Sunday, May 24, 2020

guest post-article 1 of 2 today

GUEST POST-article 1 of 2 today

It took a while,  but I finally finished my lower reciever completely off grid.

For anyone else considering doing it, let me fill you in on my mistakes. 
I started with 150 watt solar panel system and one 24DC1 deep cycle battery and a 2000 watt inverter. It probably would have worked except my connections turned out not to be the best. I found and corrected the faulty connections and added another battery while I was waiting for my second end mill bit. 

Yes, my second one. For those following behind me, let me tell ya, don't get greedy. 80 Percent says you can do one in twenty minutes. Screw that, take three days and do it right, those bits are fifty bucks each. The deeper you go, the shallower the cut you make. They really don't make that very clear in the instructions, so I am trying to make it crystal clear here.

One thing they say is don't use a cordless drill, but my experience says if it is 18v or higher,  go for it. I used automatic transmission fluid to make all my cuts and it seemed to work well, I also don't own a vise so I just set the jig on my porch and held it with my feet. As long as you make very sure you are in the starter hole, there isn't any weird jumping around problems,  but I did have to stop and take a break every so often to relieve the cramps. 

Would I do it again knowing what I do now? I  honestly don't know, I definitely would look at the poured kits a little harder to be sure, but in the end I got to upgrade my power system and got a billet lower to boot. Altogether I am happy,  and since I bought two in case I screwed the first one up, I may as well go ahead and mill it.

 Next up, my version of a B pod. I have a log version of one, but it stays so damp I can barely use it,  so I need to think the next one through a little better, probably going with sandbags this time.



  1. You definitely have the right idea. Why all neighborhoods were not planned out as earth sheltered, with earth tube heating/cooling, and Victory gardens (as opposed to useless yuppie landscaping) from day one, is beyond me ( And no, I’m not an Eco-fag. Just practical :D )

    But for the long term, you might consider earth bags, as opposed to sand bags. The sand bags will eventually decompose, and then you will just have; well, sand. With earth bags, the composition is such, that even if the bags deteriorated, you still have the equivalent of bricks, still in place. You still need to cover the outer perimeter with plastic sheeting though, or you will still have moisture problems.

    1. Hey Wrenchr! - I'd extend plastic sheet out 10-12 ft instead of 3. It's cheap and it's important to keep earth dry quite a way out to maintain a good dry thermal mass around the pod. Wet earth transfers heat really well (about like water) and sucks heat away from the living space rapidly when its cold outside. Dry earth transfers heat very slowly.

    2. If you take a long look at Vitruvius's book, The Ten Rules of Architecture, you'll find that very few cities or subdivisions are laid out properly and are all in a constant state of decline requiring vast amount of resources to keep them functioning. Granted, times are diff now than thousands of years ago, but the basic idea Vitruvius writes about remain true because at their center the rules were developed over thousands of years for the longevity of the people that live there.

    3. I think a lot of our newer areas were built explicitly to waste those resources. A civilized version of war spending.

    4. Yes, I notice flooding problems with adjacent properties begin when new developments are built nearby. In the city, each lot is supposed to develop water retention / detention areas, but out in the sticks, make it some other mofo's problem.

    5. Remember the old jokes about women and Asian drivers? Well, never give a Mexican a dozer with back hoe. Perhaps its their desert home, but they seem to instinctively cause flooding and erosion problems as they sling around dirt. Amazing, they are born with this skill set.

  2. CALEARTH (Hesperia California) has information on this type of construction. Nadir Khalili was an architect using this form of architecture.

    Makes a lot of sense to me and a dome is far easier to conceal then a home with straight edges. Inserting some glass block units in lieu of a sandbag here and there would provide natural light.