of the molds.
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I bought the metal for the trailer from the scrap yard so it only cost about. The trailer hitch was another 20 and the stock tank was about 175. . maybe another 20 for bondo, bolts, glue and silicone. . so a total of about 250. What you do different next time? I would re-design the drain so it was easier resume to use and make it larger to let the mix out better. I also need to put a couple of chains on by the hitch in case something bad ever happens and the trailer comes off. Ok, that's cool and all but I want to try making a few blocks before i commit to making a contraption like that. Just use a plaster mixer on a heavy duty(1/2 drill in a 5 gallon bucket for a test run. Next up well go over actually making a batch of papercrete and casting it into blocks.
I bolted everything together and sealed the joint between the differential and the tank with bondo. I also made a flap under the trailer to hold the drain shut. . All that remained was to attach the lawnmower blade to the differential and I had roles a mixer. How long did it take? I took my time acquiring parts over a few months and then once i got started building it took me the better part of a couple of weekends to construct. How much did it cost? I scrounged as much as I could. I got the rear end from a mechanic that i knew.
I cut a hole in it where the end of the differential would stick through. I cut the plywood to fit snugly around the differential so that it would be relatively easy to seal later. After that, i cut a hole in the stock tank as well so that it sat on top of the platform and fit over the differential too. . Once everything was aligned I drilled through the tank, plywood and trailer rails and bolted everything together. In order to get the papercrete out of the mixer I needed a drain. . I took the tank off and cut a hole that was the circumference of the truck inner tube. . I cut a third of the inner tube off and slid it through the hole in the plywood and secured it with a couple screws. . It looks like an elephants trunk sticking out of the bottom! I cut a matching hole in the stock tank but made the hole an inch smaller so that I could cut tabs and bend them down to secure the tank over the drain.
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(I lost my!@ photos from building my mixer so were going freehand from here people!). First I gathered up my materials which included: non A four foot diameter metal stock tank. A full sheet of 3/4 plywood, metal beams, the rear end from a land rover (I think i have the classiest trailer in town). A trailer hitch, the rubber inner tube from a large truck tire. A couple hinges, a lawnmower blade, a small can of bondo, a tube of silicone and liquid nails. Assorted nuts and bolts and some wood screws. The first step was to assemble the trailer.
I needed a contraption that could securely carry several hundred gallons of water. I used galvanized I-beams that were way heavier duty than I needed to build the trailer with, but hey, they were pretty cheap at the scrap yard and about the length I needed already. I welded them together along with the rear end from a land rover to create the framework. Once i welded on a trailer hitch from Pep boys I had a trailer. you can get the idea from the first illustration. Next, i cut the plywood sheet in half and glued writing and screwed the two halves together to make an inch and a half thick platform to hold the stock tank.
Now we even grind up all of our plastic trash in a paper shredder and mix it right in! . making papercrete turns nearly all of our household trash into building materials. Its cheap- It costs about a quarter to make a 8 x 12 x 5 high block. Itching to start making blocks? First, we have to make that mixer.
Step 3: Papercrete mixer, the McCain mixer is sheer genius in its backyard engineering brilliance and simplicity. It consists of a trailer made from a truck rear axle with a stock tank mounted. The axle is rotated up 90 degrees so that the end where the drive-shaft would normally attach is sticking up through the bottom of the tank. A lawn mower blade is mounted on the differential stub so that as the trailer is towed it turns the lawnmower blade creating a giant blender. I built my own McCain mixer a few years ago and its worked really well for. Im going to go over my build here knowing full well that it would take an intrepid soul to actually go ahead and build one of these but hey, maybe you'll get inspired.
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Its sturdy father's but lightweight- a block only weighs a few pounds but can hold up a car! Its weatherproof- ive had blocks out in the elements for 4 years and they havent changed at all. . It does absorb water like a sponge so if they are going to be used for walls they need to be protected from moisture. Similar to wood they will decompose if buried underground so they need to be up on a raised foundation. Its a really easy material to make- as long as you stick to the rough proportions of water, paper and cement youll end up with a usable product. . I can make 45 blocks by myself in two hours. It's easy to work with- you can use regular woodworking tools to cut or drill holes in papercrete blocks. Its green- totally overused term these days, i know, but i use all of our paper trash for the year and then quite a bit more. . Its fun to go to the recycling center and see their faces when i ask for paper rather than dropping it off. .
The mixture is then stirred with a blade to re-pulp the paper and mix everything together. When it is properly mixed it becomes a slurry that has the consistency of lumpy oatmeal. This slurry can be poured into forms and cast into shapes such as blocks or beams or dome sections. you use the same stuff as a mortar to glue alankit the blocks together. It can also be used as a plaster to make a smooth finish coat on the inside and outside of a structure. Papercrete has an r value of 2 per inch so a 12" wall has an r value. Not bad.
the paper it will just stir it around. Luckily for me, mike mcCain had already invented an ingenious papercrete mixer that you tow behind a truck. . you just throw everything in and drive slowly for about a mile. . When youre done you have papercrete slurry ready to be cast into something. What Is This Stuff Anyways? Well, like i said in the intro papercrete is basically concrete made with paper. The process consists of adding a certain ratio of paper and / or cardboard to water and then adding portland cement.
One of the titles we carried had an article about people who were recycling newspapers and building with papercrete down in southern New Mexico. . It was a total off the grid hippie dome sort of scene. . The domes weren't my thing but I was captivated by business the material and the process of making. . I saved a copy of that magazine and told everyone i knew about. It was especially appealing to me because of all the waste involved in magazine distribution. All the unsold magazines would be returned to me and I would have to pay to have them hauled away for recycling. Turning them into building blocks would have been a perfect solution. Unfortunately at the time i didn't have a place to experiment with building projects so eventually the papercrete article went into storage and the idea went on the back burner.
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Step 1: a brief History of Papercrete. Papercrete summary was originally patented in the 20's. The patent lapsed because it was too easy to make on your own and the patent holder wasn't able to make any money off. It really came into it's own as a building material in the 80's. Eric Patterson and mike mcCain are widely credited with independently inventing (rediscovering) it and actively developing techniques and machinery for working with. I discovered papercrete in the late nineties. . i used to own a magazine distribution company that specialized in small press and unusual magazines. .