Saturday, July 03, 2010

Make your own compost tumbler.

Marty made this for me from the instructions below. I just recently sold it to another gal who was tickled to get it. It worked great and was better than anything else we found on the market - much cheaper too! Love that husband of mine, there is nothing he can't do.

Compost Tumbler



This is the easy and quick way to make compost. Compost made in a compost maker like this is ready in about four weeks. All that is required is some initial labor, and the following materials:
  1. Steel barrel such as a 55 gallon drum.
  2. 2 heavy-duty hinges.
  3. 4 heavy-duty rollers.
  4. 2 door latch locks.
  5. 3 drawer pulls.
  6. Heavy-duty steel plate such as a straightened “L” bracket.
  7. Nuts & Bolts to fit all of the above.
  8. Cradle to the hold barrel. This should be about thirty inches high so a wheelbarrow can roll right under for “belly dump” capabilities. Metal would be best but wood is cheaper and works just as well.
  9. Flat black spray paint.
Use a 55 gal drum (preferably already black) that has been THOROUGHLY cleaned out. You should have two hinges that will attach the door, be sure you cut the door long enough so the hinges don't fall on a rib of the drum. Cut your hatch into the side to make a door. Then attach hinges and a door handle (aka: drawer pull) to the hatch, and reattach it to the barrel. The door is really flimsy so we bolted a steel plate to the inside of the door, which you can see in the second picture. The steel plate we used was an “L” bracket that we straightened, it’s also really sturdy and heavy duty, it came with all the bolt holes already in it. Then add a latch on each side of the door to lock it closed. Attach two evenly spaced drawer pulls on one side, and drill three 1" holes on each side. After building the cradle, attach two rollers on each side of the cradle. After placing the cradle in the sun, and putting the barrel on the cradle, then paint the whole barrel flat blat black. The barrel turns easily in the cradle, and heats up REAL GOOD. The secret to the compost maker is that you turn it EVERY day 6-8 times in the cradle. This takes about two minutes, and allows the bacteria to get aerated. In 3-4 WEEKS, you have a rich, crumbly dark brown compost.

Make sure that you only fill the barrel about 3/4 full to allow the materials to tumble when you turn it. Also make sure that you wet the material when you add it to the barrel.

Could possibly add rubber hose around sharp edges for protection and wheels to wheel it around the yard.

7 comments:

Fran G. said...

The instructions are great!! Thank you!! You might consider adding some close up pics of the smaller parts & maybe some lumber dimensions for the cradle parts.
Thanks again!!!

MrsM said...

Thanks Fran. :)

I'm so glad for the feedback. Unfortunately we sold this after selling our house and moving out of state. I have no more pictures of it and can't remember anything more on the details of the cradle. A very exciting composter took it home though!

Anonymous said...

Is the barrel just sitting on the rollers?

MrsM said...

Yes. Nothing to fasten it down, and it always stayed in its place. :)

Ros Horton said...

I had one like this and the barrel rusted out. Next time I'm using plastic.

Teresia said...

Great idea! I would want to know what the barrel held and if it can be cleaned...if chemical residue still remains it will kill the beneficial microbes in the compost...you will know this because the composting action will be halted or at least the progress will be greatly reduced. I really like the design and idea though. Thanks!

Maro said...

This is the best design I've ever seen. Most of the DIY designs are too close to the ground and therefore attract critters and make it difficult to remove the finished compost. I love the way you can park a wheel barrel under it. Let gravity do the work.