Instructables
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Acquiring or creating a rain barrel is a really great way to capture water for your garden project. I really enjoy and prefer watering my garden with rain water over city water. You should probably check your local ordinances before endeavoring on this project because not everyone in the world is so open minded about collecting the water that falls on your own property. 

Disclaimer out of the way, let's get started! 

This how to will not include the gutter system, I figure that it's pretty variable depending on the scenario, but the barrel itself is easy and approachable by everyone. 
 
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Step 1: Materials and Step 1

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You will need a suitably sized container. 

My choice is a 200 L bioprocess container. It used to hold glucose. 

You can acquire these barrels from various sources. I got mine free from a local manufacturing company. They throw things like this out or back into recycling all the time. Another viable option is a local carwash, they have large barrels for detergent that they need to dispose of all the time. In any case, where ever you get yours, wash the heck out of it before you start watering your food crop with it. 

You will also require: 
Power drill
Rubber mallet
Drill bit (3/4 inch)
teflon tape
3/4 inch spigot union (this is going to be snug fit)
3/4 inch black connectors
plumbers putty
plumbers adhesive 
standard house spigot (which should also fit a 3/4 inch fitting. 

Step1: 
Drill the hole into the barrel near the bottom (but not at the bottom (see figure 2). 
Use the rubber mallet to seat the union through your hole. This will be pretty snug I assure you. Do not bang hard, just take your time. After you've seated your union, teflon tape the threaded bits. 

kcider2 years ago
This is really well written!
If anybody wants some more information I've been using this as my go-to info page: http://www.aquabarrel.com/product_rain_barrel_plastic_parts.php
caarntedd3 years ago
Nice instructable. Saving rain water is great.
I've had one of these for many years at my bush cabin. I now use a bent copper pipe with a tap attached as a siphon stuck in the top, after finding the barrel empty one day due to a leak. I don't go there for months at a time, and just pull the pipe out and cover the hole when I'm not there.
This is a better system if you aren't absent for long periods.
falling_stone (author)  caarntedd3 years ago
agreed. Water barrels definitely need to be let dry during unattended periods. I open the valves on this on and turn it upside down for the winter months.

In your bush cabin do you use the water for washing pots and pans and such?
...and showering/washing, tooth brushing and I drink a little as well.
falling_stone (author)  caarntedd3 years ago
that's awesome. beats digging a well.
scoochmaroo3 years ago
Looks really great. Nice project!
falling_stone (author)  scoochmaroo3 years ago
hey thank you ! it was fun and it got my son involved.