Instructables

Convenient composter

Picture of Convenient composter
We all know that compost is good for the garden; we also know that it is a pain to maintain and can smell pretty nasty if not done properly. I have done a little investigation into composting methods and contraptions and I present here my take on the subject. One of the main requirements that I wanted from my compost was that I wanted to be able to get a small and somewhat "clean" amount of compost out whenever I needed it. It also needed to be clean and not take up much room and generally be easy to maintain. My answer to all of this was to keep in an easily spin-able trashcan that had an integrated sifter so that I could easily gather the plant-ready compost without dodging dead fruits and vegetables.
 
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Step 1: Gather the stuff

Picture of Gather the stuff
I would have really liked to reuse a trash can but i couldn't find one after looking (passively) for about a month. I finally figured that 3-4 hours of driving around town looking for a used and available trash can would have been more expensive (in gas) and worse on the environment then just baying a new one from the big orange box (home depot).

Materials:
Trashcan
3-4 small wheels (with stationary axis)
Assorted lumber
hardware cloth (wire mesh)
CEILING WIRE!!
the "duct tape" of the fastener world: drywall screws
paint (optional)
rope
hinge
finishing nail (yes, just one)


Tools:
Jig saw
Drill with user-defined bits and 1/4" bit
Dikes (wire cutters) or tin snips
Hammer...for the one nail

Step 2: Build the spinner

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I started with the harder step because I happen to have the room in the garage when i started this project:

Build the stand that will spin the can (much easier than kicking it down the stairs or chasing it down the street!)

First build something that looks like a 3-wheel creeper. (4 wheels would really be better but I was trying to minimize my budget)

Next add a small lip on one side of this "creeper" so that it now looks like a hand truck with the wheels on the wrong side.
mzungu1 year ago
I build one like this, but the center screen sift did/will not work as intended as a sift. The compost is often wet and lumpy, and will not fall through the screen, and into the screen. Those that fall through will end up falling though the screen the 2nd time and back into the outer drum. :-)
hilary0073 years ago
I love drywall screws! Self tapping yeah!

I have a giant robotic trash can without wheels. I do kitchen scraps (no protein), horse manure, wasted hay, and my latest find - the bags of grass picked up in my mom's neighborhood! What a find, I get 3-4 bags every other week. So it makes the best compost - I just dump it over and shovel into a wheel barrow.

I wished mine turned!

Good job!
zydicious3 years ago
has anyone considered doing something like in this picture to a composter?

http://www.riverstonestudios.ca/100_2335.jpg

They're using this barrel as a cement mixer, but I could see the design working for a composter as well and with the incline if you left enough clearance at the back/bottom you could fit a tap to collect the tea for use as well.
hypatiam5 years ago
wonderful idea - been trying to find a solution to having to sift manually/seperate finished compost. Also found this online... would be curious if it works the same way...

http://www.ecowise.com/product_info.php?cPath=23_38&products_id=406
I'm sure a "Blue barrel" substitute could be rigged up for a lot less than three hundred bucks
I've seen those in stores. They use a similar screen but the bottom is solid so it does not fall thought and in this case the composting is done around the out side.
nicofrog4 years ago
oK ;
what you have accidentally built is a great school worm compost system,
put dirt in the outer ring(forget the rotating aspect) about a foot deep then some store bought compost with NO vermiculite or perlite, wet it down good and throw in some worms put dry leaves on top a good foot or two almost filling the can
 then throw food scraps in the middle section at will..cover with straw at first.
   You need a four board system at the top that will hold a GLASS pyrite
cooking bowl or pot lid over the center portion. the sun shining in heats and
dries the food on top in center preventing much fly action the worms eat the food at night,takes about a year to fill up with kid lunch stuff you plant strawbetrries in the outer ring and watch um grow! flowers are nice too!
    Nico   p.s. use the easel for an ease. works even better with a wooden Wine Barrel
GDParduhn34 years ago
I ve used screen sives in the past and they work great . . 

i think you just need an additional 2 wheels  maybe some off an old bed frame,   plastic furniture (plastic file cabinets, other easy break stuff) or chair wheels.   and add them to the bottom board where the can sits on . .. 


two on bottom,  2 on sides,   1 up top.   this will take the wieght off the can and send it around. ..


id still like to see someone do this to a dryer, , ,   like a speed composted. .  .  maybe solar powered , self turns 3-5 revolutions every hour ona sunny day.



you might add some worms to your bin, eventually they'll get to fall thru the screenning.

you could also add some protien powder to give them a growth spurt  !!

if they get to big,  start a circus.  sell tickets.   see hawaii !
turlte89725 years ago
the wire mesh gives me a idea on other compost bins I looked up I will try your plan with others to see what I come up with
tacamaral5 years ago
Nice idea, man. : ) I think there are two main reasons why it didn't spin as easily as you thought it would: first, that the can is not perfectly round. The bumps on the walls surely get in the way. The other reason is (I think) that the bottom of the can is grinding against the bottom piece of wood. What you could do (again, IMO) is put another, smaller wheel on the bottom, for the can to rest on, or a roller, I guess it's called - a ball inside a small container that allows it to roll freely. : )
ecogeeko (author)  tacamaral5 years ago
Awesome, thanks for the constructive feed back! I had thought about the fact that the can does not appear perfectly round but in fact the wheels are located low enough on the can that they are not disrupted by the fluted features. However you are spot-on with the bottom of the can “grinding” on the wood. (It really isn’t that intense…more of a rubbing but I love your over dramatization ;-) I have been meaning to try adding a wheel down there or a ball caster (I think that was the term you were looking for). That would defiantly help because when you try to roll it you can feel that the axis of rotation is trying to go through that point of contact with the wood. It is about time for me to empty it and use all the compost that is in there so very soon I hope to revisit it and post about then next revision.
tandem255 years ago
Great. Good job. I have been looking for the right design. I'm sure that I can mod this to the materials that I have. Thank you. p.s. There sure are quite a number of english professors or elementary teachers on this site. There must be, with all of the grammatical criticisms.
p.s. There sure are quite a number of english professors or elementary teachers on this site. There must be, with all of the grammatical criticisms.

I was thinking this very same thing.
sgsidekick5 years ago
Um, Step 7 it should be "throw" not "through" Other than that this is a great idea! Nicely don!
CCOR5 years ago
I think you meant to spell "throw" or "threw," not "through out." It was sort of confusing at first. But awesome idea with the mesh; did that part work well at separating gross stuff from usable soil?
cloates5 years ago
A compost centrifuge! Slick!