Introduction: Compost Tumbler
I'd been looking at these fancy schmancy compost tumblers online as I'd gotten tired of turning my compost pile. There were 2 big detractions from these prepackaged tumblers; 1- too expensive for my penny pinching ways, and 2- they all sat way up in the air making it quite difficult to rake and shovel material in and out.
This looks to solve those two issues.
Step 1: Materials
1 55 Gallon Barrel (preferably one whose previous inhabitant was not poisonous)
1 3 Ft. x 18 In. Board
4 NON Pivoting Wheels
2 Pivot Hinges
2 3 In. Pin Locks
Cutting Implement (I used a miter saw)
Step 2: Basic Assembly
Cut a rectangular hole in the side of the barrel (this is easier said than done). I cut mine to be 18 in. x 20 in.
I didn't want the hole to be too big as it would have to carry considerable weight when rolling the full bin around, however, I wanted it to be big enough to get a rake or shovel into.
Attach the top edge of the door with 2 hinges, and then use the pin locks on the bottom edge. Make sure to place the locks on the side (parallel to the ground). I mistakenly placed them vertically along the bottom and when the barrel flexed, the door popped open every time.
Step 3: The Platform
The trick of this is to place the four wheels on the board so they keep the barrel rolling. Too far apart and the barrel bottoms out, too narrow and the barrel pops out.
Screw the 4 wheels about 2-4 inches in from the top and bottom. this lets the groove of the barrel keep it on the wheels.
Don't place the wheels too close to the middle, you don't want them hitting the door or door hardware (ask me how I know!).
Step 4: Aeration
Drill 1/2 inch holes around the barrel. I chose not to drill these in the door- no reason. These holes allow for proper aeration and drainage should your compost get too moist.
Step 5: Final Assembly
Place the wood plank on bricks to keep it off the ground. Add the barrel. Spin it a couple of times and load it full of rotting jack-o-lanterns to get your compost off to a good start!
Some parting thoughts:
1- I might consider getting bigger hinges and locks- I've not filled it completely yet and am a bit concerned about the structural integrity.
2- If you're a perfectionist, replace all the screws with short bolts and nuts- they're likely to stay assembled longer and you don't have to worry about getting cut on a pointy screw.
3- For those of you needing a primer on compost- leaves, yard clippings, kitchen scraps (meat/fat/oil are NO NOs, veggies, eggshells and breadstuffs are YES, YESs), maybe some worms, and water til moist sponge consistency. Turn once or twice a week.