Interesting article, thank you.
Very similar to some of the robotics I’ve worked on and designed.
It seems the brick laying trade might be up for an adjustment…
Very cool, Roy…thanks.
Now if we can just get the mortar to cure fast enough to allow the bricks to be laid in multiple courses at that speed, the thing might actually prove valuable.
They’re using glue is what I got from it. So, multiple course speed is not an issue.
Not a chance of this ever working. Impossible for many reasons.
Since homes are built with veneer does the robot also place the tiebacks and the flashing ?
EVER is a long time…but what are you thinking, Nick?
I’m a mason, in particular, a block layer. There is way more to it than putting blocks in the right place.
Agreed.Robots are limited to repetitive tasks and variables occur in the physical world that are too complex to program without intimate knowledge of the task based on experience.
Could you be more specifc?
fun to watch but…
Well, right off the bat, it’s not going to save any time. Come to one of my block jobs and watch the action and you’ll note that the actual act of setting a block in place… is a very small part of the job.
This is pure guesswork based upon the limited information in the photos and my own experience from foundation wall inspections so here goes my theory.
The block wall has settled either side of the window. This provides and outward rotational movement which has created the stair-step crack running from the centre outward and down. As the support for the blocks at the top, either side of the window has been eroded, the block have come under pressure from the loads of the outer wall (framing) With no attachment to the block wall below (falling away) they have tipped as the sill plate of the framing is resting on the out part of the block.
Without closer and further inspection this is pure hypothesis, but is founded in physics.
Having said all that, the cracks are sufficient large, with visible indications of settlement going on elsewhere, that I would even bother to conjecture as part of an inspection and just declare the movement, in my opinion, serious an unusual enough to refer a foundation wall specialist or even a structural engineer.
While it is great to learn what is going on, a home inspection is based upon visible findings and recommendations to you client towards next steps. It’s not up to you to hypothesize on the cause of a defect when the skills required to make that call are outside of your command.
The cracks could just have easily been caused by frame spreading (check the wall outside for plumb) mechanical damage, (check the outside for recent external waterproofing) or any of the above guesses based upon past expedience and your photos.
I laid block.
I was not fast and it is heavy work.
First the corners are laid out x block high.
Typically 5 high, 5 wide on each side. But it is up to how many men are on a line and how wide the wall is.
Fire wall mostly.
A string line is use to fill between the blocked corners/ends.
The mortar can not sit long in the air for it will stiffen thumb tight quickly.
The mortar requires enough water not to sump and if the mortar is to tight water in the mortar will not wick into the block being laid.
Butt mortar is the same thing.
Also it does not handle well on a trowel.
I used Richardson mason trowels and had several thickness and shapes.
Once the block line is long enough, usually 5, the mason taps settles the block to the level string line about 3/8" proud in front of the course blocks being laid.
Masons wood string blocks
These string blocks are placed on the corner to hold a colored string, usually white, level to insure the masons can follow a artificial horizon.
Some crew lines I worked the lead mason leveled every course and everyone followed suite. Others lines I worked every second course was leveled with a 4’ masons level on both sides of the block. The lead and rear edges.
Nick, you every try laying out block?
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Many times. So how do you get the corners to be level with each other, and square to each other? Those are the tough parts and I invented a system that makes them perfect every time.
You making me think again…been some time…
All self taught.
I would layout corners off the framing with a 1x3 and plumb bob.
Used wood off the framing to reference vertical and lateral lines.
As you know, fill in the ends is the name of the game.
The layout is what takes time.
Tight mortar for the starter courses.
How many slabs or brick ledges are level? Ha ha ha
Usually is by up to ><1" corner to corner on homes.
Start the best first course line you can and play you courses.
Not hard to add 1/8"
Blocks was not to my liking. No patterns and all one color.
Friggen boring unless you like lifting wights all day.
I liked laying brick at the end and had done my share of chimney’s free hand with a torpid level.
Give that a try.
Gees when I came to NACHI I got heck for using the correct masonry terminology.
Like the term, “Chimney crown.”
I will never forget that.
Love to work a line with you while listening to all the background noise again.
Been some time.
First square then level.
Square: 3,4,5 rule for square if you have no reference.
1: How do you get the corners square:Used wood off the framing to reference vertical and lateral lines.
2: How do you get the corners square blocks level: 24" Cast-Aluminum double vial masons level for level. A cast aluminum torpid level when I was comfortable.
I just gave away about $7,000 in masonry tools to someone I had known sense 1984. All in near new new condition. That includes 8 & 10 gauge extension cords. 300 feet. Generator, 14" gas saws-all. Electric 12" miter/ quick cut saws-all. 8 types of irons. etc…etc…etc…
Nick, like everything in life, you get comfortable with practice.
Settling the block with hand compression in a good batch of mortar brings you close. Dam close with practice.
Always had water beside me to keep the mortar on my table to the consistency I liked.
I even had Ivory dish soap on hand for laying brick on lines.
Ask an old mason about that trick/tip for keeping your mortar slippery and not to dry out on hot days or slippery on clod days
Get back to me with an answer.