Can you build a house dirt cheap? You bet. There are a variety of techniques to build your own home from the soil at hand, including cob construction, adobe, rammed earth, and compressed earth block (CEB) construction. In CEB construction, for example, soil can be compressed into earth bricks with the aid of a Cinva Ram.
The photo here is of Michael Gross with Terra Block Inc. in Orlando, Florida, with a Cinva Ram he built from the Cinva Ram Plan Set.
Charmaine Taylor's Cinva Ram Plan Set is a detailed set of plans for making your own compressed earth block (CEB) press ...aka the Cinva Ram. The photo above is a Cinva Ram manual press made from these plans by Mike Gross, President of Terra-Block Inc., Orlando, Florida.
This press was developed and engineered in third world countries for manual use. Welding of parts is recommended as part of assembly, and mechanical expertise is necessary to build these block presses. (Be sure to read the Windward Sustainable Community Blog Building the Rammed Earth Brick Machine from Charmaine Taylor's plan set.)
The Cinva Ram Plan Set contains 30+ printed pages, including 11 detailed pages of plans on heavy cardstock.The plans are sold "as is," with dimensions shown in millimeters, not inches. You will need a CAD or other program if you want to convert millimeters to inches. No lengthy assembly description is given. But there is enough obsevable data from others who have built these manual rams to guide you.
Also included in the package is the Adobe & Cinva Ram Resource Guide on CD with approximately 3,500+ pages of earth construction related information, plus FULL BOOKS on CEB block press use, brick making, resources, links, and PDF articles on all aspects of natural and alternative construction. This CD includes information and articles about making and building with adobes and earth blocks. Some materials are from the 1930s and 40s, including photos of a compressed earth block ram and its operation to make soil blocks. Information describes soil testing, mixing, additives, curing, plus adobe construction codes, and building with soil blocks.
Here is a sample of the documents included on the Adobe & Cinva Resource CD:
Compressed Earth Block (Mardini)
Compressed Earth Block (Hydraform)
Compressed Earth Block (Balram)
Earth Block Technology For The World
VITA-CINVA-Ram Block Press
Understanding Stabilized Earth Block Construction using the Cinva Ram
This Brickmaking Machine Makes Nothing But Money
The compressed earth block-Basin 1991
SUPPLEMENT 5-PRESSED EARTH BLOCKS
Stabilizers and Mortars for CEBs
Stabilized Earth Construction
SPORE-1996-Earth fights back
Soils for Rammed Earth, Caliche Block
Soil Preparation Equipment
AECT BLOCK PRESS
Aureka Earth Brick Presses
Compressed Earth Blocks-Wayne nelson
Compressed Earth Block (CEB) Machines
CEB Vol 2 BOOK.pdf -A COMPLETE BOOK
CEB Vol 1 BOOK.pdf -A COMPLETE BOOK
CEB vs. Adobe blocks
Building materials- earth fights back PDF
BASIN 1991-The compressed earth block PDF
Making Building Blocks withCinvaRam-VITA
NM Code-earth-adobe PDF
Manual Minke PDF - 52 PAGE BOOKLET
The Cinva Ram Planset came in a portfolio that included the plans, CD, and related literature. Unfortunately, this product is no longer available.