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DIY concrete mixer plans?

Discussion in 'Off the Topic Forum' started by fields_mj, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. fields_mj

    fields_mj AboristSite Guru

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    Hey guys, I'm on a mission trip in Civadie, Haiti. We are building houses for orphans and the elderly. All lumber is imported here, and it is very expensive, so everything is made from concrete. We mix sand, rock, and lime on the ground with shovels, then mix in a bag or two of mortar, then add water. All mixing is done with shovels.

    Being an engineer, I immediately determined that there HAS to be a better way than this. It's not as easy as just buying one in the states and shipping it down. They ship things down in containers and it costs $8,000 to ship the container. They can buy one in Port Au Prince, or go over to the Dominican Republic, but they are still expensive. So, I thought I would draw one up using materials that they have available locally, like 55 gal drums and lawn mower engines (or bicycles). Electricity is not an option. It is not available at the job site, and even where it is available, it's not reliable. Literally, half the time it's shut off.

    Anyway, if anyone knows where I can find some plans for a concrete mixer that uses, could use, or could be modified to use a 55 gal drum, I would appreciate knowing about it. There is a welding shop down the road a ways, so they can have something fabricated.

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
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  2. Hank Chinaski

    Hank Chinaski Number 37

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    IMHO there's nothing more than looking at one and copying it. It's a drum set on an angle to rotate, ad a method to rotate it, and be able to tilt to remove the concrete after it's mixed.
    Don't over engineer/think it.

    Most shops in countries like this can design/build it themselves if you'll just show them a photo and tell them how it operates.

    While there isn't any plan for a mixer, this link has a lot of info you might find handy: cd3wd - now available FREE on an offline 4xDVD set to Third World/Developing Countries - 4000 Electronic Books online and offline with Practical Technical Development Information for the Third World. Agriculture, Health, Education, Small Industries e
     
  3. Dalmatian90

    Dalmatian90 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Define "better."

    If you mean you need to produce a more consistent or stronger mix then is possible by hand mixing, that's one thing.

    If you mean you're trying to eliminate labor in a country with an already existing very high unemployment rate, that's another. Seems to me that employing people in useful (if labor intensive) work providing them something to do and an income is just as important as actually mixing concrete.
     
    Hank Chinaski likes this.
  4. mga

    mga Tree Freak

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    you'll need a welder, so if you don't have electric, i guess that's out.

    the idea of using a bike sprockets and chains seems like it might work. but, you'll have to design a way for the drum to be on an angle then be able to tilt it to get the cement out.

    i would think that with the billions of dollars in aid so many countries have pledged to haiti, there would have been a donation for a cement mixer.

    wtf happened to all my tax dollars we sent down there? did they go towards rebuilding the presidential palace(s)?

    some thing don't seem right.
     
  5. D&B Mack

    D&B Mack Sawin Wit It!

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    Take a drum and some lawnmower blades to the welding shop. Weld the mower blades the 45 degree angles inside the drum, shouldn't need more than eight. Set them up so four and four, enough to keep turning material over. Weld two bars in the form of an X to the bottom which will let you turn it. Take another barrel, cut it in half. Make a simple stand to hold off the ground. Set your first barrel inside the half of the second barrel. Coat the entire first barrel in grease. When you make your stand, make it so the front (open end of first barrel) legs can be removed so you can dump it.
     
  6. fields_mj

    fields_mj AboristSite Guru

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    That is a concern, and I asked before hand. They indicated that a mixer, or mixers would be very helpful. They do have power here, but not out at the job site. So, we can have something welded up.

    Here's the situation at the moment:

    Right now this particular missionary has 3 orphanages to build, a senior center to finish, and 40 acres that was given to her after the earthquake by the government of Jaqmel. We have more workers (Haitian's) on site than she can pay, but they work for free anyway. Each home is made of block, has 4" of concrete for a floor, solid concrete pillars and 8" of concrete and block for a roof. In other words there's more work to be done than they are able to do, and its causing problems. The primary goal of the mission is to spread the gospel, and then to make the people self sufficient. Over the past 27 years she has built a church, a bakery, and a school which currently has 1200 students. Since the earthquake she has built 68 homes. All this was done with local labor and donations. The Haitians are very hard workers, and very friendly, but they have NO resources. The income distribution is very lopsided. Right now the mission is renting 4 of these homes (in bad shape) from someone else in order to house those who will be in the senior center. The cost is $6,000 a year. Limited power, and one hose spigot for the group. For that price, I can rent a 1100 sq ft apt in the states and have CLEAN running water, reliable power, and central air (what's that?). These houses can be built for roughly $4,000.

    As far as the donations, and the presidential palace, there's more damage here than most people can comprehend. There are still thousands of people who live in tents. This isn't camping. This is thousands of people living on top of each other with no concept of sanitation. There are more cases of cholera then there are hospital beds. This is about how we would raise pigs.

    As usual, donations from the governments are poorly used. The best way to make a donation is to make it through your local church to a local missionary. The presidential palace was exactly that. When I was here in 2003, we drove past it and it was beautiful. The surrounding block was mostly government buildings and they were nice as well. Outside of that it was a cesspool. It was like driving through a garbage dump. The situatition in Port Au Prince now is certainly different. The palace hasn't been touched. The earthquake hit the palace and government buildings twice as hard as anything else in the city. The government buildings, for the most part, have been torn down, and the only thing that remains is a hole in the ground. The few that are still standing, including the palace, are just as they were after the earthquake, a pile of rubble. The rest of the city is actually in better shape. I'm sure that's largely because of the foreign aid that has come in.
     
  7. unclemoustache

    unclemoustache My 'stache is bigger than yours.

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    Got that right. You want charity done properly, go through a religious group, not the bloody government. Make sure the group is signed up with the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). They nitpick through all the books and look for any funny business. The government has no accountability to anyone or anything, and we all know how well they handle money these days.


    Here's what I'm thinking: To get the drum to rotate, you don't necessarily need to have gears and all that. Think about how your dryer works - belt driven and rotates on a simple plastic frame with felt. You could rig up a wooden frame for the drum to sit on, and sand the wood smooth (or let the drum do that), and put some wax or other lube on it. Make sure the sides of the frame are rather high so about half of the circumference is covered. You could weld a rod coming straight out the bottom of the drum (would need to reinforce the bottom - the metal there would not be thick enough) and hook a pair (or two?) of bicycle pedals to power it by foot. Much easier than by hand. You could also rig it up to be belt- or chain-driven with pedal power. Keep in mind the amount of weight that would be put into the drum, and make sure the pedaler(s) don't break a leg just trying to turn the thing. Put the whole thing on a platform frame, maybe even with wheels to move it around. Wouldn't need anything special to dump it - just lift one end (remove the people pedaling, first).
    Maybe not very practical, but simple to construct, or at least may spur some better ideas of some of our AS thinkers and engineers.
     
  8. Frank Boyer

    Frank Boyer Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I taught at a voc school and the welding class made a mixer for me. The tub drive part is a flex plate from a car and the matching starter drive. The starter drive is on a shaft that has a large pulley and that is driven,with a V belt, by an electric motor with a small pulley. The tub and drive assembly with motor pivot when the mud is dumped. Very simple and it works well.
     
  9. D&B Mack

    D&B Mack Sawin Wit It!

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    Too bad most of the aid that was sent there, never made it to the people who actually need it.
     
  10. fields_mj

    fields_mj AboristSite Guru

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    I found a design that I liked. It's basically a standard mixer that has sevaral large handles attached to the drive shaft (like a set of wagon wheel spokes). The handles attached between the frame and the barrel. They angle forward and are welded to the outer edge of the mixing drum (barrel in this case) to provide additional support. The frame is basically 2 legs that go down and then angle around like the bottom of a rocking horse so that when your done you can tip it over and dump it. I think it will work out pretty well for them.

    Thanks
    Mark
     
  11. Wortown Mick

    Wortown Mick Banned

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    You need these.

    Forget the 55 gallon drum, they're kinda flimsy and wont last long. Then again a smart design could make it happen.

    If you have the manpower and want something cheap and lightweight here you go.

    Cretesheet - Cement Mixers, Concrete Mixers, Cement Concrete Mixer

    <iframe width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/E1D1sZvtuZU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/oc2BQUa-F9o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  12. fields_mj

    fields_mj AboristSite Guru

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    That would work well for small jobs, but down here, that process would be too slow. I might look into something like that for home though.
     
  13. unclemoustache

    unclemoustache My 'stache is bigger than yours.

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    There used to be a product for small scale mixing - it was a bucket, maybe the size of a an 8 gal bucket that had a screw on lid. You put one bag of quickrete and the water inside, screwed on the lid and rolled the bucket around. It had fins inside to help mix it up. Open the lid and dump. Simple. Can't seem to find it online now. Yes, it's small scale, but cheap and easily used by one person. Get a handfull of these, and they could keep a crew busy enough.
     
  14. Wortown Mick

    Wortown Mick Banned

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    Typical engineer.

    You have labor, with 20 of the things the process is anything but slow, it would be faster than a ghetto rigged 55 gallon drum that's bound to break on the first day of use

    You're mixing the same amount in a crete sheet as you would with the mixer

    You could probably even have the cretesheets donated, but why use a perfectly simple answer when something can be overengineered to fail in the meantime.

    Maybe you cant see the video but 10 kids mixed and poured 3.5 yards of sackrete in 45 minutes, I think your workers could probably do even better.


    If they are mixing concrete on the ground down there, just about any process is faster ans this one uses your most plentiful resource. Especially if you precast blocks. It would save resources and make for lighter roofs to collapse on them in the next earthquake.
     
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  15. cowtipper

    cowtipper ArboristSite Operative

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    Is this what your talking about?

    Amazon.com: Scepter 04239 7-Gallon Odjob Mixer: Automotive

    http://www.quikrete.com/ProductLines/ConcreteAndMortarMixer.asp
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  16. dancan

    dancan Tree Freak

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    Here's some pics of a manufactured version of that looks like a doable build .

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     

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