(Suggested by Paul Thomas: He’s interested in importing to CR. Reported cost is $50,000.)
A world leader in masonry construction and the manufacture of hydraulic block machines, Hydraform specializes in using soil cement Compressed Earth Block (CEB) technology to produce interlocking dry stacked Soil Cement Blocks (SCBs). Found in over 50 countries worldwide and headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Village Scale Technology: CETA RAM Block Press
The CETA-RAM is a manually operated block press, developed by the author just after the February 1976 Guatemalan Earthquake, specifically for the production of hollow soil-cement building blocks. The hollow blocks are intended for use in reinforced masonry for low cost earthquake resistant housing. … [It] is a compact and lightweight machine, mechanically simple, low in cost, and easily operated and maintained. Nevertheless, it is capable of molding at high pressure, dense and neatly finished blocks of high structural quality, at the rate of 300 to 500 units per eight hour shift, when operated by two persons.
The dimensions of the CETA-RAM block are 32.3 x 15.7 x 11.5 cm. Two 6 cm diameter holes run through its full thickness. The holes simplify the placement of vertical reinforcement in earthquake resistant wall constructions: the steel reinforcing rods running through the holes in the laid blocks, at the required spacing, are set in cement mortar or grout. The length of three blocks, included the respective joints, add exactly one meter. CETA-RAM Construction Manual, complete detailed plans to build your own.
…is a Colombian company that makes a variety of products including block presses, rock crusher, screen, mixer, conveyor, etc. Price for a manually operated double block press with hopper and dispenser, capable of making 2800 blocks in an 8-hour shift is $2,600, FOB Medellin. Molds for different blocks (e.g. with holes for rebar & grout, bumps & dimples for ‘lego-block’ mortarless stacking, etc.) cost about $100-125 each. Cost for an automated diesel engine powered press capable of 5,000 blocks per 10 hr shift is $21,500.
Edited 2/8/2013 to add link to Dwell Earth – yet another CEB source