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Grain Bin House ?

dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
Hello all, i am building a grain bin house. I thought I pop by see if anyone has done this? I think i have everything figured out but just looking for anyones input. I found this site while looking into rocket stoves, thinking of installing one. I cant find a newbie forum anywhere so I picked this one? Thanks Murf! I have pics and videos I could share if interested?


"to Tinker or not to tinker, that is the question!"
If you build it better than the one profiting from it, don’t tell them, they'll get pissed! "I challenge anyone to challenge me" ... Murf! "I am responsible for the comment in this comment section"
dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
I forgot this Video link shows how far I got in August. I have all the rings up now!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWd4U5U7gf8
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3853
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  54
Great use of a used structure. I'm a demolition guy, so just a few questions about the process.

Had this structure become obsolete for the original use ?

How many man hours do you think went into the dismantling --- and how many to get it up again, just the shell leaving aside finishing components to make it into a home?

How many machine hours for bobcat and crane ? --- What did that cost ?

Do a lot of these come available in your area ?

I'm sure we'll pepper you with quite a few more questions before you're done. But just think of it as an opertunity to brag a little. This is a bragging rights project if I've ever seen one. Unique, frugal, re-cycled and super durable.

There's another guy on YouTube with a video called, "How to build a grain bin in one minute." That seem unreasonably fast.

I've been searching out silos and other farm structures. With consolidation, particularly with dairy here, and with gentrification near the city, I expect to see quite a bit of stuff like this available for little or nothing. If I get one I will be checking on your progress quite a bit.

Drop in some of your photos. With thousands of us looking at them we're bound to think of new possibilities based on what we see. You know,the whole 1000 words thing.


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6498
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
Nice project. Well done.
dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
John Polk wrote:Nice project. Well done.

Thanks John

Dales answer

The pig farmers had not been growing corn there for a few years, there was about 3ft of rotten corn left in the grain bin when we bought it.

I cut into the land with my little bob cat for a day, realized it waz not going to cut it when Into the hard pack under ground. I hired a guy around the corner ($500) that worked with my cement guy, they finished the dig.

It took 3 expectance guys 3.5 days to take down, it took 2 months to get the grain bin back up. Mostly because of the erection had to be done on a poured wall. what a bitch!! Unlike the normal flat pad they are made to sit on. I had a lot of help with friends in the beginning... not so must later in the build.. but VERY thankful for the help I received!

I did the roof and 5 rings with help, we would average one ring a weekend.




[Thumbnail for house pic 1 .jpg]

dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
dan murf wrote:
John Polk wrote:Nice project. Well done.

Thanks John



[Thumbnail for House 1.jpg]

dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
dan murf wrote:
dan murf wrote:
John Polk wrote:Nice project. Well done.

Thanks John




This is what I am going for, actual trace picture I did.


[Thumbnail for 2012-01-09_19-31-51_620.jpg]

dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side

Thanks Dale

I answered you on the other reply.
keep sending wrong pics and got you confused with John on here...



[Thumbnail for 2011-07-30_17-27-26_778.jpg]

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3853
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  54
Am I correct in assuming that the height of the concrete wall made it impossible to find the right jacks that are made for slab mounted buildings ? Did you ever consider using a scizzor lift or buying an old crane ? Old Hi-Ab trucks are often available for $5000 or so and would be worth just as much at the end of the build.

There is a spray on cellulose product that might work to insulate. What do you have in mind for that ? Will a wooden interior stud wall be built around the peremiter ?
dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
Dale Hodgins wrote:Am I correct in assuming that the height of the concrete wall made it impossible to find the right jacks that are made for slab mounted buildings ? Did you ever consider using a scizzor lift or buying an old crane ? Old Hi-Ab trucks are often available for $5000 or so and would be worth just as much at the end of the build.

There is a spray on cellulose product that might work to insulate. What do you have in mind for that ? Will a wooden interior stud wall be built around the peremiter ?


Yes the poured walls made it very dangerous! I will attach some more picks. Maybe a more experienced installer would have been fine with it but I sure waz not. after i got 5 rings up with Jacks, I had to crane pick it from the upper level and over the septic. We waz about 40ft off center. Apox weight waz 15,000lbs. Boomed up the full 100ft. I also have pics of this.

I picked up some massive I beams from the scrap yard. They will make the full span in the middle, mounted on 6” square tube legs. The floor joist will span from I beam to metal bracket hangers welded on the steel walls & have the studded walls under them to support them as well.
I plane on studing the inside walls 1 inch off the metal walls. This way I can get the thermo barrier between. I am going to use a closed cell spay foam. Only on the basement level. It will help being a moisture barrier. The main floor & upper level will be open cellulose spray foam.



[Thumbnail for Stands out side.jpg]

dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
This was starting the lift, but the wind picked up and we had to wait for it to die down... of course crane is charging by the hour$$$$$

On the third pic you can see the one jack stand in the door way!


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[Thumbnail for setting crane.jpg]

[Thumbnail for Setting Crane 2.jpg]

Mariah Wallener


Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Posts: 144
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
Very cool to see this. First heard about it in a Mother Earth News issue, last year I believe. I'm sure the article is on their website. Love the drawing!


Permie Newbie. ruralaspirations.wordpress.com
dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
Thanks. Yea I read about it in mother earth. As luck would have it, it was perfect timing. I was getting married and we were planning a new house. I actually had an idea of building an earth ship, but that was harder sale to talk the wife in to lol. I searched craigslist And found the grain bin for sale.. no regrets yet,
Kari Gunnlaugsson
volunteer

Joined: Jun 22, 2011
Posts: 308
    
    8
Nice project. I have some questions...

Have you sorted out the details of framing your windows and door openings yet? Welding up the frames and bolting them in? How are you cutting the openings?

I've been thinking of a single story version. I was going to skip the basement and set it on an insulated earthbag foundation. I have a source of clean recycled polystyrene for insulation which i was going to stack around the exterior in bags, earthbag style..tied to the metal wall and plastered over, so it would look like an earthbag building. It would be earth bermed substantially on it's north face. The plan was for a different roof with bigger eaves anyway, so the plaster would be protected. I thought the inside of the ring could be covered with a layer of cob and plaster. Then I worried about moisture migrating through the interior of the cob and degrading the bin wall...any thoughts?

(the polystyrene 'earth bags' couldn't be structural which is why I wanted to use some grain bin rings in the wall...it's too cold where i live for just earthbag and scoria is expensive) You're spray foam solution is a lot simpler and less work...maybe i could be won over to the aesthetics, it wasn't what i wanted to start out....

You are going to frame in a light ceiling and insulate above it?

When I was a kid on the farm I helped build a bunch of these. I remember we used to rent a sort of 'crane'..it just towed behind the truck and had a big hand winch. The bins were smaller than yours but it might be an option for someone else, as you just need a straight vertical lift not a full crane. I bet the places that sell them new still rent them.

dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote:Nice project. I have some questions...


On the windows and doors, what I’m getting ready to do soon is, Frame welding 2”x2” 3/16 L channels around the openings, I have a roll bender at work so I can make the horizontal 18’ radius pieces easily enough. Then barrow works plasma cutter to cut the openings in. Then I’m thinkin of lag/bolt wood frames to channel & attach windows to the wooden frames. For the outside, I will need a good sheet metal guy to fab the radius horizontal drip edges that will cover from the window seals to the curved metal siding. The windows will be vertically flush mounted to the exterior walls windows. (meaning the middle of doors and windows will be recess a bit?) I am working on this currently with my architect that I "had" to pay the big $$$$ to, This is considered faze 2, see I have to get all drawings’ approved by the township first. But thankfully they are working with me & we are following as many metal building codes as possible!

As for an earth bag foundation? I am “Know ex-spert” (well, we all were at the start.. sorry if you don’t get my off humor, one of my fav comments when I am around so called experts in my travels, as a part time consultant) , but I would say no, maybe look into the packing the recycled tires, but “sand” I’m think in any form would not make a firm enough foundation for supporting a grain bin or any kind of weight other than a roof? see the top rings of a grain bin can’t support much, the bottom rings are much thicker & need the complete circle for its sturdiness. If you buy a big enough (tall) grain bin just use the bottom rings, but dont cut out complete rings for doors or windows or you will ose your ridegness, then it might work? With a poured cement foundation, then you can cover outside & or inside walls with earth bags, I thought about this in my initial plans but because of the height I knew it waz not feasible for me.

Kari Gunnlaugsson
volunteer

Joined: Jun 22, 2011
Posts: 308
    
    8

Sorry i should have clarified..the scoria earthbag foundation would be set in a rubble trench, and would have a concrete bond beam poured on top to tie it together and to bolt the rings down to...there would be a thermal bridge at the bond beam so i was thinking of bringing the exterior insulation bags down to cover this.

You are lucky to have access to all the metalworking tools...i think i would find weather tight and structurally sound window and door detailing difficult with the radius to deal with.

There are pictures of one online where the windows are set under little shed roofs, sort of like a small bay window...it looked easier to flash and seal up. Of course if i went ahead with the big eave roof and exterior insulation bag wall with plaster it gets easier to weatherproof the windows.

If the bottom ring is locked solidly into place are you able to have openings that span the height of an entire ring, or is it better to center them so you only remove portions of two consecutive rings??...that's awkward, i don't know how else to say it...You must not have five foot doorways...
dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote:
If the bottom ring is locked solidly into place are you able to have openings that span the height of an entire ring, or is it better to center them so you only remove portions of two consecutive rings??...that's awkward, i don't know how else to say it...You must not have five foot doorways...


I will take a pic for you tonight if i get home before dark? The bin has metal brackets that lag to the cement. On the basement level, remember its a 4 foot poured wall. the opening are already poured in the exposed side of the basement. I will weld the opening frame to the bin and lag the vertical pieces to the top of the cement wall.

Heres a pic a quick pic of a window frame that I plan on using. When welded to the bin wall you will be able to cut the opening out no matter where or how many rings it spans. Of course if its a real big opening you would need bigger than 2” L angle steel.

I’ll work on a good frame drawling tonight of a door way that is bottom have half cement wall and top half bin wall. K?


[Thumbnail for window frame.jpg]

dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote:
You are lucky to have access to all the metalworking tools...i think i would find weather tight and structurally sound window and door detailing difficult with the radius to deal with.


Not realy dificult, i'll show play by play when I get to that piont!

I have already found 1/2 my windows on Graigslist. A guy had intallers in while he was not home. Came home and found out he had all the wrong windows installed, they came back and reinstalled the correct ones, they could not sell the New Installed windows as New Product, they sold all of these New preinstalled windows to me for $ 100.00 smacks..


[Thumbnail for Living area windows.jpg]

[Thumbnail for Kitchen windows.jpg]

Kari Gunnlaugsson
volunteer

Joined: Jun 22, 2011
Posts: 308
    
    8
Don't go to too much trouble, I think I'm understanding what you're doing. That door to the upper deck will probably span a ring. Welded frame, horizontal members bent to radius, weld it to the wall, then cut the opening afterwards.

I don't envy you the fumes off that galvanizing with all the welding and cutting.

I don't have mains electricity to my building site so that might be limiting...I could cut with oxy/acetylene and bolt the frames on probably, just run a big drill off a generator. Or splurge and hire a welding truck for a day. I don't think I'm a good enough welder to get decent penetration on the frame without burning away the light wall material. It's not a very long bead either, just spots where the corrugations touch the frame?
dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
Yes spot welds. Actually you'd be surprised what we are going to weld with a "pontiac fiero" (laugh out loud.) My uncle has converted the car to electric! 12 6volt batteries. Way more power Needed to DC stick weld with.... we are working on that set-up now!

Yes for sure you should not breathe the galvanizing coding. And primer all welds on both sides of the metal!
Matt Martin


Joined: Jun 12, 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Texas
I am new the this website but find a lot of these threads very interesting. I am about to embark on the trial and error method of converting a grain silo into a house. I saw this thread and got very interested when I saw the drawings of window cutouts. Will the 2" angle iron be able to support and keep the silo structurally sound? Would you do a similar cutout for the doors?
dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
Matt Martin wrote:I am new the this website but find a lot of these threads very interesting. I am about to embark on the trial and error method of converting a grain silo into a house. I saw this thread and got very interested when I saw the drawings of window cutouts. Will the 2" angle iron be able to support and keep the silo structurally sound? Would you do a similar cutout for the doors?


Yes I am currently working on the double door entry into the basemen level, the 2" seems to be supporting just fine, remember my bin is 36" in dia & 9 rings high. I wouldnt get to carried away on openings. The bigger the bin the heavier the support you should use. I am also tying in the structure with foam between the studded walls. This will greatly strenghthen it too.
Matt Martin


Joined: Jun 12, 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Texas
Do you have any pics of how you are framing up your windows or doors? The progress is slow. We had to bring in more than 300 yards of sand because we have lots of clay in our ground that shrinks and swells with the seasons. The foundation work is currently underway, but the rain that we just got and are expecting to get in the near future will definately slow progress as well. If you have any other pics that would be very helpful as well. Thanks
Kathy Porter


Joined: Aug 28, 2012
Posts: 1
We also live in Texas and are thinking of building a Grain Bin House, please keep posting info and maybe at some point we could visit your site.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3853
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  54
This interesting build needs more photos. We haven't heard from Dan in 15 months. If you know him, give him a call. Building a new house of any kind will tend to take over your life for a couple years. But then, having one ready made can take over the finances for 25 years.
 
 
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