Instructables
Picture of How to Make a Dirt Sifter
After putting up an instructable on making raised beds I realized I should probably go a little more in-depth on the dirt sifter since it’s a vital part of my gardening routine.  If your dirt is in need of as much amendment as mine you’ll be doing a fair amount of sifting too.  If not, well lucky you.

My sifter was scrapped together in an afternoon.  Even though it’s not real easy on the eye it functions quite well.  I’ve put thousands of pounds of dirt through it and it’s still holding up.
 
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Step 1: The Base

Picture of The Base
sifter04.jpg
The base holds up the tray for sifting.  It needs to be sturdy but also easy to carry around.  I used my favorite building materials for this project- stuff I had lying around and drywall screws.  I used angle aluminum in the corners as posts because it is nice and rigid as well as lightweight.  2x2s would work just fine.  The plywood on the horizontal pieces needs to be fairly wide to help with bracing.  In the corners of each of the posts I put 3″ deck screws to loop the cord from the tray over.  You only need them on one side but this way is more versatile.
Jislizard1 year ago
I have been using a wire dish drainer/plate drying rack. You can only do half a bucket at a time and you have to put some effort into it but it stores easier. I only need to do a couple of hundred litres of compost at a time otherwise I would be looking at one of these for sure.
kz12 years ago
I made a smaller version of this a couple of years ago that fit atop a plastic storage container. I later ran across an old sewing machine motor and attached it to the wood frame, drilled an off-center hole in a round piece of scrap plywood, then afixed that to the shaft of the sewing machine motor, plugged it in and pressed on the speed control foot peddle that came along with the motor, and let 'er shake the contents for me. Works great.

One the size of yours would need a wee bit bigger motor but the same concept would work just the same. Speeds up the process and saves the arms and shoulders for things like shoveling dirt to keep the screener full.

If I decide to build a bigger one, I think I'll put the screened in box on automotive valve springs to give it even more shaking action.
lsmith254 kz12 years ago
Please post a photo of this...I am trying to understand the placement of such a device in relation to the load it can handle. I'm debating whether to build a trommel or something like what you have done. Thanks!
spike3579 (author)  kz12 years ago
That sounds like a great machine. You should post a picture of it. I thought about making an automated one but the idea of lugging a motor and a cord along with the rest of the sifter around the yard seemed too much to me. I could see it being useful for a stationary setup.
jensenr302 years ago
awesome!

thanks for writing this!
You know, I've never seen of these - such a good idea. :D