Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Where we're going we don't need...actually, we'd benefit from some attractive brick paving.
November 17, 2010 2:28 AM   Subscribe

Tiger Stone is a Dutch company (site is in Dutch) which is promoting a technology which allows you to "print" 300-400 meters per day (roughly a mile every four days) of attractive brick roadway.

This seems to be everywhere on the various design and urban planning blogs (all with essentially the same blurb) but I haven't seen a discussion of cost of this surface versus asphalt or concrete, or possible advantages/disadvantages of the surface.

A google translation of the bullet points on Tiger Stone's web page for fellow dutch-language-challenged folks:
What can Tiger Stone do for you?

* Better working conditions.
* Motivated and enthusiastic staff.
* High daily production: 300 m² possible.
* High quality work produced.
* The edging is made right away, so no cutting work afterwards!
* Several factors may simultaneously process. (?)
* Partially disabled employees productive again.
* Short payback.
* Simple operation.
* Low maintenance.
posted by maxwelton (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I bet the machine is really cheap, but the cartridges are outrageously expensive.
posted by chavenet at 2:37 AM on November 17, 2010 [37 favorites]


That music is telling me to kill - the bodies will be disposed of beneath the bricks.
posted by item at 2:41 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


That music is seriously creepy. I think this works much better.
posted by knave at 2:43 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


* Several factors may simultaneously process. (?)

This can be more clearly translated as:

Different elements (types of stones) can be processed simultaniously
posted by PaulZ at 2:57 AM on November 17, 2010


I bet the machine is really cheap, but the cartridges are outrageously expensive.

But Costco will carry them off-and-on for roughly the first six months after the machine is introduced. After that, you'll have to buy red clay slurry in a tanker from a sketchy site on the internet and fire your own bricks.
posted by maxwelton at 3:06 AM on November 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


It looks like the machine is essentially a moving jig for laying the (pre-cast) brick pavers on top of a previously-laid base. Excavating and laying the compacted bed of stone and sand tends to be the biggest part of the job, and it's not something this machine seems to do. Which isn't to say that there aren't other machines to help with that. It's just that this machine is only performing one of the last steps of the job, something that would normally be done on hands and knees with a rubber mallet. I'd guess that after this thing has laid the bricks, someone will need to go over it with a vibrating plate and a load of sharp sand - another job that takes a while.

The bit of the blurb that goes 'The edging is made right away' doesn't make a lot of sense. They're using pre-cast pointy bricks to fill in the edges, then laying a line of bricks along the sides. There'd be no cutting if you laid them in the traditional way either.

This type of paving holds up well as long as the sub-base is very sound. Skimp on that and patches of brick will sink or come loose. It's also more of a skilled job to dig the things up and put them back properly when you need to mend a pipe. Not ideal for a road that takes a lot of traffic.

Still, all said and done, it's a splendid way to lay bricks.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:06 AM on November 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


Bricks have been shat!
posted by Greg Nog at 4:27 AM on November 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


This would be much cooler if they had a robot feeding in the bricks.

Because everything is cooler with a robot.
posted by delmoi at 4:30 AM on November 17, 2010


As with most of modern life, Disney predicted this.
posted by Magnakai at 4:30 AM on November 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's also more of a skilled job to dig the things up and put them back properly when you need to mend a pipe.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:06 AM

Like this? (warning, more terrible music)
posted by orme at 5:13 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


In Newport, by the courthouse, for the better part of a decade, they tried to maintain a brick road surface. It was very beautiful - for around two months in early summer. Two problems: first, it was a weird grade, not at all level, or even inclined in a sensible way. Second, water seeped between the bricks and into he sand and gravel below, and froze during winter, so it would be a heaving, pot-holed mess by springtime. They still have cobblestones down on Thames St, but it's a very short stretch that's in constant need of repair... and it's not the stones that break, its the substrate.

This would work for very level places with mild winters. Outside of the Netherlands or Florida, maybe not so much.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:14 AM on November 17, 2010


orme, that was a thing of transcendent beauty
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:23 AM on November 17, 2010


Just what we need--more roads.
posted by box at 5:31 AM on November 17, 2010


Then again, I like bricks.
posted by box at 5:43 AM on November 17, 2010


Now even a 4 year old can lay tiger stone in your neighbourhood in a build it yourself style.

That's nothing - many of our county roads are actually both designed and maintained by four-year-olds. Apparently.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:52 AM on November 17, 2010


Cool machine!

Maybe this music is better ...
posted by carter at 6:06 AM on November 17, 2010


Wow, that's cool. I love the herringbone pattern of brick walkways and can imagine there are lots of places that will use this, especially when there is a narrower walkway version.

The Tiger Stone is available in four, five and six-meter (13, 16 and 20-foot) widths, and costs from €60,000 to €80,000 (US$81,485 to $108,655). There’s no doubt that a lot of home-owners would like to see a much smaller version, that they could rent for creating garden paths and patios.

This seems a plus too: Once synonymous with roads, then replaced with monotonous and easily ruined cement, bricks might just be making a comeback as the gold standard for inner city roads.

The green community is pushing them for their real and varied benefits (easy to produce, they don’t crack from the cold, and the gaps between bricks let rainwater run its natural course, replenishing aquifers)

posted by nickyskye at 6:10 AM on November 17, 2010


In my opinion this is the only suitable soundtrack for that.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:21 AM on November 17, 2010


Still slower than asphalt, I'm sure, so I doubt we'll see them tearing up any blacktop to put down bricks here. Still, kickass! I'm going to be laying down a patio next summer, and you better believe I'm going to wish I had one of these.
posted by echo target at 6:32 AM on November 17, 2010


At first this looked like an amazing dump-bricks-in-this-end, road-comes-out-that-end kind of thing -- but later in the videos it appears the workers are doing all the sorting and positioning by hand; all the machine is doing is conveying them from waist height down to the ground.

Which I'm sure is convenient when you're the road worker who no longer has to spend all day down on hands and knees shoving bricks into place, but not quite as magical as it first appeared to be.

ROAD MACHINE IS NOT MAGICAL. OOK WANTS HIS MONEY BACK
posted by ook at 6:51 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've watched three videos about paving stones. The soundtracks for each of them have me seriously doubting my dream of escaping the rust belt by learning Dutch and escaping to Holland.

The machine is a complete fail as a getaway vehicle. Not only does it move too slowly, it also lays a nice road on which the cops can chase you.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:52 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wish there was a process that could create solid bricks out of dirt, maybe through melting it and/or adding the right combination of polymer/recycled plastic/pixie dust. Then you could make giant legos and build a giant brick laying machine out of a Mindstorms unit.
posted by hanoixan at 6:55 AM on November 17, 2010


If you play this backwards it's a horrifying monster that eats roads.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:58 AM on November 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


...with symbiotic humans that pick the bricks out of its teeth afterwards, like those birds that live on crocodiles.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:02 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


In other news:

November 17, 2010: Tiger Stone forced to admit that a combination of malfunctioning GPS and driver error is responsible for the tragic disappearance in Emerald County of Dorothy, 12, Toto the dog, a humanoid lion, a talking scarecrow and a man encased entirely in tin, who was refused entry on a Delta Airlines flight owing to TSA agents considering him "too metallic to pass security."

Dorothy's Aunt and Uncle have appealed to the flying monkey community for any information on their whereabouts.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:10 AM on November 17, 2010


Pretty cool.
Labour law has been made more strict in recent years. You never see people on high ladders any more. Law dictates that they use automatic platforms to reach high points.
The same holds for digging. That needs to be done with a shovel machine.
According to this local interview street layers used to become disabled at the age of 40. Using machines like this (there's another street laying robot in that interview) they don't break their backs laying streets and remain working much longer.
A quick google taught me that brick laying is mandated to be done by machine for areas bigger that 1500 m2.
So this seems to be prompted by legal change.
posted by joost de vries at 7:53 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


In my experience, brick roads get wicked slick in the winter, to the point where (especially in Michigan after a sleet) they were nearly impossible to walk over.
posted by klangklangston at 8:29 AM on November 17, 2010


Any excuse to say "substrate" and I'm happy.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:33 AM on November 17, 2010


Very cool, although of course it will marginalize a whole fleet of street bricklayers. This type of road is very common in Holland - only major thoroughfares and rural roads are paved, just about every side street is laid like this. There are no rocks in the ground in most of the country, so preparing that sand substrate is a fairly easy job, too. It doesn't freeze that much in the winter anymore, so heaving and potholes are not an issue. The brick roadways are easy to repair; if they need to get at a buried pipe or something, it's easy to dismantle and put back together; and the bricks are nicely recyclable.

When I was a kid growing up in Holland, we'd go to the road projects on weekends and build forts with the stacks of bricks by the side of the road.
posted by beagle at 9:17 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bonus points for the BTTF headline.
posted by ericbop at 9:58 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hanoixan, you can make blocks out of dirt. I'm not sure how well they would hold up to traffic, however.
posted by MikeWarot at 11:05 AM on November 17, 2010


When I was a kid growing up in Holland, we'd go to the road projects on weekends and build forts with the stacks of bricks by the side of the road.
And then we expelled you.


Good point about being easily able to get at a buried pipe. I guess that explains part of the popularity of brick roads in neighbourhoods.
posted by joost de vries at 11:09 AM on November 17, 2010


I've never lived anywhere with brick roads - can they be plowed easily when it snows? Even small imperfections in my concrete sidewalk are bone jarring when hit with a snow shovel.
posted by jeffmik at 3:28 PM on November 17, 2010


Slap*Happy, they're pulling up bricks -- and asphalt stamped like bricks -- in downtown Providence. I saw a cement truck up there yesterday, so I think the PITA factor of maintenance has overcome the aesthetic value.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:14 AM on November 18, 2010


« Older Photos of US soldiers and vets engaged in non-viol...  |  Change is coming. Get ready fo... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments