Building the dream

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Getting Started



The Startup

I will be residing onsite during the construction of our home. Since it is only I and my brother inlaw to start, we will setup an encampment that will suffice until we have our workshop structure in a livable state. To get us going, we will make use of a couple canopies we have, along with my favorite import… a rubbermaid brand plastic garden shed. The kind that is composed of several panels and assembles in an hour or so, but provides a solid floor and a reasonably dry space. For power, we have two generators that came over with us from the USA. This should work well for us as all of my tools are 110vac. I view this effort as an extended camping trip and that I am prepared for with all the enhancements to the great outdoors that may be needed. We will setup a cooking station and have minimal food and beverage storage as our supply train (asawa) will be arriving daily. To ease the grunt work aspect a bit and as the lionshare of our initial effort will be to excavate into the limestone slope, we have two jackhammers, several wheelbarrows and way more of everything in between.


While generators will be our workhorses until a temporary utility installation exists, we will also prioritize the setup of our renewable energy generation system. We have shipped over a small solar generation capacity along with a sizable wind generation unit along with all the associated componentry to complete the installation of both. All we will be buying local will be the battery storage capacity. (This renewable energy effort is a test bed of sorts for us and will serve to collect data that we will use in determining expansion of this initial capacity, as a power source for our home)

Home grown tools

Since we will be mining a sizable volume of aggregate onsite, I have designed a screen/shaker unit, similar to that which is used in commercial quarry operations, however, constructed of localized materials more inline with my home scaled operation. This will likely be our first build project as we get setup and running. In the long term, as we are on a slope, there will be an ongoing excavation for nearly everything we do on this lot, therefore, the segregation of this aggregate into usable size classifications will prove to be useful throughout the project, be it pathway aggregate at 3/8" minus or dust for use in rendering. We will make extensive use of larges in terrace retaining wall and drainage ditch construction. A simple electric motor with an eccentric balanced shaft will provide the vibratory motion, while the multi-level screening cells will pivot on the exit end and the input end will rest upon a set of junk car springs to provide for the required compliance in the design. To provide flexibility in function based upon the loading of the unit, a speed controlled electric motor will be incorporated.

Capital investments

We have sourced and will be taking delivery on a hollow block machine. We are using 6" block throughout the design and will begin production of blocks at the earliest stages of construction to build up a reserve. Our plan is to source Dolomite aggregate from the Sibonga region as a primary component of this manufacturing process. The crystalline structure of Dolomite provides a much stronger end product and affords the use of a mix that reduces the amount of cement required to achieve that added strength. The cost of Dolomite vs the savings of cement material is a negligible net gain… but for us, the strength and the fact that the product will turn out a consistent bleach white color is what we are after. In addition to the hollow block, we will make our own pavers and other finished stone materials onsite. I have shipped over volumes of stone veneer forms, tile forms, block forms and paver forms in the hopes that this will not only save us php in the long run, but also provide us with a consistent product over the long term.

Manufacturing approaches

A rebar bending station will be constructed as our project will make use of re-inforced concrete construction throughout. This station has been designed to take maximize the efficiency of my design, as it pertains to the forming and prepping of rebar components. Since this is a very detailed design, I made use of several very basic rebar shapes throughout the entire project, This will provide us the ability to work ahead of the construction effort (rainy day work) and to prepare rebar components in volume, and with consistency, without frequent and time consuming setup changes. The station is simple… it is similar to a tool board in that there are numbered pin locations for various bends and the bending tool is integrated into the design. All component bends have been designed such that when formed in the correct sequence, these are quite simple and fast to manufacture. Again though, as with most all of my efforts here, foolproofing the plan has been paramount. The project needs consistent quality and must reduce potential waste. Therefore, developing manufacturing toolsd, manufacturing instructions and plans…. Well, gets me headed in the right direction… getting workers to learn my tools and systems will be my most formidable challenge… this I know. In the end, these tools may be what makes it possible for fewer workers to achieve the desired results. Only time will tell and I have that, in abundance.

Composting and planting

As one of our eventual intents for this property is to restore a crop producing aspect, the soil requires a lot of amendment. Another stated mission, for us, is to "re-forest" the plot into manicured gardens, paths and walkways with an emphasis on balanced and sustainable growth plantings. (ie: coconut trees that can provide crop potential as well as bamboo stands that will support an endless array of projects)

From the very start, we will build and operate a composting station complete with a shredder, to ensure positive results from even the undesireable plant life we remove along the way. Additionally, as we have prepared for our project, we have propagated a nursery of sorts in our current home yard area. We have 100 plus coconut tree seedlings, cost: less than 10 usd. Starting them a year ago, we are looking at meter tall seedlings today. Literally hundreds of other flowers and plants in every size and shape container you could imagine are ready and awaiting their journey up the mountain.


I have made great use of my time back in the USA as we prep for this project. I found a resource here that I had never before tapped… HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS. Not by design [ really :hystery: ] but we happened to select an apartment for our stay that is very close to a HFT store…. OMG, where have you been all my life HFT??

Among the many deals we got, and more on topic, we got several large and powerful LED floodlights complete with solar charging cell and I gotta say… these things are bright. They are also equipped with motion detectors and being self contained, will be handy to mount around our work sight while we are still building the perimeter. Additionally, while planning ahead we arranged for a couple of Doberman puppies to be ready for us about the time we get to work… granted, they will not be the most menacing animals for a few months, but still a valuable asset even if only for companionship. I will go further into the security thought process for design as it's own topic down the road. Without much detail, our site is in and of itself a defensible topography, coupled with our efforts to assimilate into the bukid, we are not concerend with our personal safety beyond being dilligent and careful as you would anyplace. We have many non-lethal means of defense and deterrence should an encounter occur… all considerations in place but as with anyplace and anytime, crime can find you…. .but beyond what we have done, we do not lose sleep over it. I came VERY close to adding a solar powered electric fence system into an LBC box, but stopped short as our fence design on the perimeter will be adequate and we felt that an unobtrusive 10,000 volts around the perimeter might create enemies if they lean up against it, as opposed to the security value. For those interested though, quite cost effective solutions in that they are completely solar and generally less than 100 usd. (with like 250 ft of wire)


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