DIY Mud-Brick Machine Builds Life-Sized, LEGO-Style Blocks

Rammed earth structures make great use of local and sustainable construction materials, but pressing and curing each layer can be tough to do for small-scale contractors or do-it-yourself types.

Hence, this ingenious portable hydraulic press from MecoConcept, which can pump out finished blocks in thirty seconds right on site. Set on wheels, the brick-making machine can be moved along as needed, requiring only one person to work it at a time.

Styled after LEGOs, each pressed-mud building block is shaped with bumps and grooves on each surface for easy stacking and side-by-side placement. Seismic-resident, stackable up to two stories, these simple bricks pack a lot into a small unit.

The device itself is in early-phase limited production, available for rent or sale (at least in France), ?and potentially very practical for certain kinds of projects (imagine: simple backyard sheds, emergency shelters and the like). Of course, in wet and cold climates, adding aggregates and admixtures may be a must.

As with any DIY masonry system, issues of insulation are addressed (or not) by the core material, namely: the dirt, clay or other dug-up mixture one has on hand. However, water barriers and other typical-building concerns may have to be addressed in other ways.

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