Large Hopper Mechanism

Based on some feedback from the CEB Hopper Problem Statement in the last post, here is a conceptual solution. This solution is readily doable using techniques available to us, and requires an additional ~$400 in CEB infrastructure material costs.

We can adapt our existing rototiller to make a rapidly spinning (500 rpm?) soil pulverizer in front of our tractor loader. This pulverizer is attached to the front end loader. As the tractor moves along slowly, the loader fills with loose soil created by the pulverizer. Thus, two steps are combined into one:

This streamlines the soil preparation process. Previously, we dug piles of soil with the loader, and we then used a small, walk-behind tiller to pulverize the soil to the desired fineness. We then shoveled this soil into buckets, and loaded the CEB hopper manually. Each of these tasks took about an equivalent amount of time.

These 3 tasks are combined into one, by design – with the pulverizing loader that subsequently dumps soil into a large hopper:

This hopper has an auger at the bottom to prevent bridging.



  1. LucasG

    Pulveriser could feed a conveyor belt which could feed the hopper. That’s doable if you move the CEB machine near the dirt. Design is all about relative positions, but I’m not sure I get it right.

  2. Richard

    Yea, I think lucas is on to something. Some of the larger operations ive read about had a conveyor belt kind of deal. Having a an auger right over the machine would add a lot of weight and motion and would need a lot more structural support. If it was just a big hopper with fine dirt being loaded into it by a conveyor belt it would probably be easier to deal with. You could have a seperate deal with a hopper that you could load regular, clumpy dirt with the bucket into. THAT could have the auger (or two?) in it and could also be a place to add lime or sand. It could have a fine screen at the bottom so that clumpy stuff couldnt get through. Then at the bottom it would fall onto a conveyor belt and then that would go up into the CEB hopper.

    What was the design that they used in that one book from the 80s that described CEB from an industrial perspective?

    Also, I’d suggest building some kind of pole-barn to make brick storage easier. 2500 sq ft, A cement foundation with wood timber posts and a light metal roof (fewer trusses) with ferrocement rainwater catchment? It would serve so many purposes…

  3. Lost Chief

    Great idea your working on but will rocks damage the pulverizer? In Washington there are allot of large rocks. A conveyor thats got a 4′ or wider area to load the broken up soil up to the hopper would streamlinethings greatly.

    As far as storing the bricks many people around here will make a greenhouse out of 1″ PVC or 2×2 boards and cover it with pretty thick plastic or large tarps. It rains so much you need large areas to dry out firewood or fresh cut board wood. You can also get free oil furnaces on craigslist in my area and they are great for using to heat large areas using used cooking oil or Motor oils. Good to dry out materials or heat a large shop for cheap.

    Oh and i was wondering how hard it would be the stretch the frame of your tractor about 5 feet? That would deal with the balance issue and give you room to mount a shortbed truck box on the rear with a dump on it? Would be great for hauling a bunch of materials around your property.. Truck beds are dirt cheap along with the dump parts.

  4. Geoff

    How about considering soil mixing and preparation as a separate process to CEB making?

    Build a barrel style mixer, similar to a truck mounted cement mixer with built in augur. An opening on the side big enough to accommodate the front-end loader bucket, with suitable screens, would be used for filling it, and rather than the augur being attached to the shell of the mixer have it mobile within it. In the same way as a normal cement mixer you run it in one direction to mix, then back the other way to unload the material down a chute at the back.

    If you’re running the CEB press, you put that under the chute. If you’re mixing manures, or potting mixes, or cement, you stick something else under the chute. I realise it’s yet another device added to the already long list, but it would be one which would perhaps be useful beyond the initial construction phase of the village, as well as allowing keeping units of work more isolated in their own devices.

  5. Richard Schulte

    good call. this would make mixing in sand and lime easier, and it would have many other uses as you described. I wonder what parts the barrel could be made from, and whether this could be turned with the PTO as the hydraulics power the CEB machine, auger, and such. possibly such an operation would require two tractors.

    the only problem would be elevation for the chute. a conveyor could still solve this issue.

  6. Marcin

    The difficulty with the separation of preparation and mixing is that the above description becomes a batch process, as the machine with a small hopper will be idle during the mixing phase. Second, how is this arranged physically? It appears that a chute will be above the CEB and hopper will be above the mixer, so the loader may not be able to reach that high. If we use a conveyor, that’s another piece of machinery that must be added. If you can draw up a simple sketch for an effetive implmementation that addresses the above, please do so. Also, I’d like some hints on conveyors – that’s not such an easy device to make from scratch, because of all the rollers with bearings in them, don’t you think?

  7. Thomas

    For the conveyor, what about a screw conveyor, like a grain auger?
    The design may be simpler and there should be some used equipment out there for some of the pieces.

  8. […] This leads to the pulverizer bucket attachment for LifeTrac. This is how we will implement the CEB press soil preparation discussed in a previous post: […]

  9. Reverend Paul Ford

    Hello Owner,

    My name is Reverend Paul Ford and i would like to place an order for Dump Bucket Hopper and information specify the Dump Bucket Hopper type i need:

    Multi-Dump Bucket – 1-1/2 Cu. Yd

    Sizes are 1, 1-1/2, and 2 cu

    Cubic Yards :1 1/2
    Body Material :3/16″
    Length :66 1/4
    Width :37 1/2
    Height :40 3/4
    Overall Width : 45 7/8
    Overall Height :43 3/4
    Dump Height :36 3/8
    Approx Weight :1040
    Capacity :4,500 lbs

    I want 20 Dump Bucket Hopper , send me a grand total for the Dump Bucket Hopper excluding shipping and also let me know what method of payment you happen to accept. Thank you and i would be waiting to hear from you favorably.

    Best Regards
    Reverend Paul Ford