Introducing an exciting new way of joining ecobricks

Tube banding!

Simple, zero cost, practical and awesome!

For the last five years, we’ve been trying to figure out a reliable, sturdy technique for connecting ecobricks without the need to buy anything— to rely on nothing but used, local, and globally abundant materials. And finally – a breakthrough!*

 

Breakthrough ecobrick module connection innovation

Ecobrick tire banding is a simple technique for joining ecobricks together to build modules and more.  Tire banding requires no purchases and no new materials.  The technique re-purposes typically un-recyclable used motorcycle inner tubes to join ecobricks in a way that can be later undone — keeping with the core cradle to cradle principle of ecobricking.

The trouble with using silicone to bind ecobricks

Ecobricks are themselves made with nothing but used, local, and globally abundant material. This is what makes them so viral as a fundamentally non-capital technology. Alas, we’ve had to rely on silicone for the making of modules. This isn’t so bad– silicone is non-petroleum, non-toxic and easy and cheap to find just about anywhere.

But, it’s not perfect.

Visiting the remote community of Kampung Laut in Central Java reminded us of this. This community was hard pressed to put their ecobricks to use because of the cost and difficulty to source silicone. The situation called for a innovative solution!

Using the rubber from inner tubes to wrap and bind ecobricks together isn’t new. Folks have been doing that for years. The trouble is that no matter how tight you wrap up the ecobricks with the rubber, no matter how tight you tie them, you just can’t get the module tight enough to be 100% sturdy.

Tutorial

Click to enlargeInstead of cutting the tires into long strips, cut the tube into rings.

Instead of cutting the tires into long strips, cut the tube into rings.

Use these rings to bond two 600ml bottles together with two rings, on the top and bottom.

Connect a third bottle, top and bottom (four rings), to the first two.

The resulting bonds are not just super tight, but the rubber in between each bottle stops any sliding!

You can then move on and connect 12 ecobricks in this way to make a triangle module. 

The idea/technique is so simple. It is pretty crazy that it took five years to get to it. Alas, that’s the thing with breakthroughs that simplify (rather than sophisticate). They seem straightforward and easy, yet they are the hardest, the rarest, the most ephemeral and sublime of innovative arrivals!

Be sure to ecobrick any excess clippings from your snipping of inner tubes.

 

 

The possibilities are endless


One can connect ecobricks in this way to create modules of any size, flexible boards and solid planks!

One should be able to use either bicycle, motor bike or car inner tubes to connect bottles of different sizes.

Comparison between silicone and tire band connecting on key principles

Silicone sealant:

Locally Available: 9/10 (you can buy silicone almost everywhere)
Globally Consistent:  9/10  (it is the same everywhere)
Non-Industrial source:  0/10  (it is manufactured)
Non-Capital:  5/10  (inexpensive)
Cradle-to-cradle (reusable):  0/10
Non-Toxic:   8/10
Aesthetic: 9/10
Waste in application:  5/10 (left over tube)
 

Rubber tire rings:

Locally Available: 10/10 (Tubes are everywhere!)
Globally Consistent:  10/10  Every
Non-Industrial source:  10/10 (upcycled)
Non-Capital:  10/10  (free, abundant)
Cradle-to-cradle (reusable):  9/10  (rings are reusable)
Non-Toxic:   9/10
Aesthetic:  6/10
Waste in application:  9.5/10  (and left over clippings can be ecobricked)

 

 

 

 

* The tirebanding technique was developed by the principle architect of ecobricks.org, Russell Maier, in collaboration with ecobricker friends in Kebonmanis in Cilacap Central Java.

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Tire banding has the potential to revolutionize ecobrick and bottle building applications, and further ignite ecobricking around the world.

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For a comprehensive introduction to the the theory and techniques of bottle building, download our free, open source construction guide.

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