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Drum Garbage Can Composter

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Picture of Drum Garbage Can Composter
I wanted to try making one of the many DIY drum composters posted on the site but was having a hard time finding a food-grade 55 gallon industrial barrel here in Brooklyn, so I substituted a relatively cheap garbage can.
 
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Step 1: Assemble materials

You're going to need a couple of 2x4's, lots of wood screws, two hinges, a padlock assembly, a 3-4 foot piece of rebar or PVC tubing, and lots of very small nuts and bolts. Oh - and a garbage can.

Now everything depends on what size garbage can you select - if you get a really big one, you'll need to cut your wood into larger pieces in order to build a big enough frame to allow your can (once it's been suspended by the rebar or PVC tubing) to swing a full 360 degrees without hitting any part of the frame. So buy your garbage can and then figure out what size wood pieces you'll need in order to build a big enough frame. I bough a 35 gallon can for $14.99 and it probably doesn't make sense to go any smaller than that.

Step 2: Build the frame

I am no carpenter, as you can probably tell, and so I just built a basic frame using 2x4's, wood screws and metal plates to hold everything together. You'll probably need a circular saw and miter tool to cut the pieces.
Huss662 years ago
GO BROOKLIN:)
I really like this Idea. I am also going to build one soon. But as for the Lid I think I am going to bolt a piece of Plywood to it and make the hole for the compost to go in on the top with 2 sliding locks.
awang85 years ago
Shouldn't you omit the latches and hinges and just use the lid that's already there?
It is meant to spin and therefore the lid needs to be sealed to the rest of the bin otherwise all your composting stuff would fall out the first time you go to spin it.
jraufman (author)  Crusty_075 years ago
Right - the lid has to hold a lot of weight when the whole thing is spun and I decided that it needed to be permanently sealed and that the door should be on the side.
Ok, guys, I've got the solution: how about cotter pins. I am going to build one of these soon, I was talking with my dad about it and he suggested cotter pins all the way around, maybe 3-5 of them. They could be attached by wire so they wouldn't get lost. This would solve the problem of keeping the lid on, yet still using the lid.
I'm all done! I will post some pictures.
I have 2 lynch pins opposite the handles, which snap over the rim, I have a full batch in the one on the left there and it's holding so nicely, I could even leave it upside down.
I can't leave it upside down. I tried, and then it rained and the water sort of funnels through the bottom and the lid as well, weighing down the lid, buckling it outward. No loss of compost though, just nutrients.
Sorry forgot to upload files. . .
DSCN1074.JPGDSCN1073.JPG
rosewood5134 years ago
Hi, now that is something I can do, I have the container the wood and the hardware. "Great job, thanks for sharing, I am going to make to one to start and one to cook, Ideally three is best. Nice really nice.
Kdmiller5 years ago
In our area, we can purchase (for about $10) a large milk barrel from Roberts Dairy. Our church purchased some to make rain barrels. I don't know if it would work here, but it's a possibility. The container is likely "food grade" if this is a concern to people. We are planning to make rain barrels as well, but I might also try this idea. Thanks!
kleinjahr5 years ago
Chuckymonkey is right, hinge or clamp the lid. Other possible improvements, hmmmm. Use something like grommets at the axle holes so the "barrel" will last longer. If using ready rod for an axle then tighten up on the barrel with nuts and washers. This would allow for a crank handle which makes it easier to turn. For better mixing perhaps some small fins or blades on the axle inside the barrel. You might also put a basin under the barrel to catch the compost tea, good fertilizer. For the frame, not bad, but I'd put the bottom skids on their edges which would give you face to face joints. Much stronger than into end grain.
Really great job on this, I'm going to build one this spring. Just a couple of thoughts that may make it a little simpler even. Instead of using a door on the side, just put four hasps on the lid. Then for simple transport and removal you just notch the upright 2x4's. This will let you lift the can off and just pull the rod out. Take off the lid, tip the can over and voila!
Justine615 years ago
Bravo! These are the creative,innovative and imaginative ideas and projects that moved mankind up the evolution ladder. You have an idea, you think it will work, and you sit down and think about how to put it together. Love it! Love this website! Glad I found it.
hey u hav such a great idea i think im gping to copy ur idea ok umm if u have any other gardening or plant ideas please leave me a comment
cerene5 years ago
Great 'ible! It may not be pretty, but it really does look much more do-able (is that even a word?) than most of the other DIY tumbler type composters I've seen. This goes in the Faves pile :)
lemonie5 years ago
I'm not familiar with spinning compost - what does this do? Is it like the tumbling action of a washing machine? L
jraufman (author)  lemonie5 years ago
Good question! Actually any composter worth his mettle will find a way to 'turn' his or her compost. If they have a simple compost pile, they can use a pitchfork to move it around periodically. If they have a traditional compost bin, they can buy a compost turner, which is like a spear with wings that pull back as you extract the spear from your pile, effectively mixing it around. You need to mix for 2 main reasons: 1-The more oxygen present at the site of decomposition (where the bacteria and other microbes are working away at your waste), the faster they can turn your kitchen scraps into compost; 2- It helps get the microbes to all areas of the waste so that it is uniformly composted. The benefit of a drum composter like this one is that all you need to do in order to mix your compost is give your drum a little kick every now and again. No need for pitchforks or fancy aerator contraptions. The crazy thing is that they sell pre-fab composters for upwards of $300 when you can make one like this for maybe $30!
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