Archive for February, 2012

Photo update

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Pic 1 above is the view down the west wall from the front door. In pic 2 the openings from left to right are laundry, main bathroom and main toilet. Ensuite toilet, shower and WIR are in the next wall section.

Pics 3 and 4 is a progress comparison view from the sou’west corner where the WIR is located.

Pics 5 and 6 are from the sou’east and nor’east corners respectively.

Some numbers

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Being 38C today gives me an opportunity to sit in aircon comfort and crunch a few numbers.

Blocks poured to date – 467.42
Bags of cement used – 213.5
Blocks per bag – 2.19
Cement cost per block – $3.84
Sand cost per block – $1.55
Blocks per square metre – 5.55
Wall cost per square metre – $29.91

Cubic metres poured – 23.69
Guesstimated cubic metres wasted mix – 3
We are getting better at managing the wasted mix but it is not completely avoidable.

Finally on the downwind stretch

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

After a good spell of fine weather last week our completed percentage for the walls is now 52%.

We are about 200 blocks away from reaching level 7 around the perimeter and getting all sections to this is the next goal. From there the verandah tie downs are moulded into the wall, using laser levelling for accuracy. Once that is done there are only 170 blocks left to complete the walls!

Update on costs

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

I am no longer purchasing cement by the pallet as the per bag rate is identical and it’s less of a logistical nightmare to move 15 bags at a time in the ute than an entire pallet of 80 across the ute and trailer.

Bianco for white cement – $295.21
Garden Grove for sand – $1185

Total project spend is now at $295,484.32
House only is now $81,531.82
Cost per square metre is now $283.10

Half way looming

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

One day this coming week we will pass the half way mark with the amount of mud that needs to be mixed and poured. I’ve lost 3 days over the past 2 weeks to mechanical problems with the mixer and another 3 days to wet weather. This week is promising weather wise and I hope to have a huge week with all formwork cleaned and ready to be set.

First pic is from the perspective I’ve been trying to keep for comparison sake of progress down the west wall. If you scroll back the last few posts on building progress you can see how this is progressing nicely. The wall is reasonably straight, the vertical rise and fall along each layer is I believe caused by shrinkage rates due to rain and temperature and is beyond our control.

The cracking around the front door has been caused by the wood blocks as they get wet and swell causing the earth around to crack. So much for the expert advice of using oil treated wood set into the walls to fix doors and windows to. I have now resorted to using threaded rods, ligatured to the upright wall plate tie down rods and we’ll bolt the frames to the walls rather than screw through the jarrah blocks.  You might be able to pick those rods out in the second pic in the window openings.

Pic 2 is a view from half way down the driveway and shows the 2 largest opening on this side of the house. One is Elise’s craft room window of 1200×1200, with the second one being formed at the right of the formwork seen in the pic and also 1200×1200. Much to the dismay of most people there is no laundry door as we didn’t see the point of having a door on the side of the house where most wind and dust from the road comes from. All the openings this side are the smallest permissible for habitable spaces for this reason.

Trouble with machinery

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

The mixer I’m using is a hand-me-down from my Dad, and it’s life before that would not have been easy being a communal mixer used by immigrants arriving in Australia after WWII. Back then the “new” Australians got none of the luxuries todays immigrants get so they either got on with building a home themselves with the help of like minded members of the community or they kept living in I would imagine squalid conditions in tents and nissen huts. Doing some research on it a few years back now I worked out this mixer was made in Adelaide in the 1940’s and 1950’s so it has some age behind it.

The poor old thing is getting tired and has literally worn out the yoke that holds the bowl causing the gears to miss and drive to the bowl to stop. I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about how to fix the issue without a literal rebuild in a machine shop, and here is what I came up with as a fix.

Pic 1 is removing the bowl with the assistance of a verandah beam and a pair of ratchet straps. Pic 2 shows the wear from the back of the yoke. Pic 3 shows almost identical wear at the front of the yoke where the bowl sits. Pic 4 is where I’ve marked the sleeve I need to manufacture and fit start and finishes.

In Pic 1 and 2 above I’ve used a bit of pipe with an inner diameter roughly the same as the pin. I’ve used the pen marks from the pic set above to cut a radius of the pipe. To the back of the radius I welded some 3mm strap steel and then used the grinder to shape it so it fit snugly around the pin as in Pic 3. The yoke is cast iron and is a pig (no pun intended) of a thing to weld anything to, so many repetitive rounds of weld and grind end up with the result in Pic 4. The sleeve itself is not full width of the yoke, as the wear pattern is much like 2 cones stacked point to point and therefore impossible to fit in one piece. Instead I have made a 40mm section fitted to each end.

I repeated the procedure with the front side of the yoke, also adding a layer of weld rod steel to the face of the yoke to harden it and hopefully help keep things aligned to avoid this sort of wear again. I’m not sure how long this fix will last, but I’m sure hoping it at least sees out the build. I have greased and run the mixer unloaded and the “tipping point” noticable in the bowl before the fix is gone.