“The SandMaster is an attachment for a skid steer, backhoe or an excavator. It quickly fills, transports, securely closes, and places sandbags at or near the area of need. Its primary function is to facilitate flood prevention efforts and emergency response. This is a fast and efficient tool that can run circles around hand labor all day long and never tires. It saves time and money and is able to pay for itself quickly.
The SandMaster 20 attaches to a skid steer and is capable of producing 20 bags per cycle or 4,800 bags in an 8 hour day. The SandMaster 26 and 26 E attach to a front end loader or excavator respectively and are capable of producing 26 bags per cycle or 6,240 bags in an 8 hour day.
The attachments work equally well with other materials such as rocky soil, gravel and nursery and agricultural products. While the bags must be made to specifications, both polypropylene and biodegradable burlap bags work well with this attachment.
Owen’s comments: This attachment should work fine for flood control work. It also has some potential for large scale housing relief operations, possibly in disaster situations. In most cases, however, the preferred earthbag method is filling bags on the wall to reduce labor. Most earthbags are larger (18”x30” is standard) and heavier than sandbags for flood control – nearly 100 pounds of moist earth (when tamped in the bag after each bucket load and filled to capacity) versus 60 pounds for smaller sandbags. The larger bags are desirable because they overlap more and create more stable walls.
For earthbag construction, something like this Bobcat mixing attachment (modified for filling earthbag tubes) seems more practical. Sooner or later someone will devise a suitable machine like this that will enable earthbag houses to be built in one day. The Bobcat or tractor could simply drive around the house all day as the attachment fills and guides tubes into place. Another machine would feed soil into the hopper of the first attachment. Pneumatic tampers driven by a large compressor (same as used in rammed earth building) would enable workers to keep pace with the other machinery.
My Sandbag Machines article has a sampling of some of the sandbag filling machines currently available.