The Ultimate Plaster Making Machine

Written by Andrew Morrison

Man and plaster machineDun, dun dun…… Can you feel the excitement? I just got back from working on a project in Portugal and the plaster machine was one of the coolest I’ve seen. This monster mixed up to 1 1/2 bags of lime plaster at a time (35 kg bags). The capacity was not what made the machine exciting as some of the mortar mixers I use here in the States will mix twice that capacity at once. What was cool was everything that the machine was able to accomplish. Here’s a run down.

Andrew Morrison adding sand to plaster machine via sand sled

The machine should be placed directly behind the pile of sand. The reason is clear: why carry sand when you can use an automatic, winched sled?! That’s right, this baby comes with a remote controlled sand sled that places the sand directly into the holding barrel. That brings us to the next cool part of the machine, the holding barrel. This section of the machine allows you to pre place all of your materials, even water if you choose although I think it’s better not to put the water in at this time, into a holding tank of sorts. That way, when you are ready to mix your next batch you simply empty the mixing barrel of the machine and add the next batch, already pre measured and ready to go.

man with plaster machine What’s also cool is that this holding barrel is hydraulically lifted, so there’s no strain to your back. You simply hit a switch and the hold thing lifts up and dumps the material into the mixing barrel. Add your water and you’re off. While the plaster is mixing, you can get the next batch pre measured and into the holding barrel. This is especially useful when using a material like Natural Hydraulic Lime because that material has to actively mix for 20 minutes. While it’s mixing, you prepare the next load. It’s a great use of time. Otherwise, a 20 minute mix takes 30 minutes start to finish. This way, it’s 20 minutes on the nose.

Worker observing plaster arriving through pipes on to a platformAnother aspect of working with plaster is moving it from the machine to where you need it. Most machines require a wheel barrow, a string back, a well inflated tire, and some relatively good balance. This is usually not a problem (save the well inflated wheel barrow tire), but it is work. This machine would simply pump the mix from the mixing drum directly to where you need it. In fact, it can pump the material up to 10 stories up! Most of us won’t need that, but it does help to send the mud up a steep driveway or hill where a wheel barrow might end up costing you hundreds in chiropractic repairs.

So now we have mixed our plaster, placed it within inches of where it will be used, and the only thing we have had to lift is a bag and half of lime at 35kg each. Not bad. So how about applying it, any savings there? Of course. The machine uses the same compressed air that drives the mix up the hill to run a plaster spraying gun. This speeds application and does a great job of both leveling the wall on the first shot and penetrating the straw.

Andrew Morrison and friends applying plaster to straw bale wallsThe down side to this machine? It costs about $8,000. If you can find one to rent or borrow, go for it. Otherwise, just think about how cool it is and marvel at what we have been able to build as humans! 🙂

If you’re interested in really learning how to build with bales and you want to have perhaps one of the best weeks of your life in the process, then come to one of our workshops. We ALWAYS have a good time and you will gain the confidence to build your own house too. CLICK HERE to see what workshop locations and dates we have available this year!

13 Responses

  1. Seems like even at $8000 it would often be worth it if you can’t rent one – all that stuff is a lot of work saved (what does just a plaster-sprayer cost? That’s probably the biggest man-hour saving aspect), and it’s not truly an $8000 cost because you could sell it used afterwards (and maybe you could even buy one used – buying and selling used is often like renting something for free!)

  2. That plaster machine should be available in each province and state available for rent
    Maybe the equipment rental people here would be interested!

  3. Hi Andrew,

    This is exactly the kind of machine I am look to hire for my build in the coming weeks here in the uk.

    Do you have any details of the machine, make/model etc? Or could you forward an email address of the people who’s build you were working on?



  4. Juat wondering what do I ask for at the rental supply store besides “The Ultimate Plaster Machine” ? Any brand name? Any model number? Other ID?
    Thanks for keeping us all informed.

  5. Looks like a sweet machine, I would like to see a little more detail of it and get some specs. on it. I like to us my hands on building things. As an Aircraft Mechanic I like machines that multitask. Please if you can send some more info. of that Machine that you can. Thank You Very Much Kelly Keith

  6. was anyone ever able to determine which Turbosol model this is ? Looks like they have very extensive range of machines. The Mini Avant perhaps ?

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