Monday, May 5, 2008

[papercreters] Re: Pulp production

I just picked up the post as I'm not consistently on the Internet and
reading once every few days.

My question is for Spaceman. Since you mention bamboo, and because
I've had a chance to look at some video of the tow mixer in action,
I'm wondering if you do anything different to create pulp from your
source paper materials.

After some reading on the subject in pulp-and-paper areas, I've
learned a bit about the clay coat and varnishes used in a lot of
gloss paper doesn't break down quite the same as with newsprint,
while the fibres in such paper are longer because the paper is first
run (meaning that it often hasn't been recycled into lesser grade
paper with the resulting shorter and shorter fibres).

From what I've seen on, and other more technically-
minded sites, breaking the paper down to a pulp doesn't appear,
really, to be accomplished by using a tow mixer alone with raw and
dry paper materials.

Spaceman, when you pulped your paper, did you first select the paper
material? I'm also very interested to know whether you pre-soaked it
or put it though a simple chemical/heat-treatment to break it up into

And I guess the last question is whether it is worth "pulping" the
paper down to that level in the first place and what qualities it
imparts in the papercrete that differentiate it from the rough pulp
used in a quick mix.

-- tim

--- In, "ElfNori" <elf@...> wrote:
> Thanks Spaceman! That rocks! <HUGE grin>
> So the challenge is to find a material you can line the plywood
with that will hold the papercrete in place and allow the water to
drain out quickly . . . Mesh held in place by one of those draining
floor mats maybe . . . The plywood will hold the mesh from bulging
and the draining mat will allow the water to pour out
unrestricted . . . Maybe concrete lath would do the same job . . . ?
The mesh will keep the papercrete from integrating into the mat or
> ElfN
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Spaceman
> ElfNori wrote:
> Most excellent!
> Question . . . why did you use plywood on one side? Why not
mesh on both? Or something pourous on both?
> Because! It just evolved that way, sorta. The dome was already in
place with a 4' gap below it, supported by a ring of bus seats. The
mesh was wired on the inside, and the plywood was easier than
fabricating a support frame for outside mesh. The mesh side was not
very smooth, with the mesh just wired into place around the edges. It
sagged and bulged so the wall is way thicker than 14" in places. The
plywood side was a sort of slip form, a 4x4 plywood wired into place
and then braced with pipes staked into the ground. This gave a smooth
outside and a "sculptured" inside surface. This was only for the
Molly (ringwall), the top portion of the dome will be slip formed
against the papercrete panels that are already there.
> If/when I do it again, I'll go ahead and fabricate frames covered
with mesh as a two sided slip form.
> 2nd question . . . how much did it shrink and in which
direction? Do you have pictures?
> I didn't measure the shrinkage, but of course there was some in
all directions. I posted a picture at the time, and a flash slideshow at The flash slideshow is in 3D Anaglyph format,
so you need red/cyan glasses to see it properly. The blue tubes
sticking through the plywood are part of the solar hydronic heating
system that is embedded in the 2" concrete slab that floats on 10" of
> 3rd question . . . did you pre-drain the mix before you
bucketed it into your form?
> No, wet mix right out of the no-tow mixer. I used various trash
including some bamboo, along with mostly newspapers. The bamboo
didn't pulp but sure added lots of long fiber reinforcement.


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