Jul 03

Chipcrete Experiment


A section of my 2000 square foot floor.

This experiment is in search of an affordable floor.  At 2000 sq/ft, a 4 inch thick floor is about 25 yards, 3  truckloads of concrete, about $3K in concrete, delivered.

A week rental on a concrete sander prices out at about $1000.

So – the hard DIY price on a sanded concrete floor is $4k.  Since I have a mountain full of dead wood – maybe I can find a cheaper solution… Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 19

3D Model – Sketchup Download

Hi All:

House-v28-34x76bI’ve had a lot of requests for our 3D model.  The model is very accurate and has been used as a working reference in every stage of the build so far.  The square footage is about 4500.  The greenhouse is about 900 sq ft, and 16,000 ft cubic foot.

If the budget holds, the final construction cost will be between $25 & $30 per square foot – which is the least expensive residential code compliant home built in Colorado in a good many years.

For the uninitiated you can download sketchup here.  It’s an excellent free program formerly from google, and now owned by a Boulder company.

Thursday March 20 is a site tour.  We’ll be arriving about noon.  If you want to check it out – just follow the directions above.  Here is a series of views exported from the model.


Dec 02

A Big Gl ass Wall

Hi All:

We’ve been way busy getting to dry in.  All have done a super job.  We have a hard windy day ahead with cold weather on heel.  So pardon the terse.

Nov 05

First Electrical Inspection

This video shows how to install wiring in a flat roof that has no crawl space.  There are a few requirements:

  1. Don’t staple on edge or damage wire
  2. No sharp bends, corners less than 5x wire diameter
  3. Tacks every 4.5 feet or less
  4. Put the wire where you won’t put a screw through it

Sep 02

Awesome Bread !

Check out this loaf of bread brought up by the Bensteins !

Good Eatin’ !


Sep 02

Making News


Me kissin’ Linda standing on the pile of lumber we cut for the house.

Monday morning we awoke to our picture on top half of the front page of the newspaper.

Who ever thought me smoochin’ on Linda would be newsworthy – let alone front page material. You can check out the article at the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

The build is proceeding very well.  We’re on the move…


Aug 13

Adapt & Prevail

Attention dumpster divers – we ran out of cardboard again. We’ve drained the Harbor Freight dumpster three times now along with the VFW in Laporte. Anyway – this time we put the sawmill on sliver mode and got it done.

Adapt and Overcome

Adapt and Overcome

Aug 03

Free Lifetime A/C – $40

FirstFrameWe’ve just they french-drain & vent/cooling tubes.  These tubes bring geo-thermally cooled fresh air to the back of the house.  Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 30

Swingin’ in the Rain !

Tanner & the Sledge

Tanner & the Sledge

Over the past couple of weeks – we’ve got awesome progress. This video segment shows extreme Technologies – Watch a 7 year old swing a sledge hammer while a 27 year old resorts to power tools.
Both are AWESOME !
Many thanks to the volunteers for helping us turn a pile of tires and dirt into our new home.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Jun 18

The 5 Minute Tire

Rob Berkman pounds a tire in about 5 min with a backfill tamper.

Rob Berkman pounds a tire in about 5 min with a backfill tamper.

This video shows us packing out our very first tire in about 5 minutes with a pneumatic backfill tamper:

  1. It is fast as you can shovel dirt;
  2. Not as tiring as the sledge hammer method.
  3. Sides were a little softer than hand pounding. Two sledge laps pound the tire to totally firm – about 20 hits – under 2 minutes of hand pounding.

In the background there is a 9 hp air compressor.  The compressor is big enough to drive about any air tool – concrete sprayer, jack hammer, insulation sprayer etc.  It was $1K at Harbor Freight, the tamper was $250 on ebay.

If you’ve never pounded a tire with a sledge hammer.  The sledges are about 8 lbs and it takes about 150-200 hits to properly firm a tire.  For most humans this many hits take about 10-30 minutes – and each tire is quite tiring.  Two strong people can pound 20-40 tires per day.  Most Earthships use 800+ tires.  This method brings that number to 150+ tires/day for a 2 person team.

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