Is a junk washing machine really junk? Usefull materials for cool home builds from a dead washing machine.

Picture of Is a junk washing machine really junk? Usefull materials for cool home builds from a dead washing machine.
I recently took apart a junk washing machine to salvage the drum for my patio heater instructable.  I discovered that there where many other cool parts that could used again for other projects.  most of the good bits had already been plundered from this rusting piece of junk so when i discovered that there was another washing machine in a shed i decided to junk that one too for parts for my next project and I would do an instructable about what nice goodies are to be found inside.

I will not go into details much but the photos are tagged with anything i think may be useful.

If anyone can think of good uses for some of the bits and pieces, please make a comment as i would be interested in your ideas.

Some of the goodies include the following.

Stainless steel drum, can be used as a fire pit, BBQ, incinerator and much more.

Bearings and a casting the could be used for a wind turbine.

The glass door.  Makes a cool bowl or could be used as a port hole style window.

The motor, could be used to power another project or you could add magnets and make a generator for a wind power project.

A water pump.  some of these have simple monopole motors whit magnets in and make a nice little generator but they do tend to cog a fair bit.

The wiring loom. there are loads of nice long decent quality wires all crimped with spade connections.  A as always you never know when those nice made up wires will come in handy.

Assorted switches and solenoid valves. all kinds of interesting gubbins.

The metal case. a good source of sheet metal for other projects.

Nuts, bolts, screws, washers, pipe clips and brackets, I had a box full of bits that would cost quite a bit to buy in a hardware store.

Thanks for looking, I hope you get some ideas from what you see. Please post comments of any ideas you may have for possible uses for the bits.


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bigjimbishop made it!1 year ago

I bolted the drums together to support some shelving planks and use the drums for cable storage. All my salad bowls are from washing machine doors and a selection of pulley wheels make good chimes for a percussionist.

Drum Shelves.jpg.jpg
Dr Qui (author)  bigjimbishop1 year ago

very nice indeed.

I have used a circular cement weight (it was terrible to remove it) to make a small flowerbed.
I simply removed the grass inside the circle and made the terrain softer, then I added rocks and one sempervivum, which has produced another small 'child' next to it.
Looks great, awaiting for it to fully grow now!
I meant concrete weight.
you can get many water pumps at a repair shop and take the magnets out to use as toys. or sell as toys , and decorations , they stack up and connect in funny ways with a mind of their own. glass doors glass might be unhealthy if leaded. could be used to shield a light bulb , or many in a big chandelier, two together and candle in betwen , rubber gasket and clamps , water filled shells, rotating on a string in front of light or candle.
I once used the solenoid coil from an old washing machine to fix my broken shower. Luckily it was an exact fit, and worked well. I recently had to replace our washing machine, the old one is on our backyard. I'm going to strip it down this weekend and make a fire pit with the drum. Great instructables, thankyou.
Two weeks ago i used the waterpump for my "Zero-Euro-Hottup-Project". After the cleaning it works fine!
Dr Qui (author)  Peter Fnord1 year ago
Good idea, will you be making an Ible of your project?
Nice instructable. I have used bits for various things in the past, but have come up with a problem, that someone here might be able to help with...
I want to re-use the motor control board, to drive the motor. It already has the tachometer feedback coming into it and should have the ability to regulate speed quite well... But what signals to send it to achieve certain speeds?? Any ideas?
taria3 years ago
that pulley thing would make a nice clock as well as some of those other things attached to it. Kind of a Steampunk type of thing. Even the black hose cold be attached if spray painted a metal silver color and attached at the top.

Even the over complicated switch could be used as a clock, and industrial type of look.

the sheet metal would make a nice dry erase board mounted inside of a frame.

the wires cold be used to make wire wrapped jewelry.

the possabilitys (sp?) are endless with all the cool stuff. I would have a ball with it.
Dr Qui (author)  taria3 years ago
Indeed, all you need is a spark of imagination and something like this can be reused in a number of ways. I have found use for about 50% of the machine and the rest will be sold for scrap once i have enough to make the journey worth while.
taria Dr Qui3 years ago
I agree. :) have a great christmas.
Pe-ads4 years ago
My thoughts on the back plate: looks like it could make a nice shower pan. Though mind you, it's a bit small.

But using the backing as some sort of water collecting tray would be great. Perhaps a mini rice paddy? :D
Dr Qui (author)  Pe-ads3 years ago
Useful for for a oil change tray if you are into your own vehicle maintenance.
wagman3 years ago
I used the dampers from mine as stabilizers for my trailer, they work really well
Just a thought. Use the tub as part of a gray water system. Remove the bearing for other uses, then patch the hole or connect a hose for the drain. With the differant mounting brackets in the photo it would be easy to mount onto a DIY frame to have it free standing. It might be fugly but it could be useable.
Dr Qui (author)  RedneckEngineer4 years ago
Dunno if it would be worth the hassle, a 55 gallon blue plastic  barrel would be much better. The tub has bout 4 holes in already for heating element and a couple of solenoid valves, trying to seal them would be a nightmare.

I had to look up what  gray water was, In Ireland most rural homes gray water is just goes to a soak away pipe that is piped into a 20-30mtr gravel filled trench, although reed beds are becoming very popular on new builds.

What I have planned it to cut of the mounting brackets and screw some treated fence board to the outside of the tub to make a garden planter.
Your blue plastic 55 gal barrel will make the perfect septic tank for an outdoor privey.
A friend who does a lot of outdoor entertaining built a 'mini-mansion' alongside his garage. he added about 20 ft. of perforated drain tubing fort he liquids to drain off, and uses a "Rid-X" type product for the solids.
A water line from his house lets him use a regular flush toilet as well.
Gareth01233 years ago
I made a brazier out of an old washing machine: it draws the air in exceptionally well and then the flames really get going:
The stainless steel drum is a beautiful base for a coffee table. Put a low wattage light in it, and it streams out through all the little holes. Very stylish.
I've seen the aluminium pulley's used in a DIY band saw somewhere, which would be pretty cool. Nice instrucable. You could use the solenoid valves in some kind of garden irrigation system.
hi reukpower, can you tell me some more about the garden irrigation system?
Would love some know how on how to build one.

@reukpower I thought about that too, that's why I've saved a couple of them from dead machines.

@pitajames Basically you wouldn't need too much equipment to build it, but you need to know exactly how it works. Those electric valves need voltage to operate, probably dc (though some mechanical on/off components can work on ac), and you would need to find out how much voltage they need. A lot of stuff works on 12 volts but it is probable that they use the same tension as your grid (120 V in US) and generally 220-240 V everywhere else.

The good thing about electrical circuits is that they are very easy to use and change once made. Because of amplifiers, you could make a simple circuit that was sensitive to rain, sun etc. Even smarter than some scheduled daily watering system, would be a rain collector that basically gives you the amount of rain in a given time period, and when the water level is high enough, it touches two plates, a small signal goes through and turns on your valve, through a simple amplifier (there are many circuits out there showing how water sensors could be made).

Result: You could make a system which always adapted to the weather.
(btw sorry if this got off-topic, my bad :D )

P.s, I see my idea actually does the opposite of what I intended. It will water when there have been a lot of rain ;D
To make it work, a simple inverter is placed before the amplifier to 'invert' its operation. So when there is enough water, it will stop the flow : )
Sorry I don't have any specific info on that, I just thought it would be a good idea!
Dr Qui (author)  scraptopower4 years ago
Yeah they would be perfect for that, a friend is using one as part of the drive system on an electric recumbent trike he is working on.

I cycled past a scrap yard today and saw about 500 of those pulleys in a pile and the mother of all industrial washing machines that I would love to take apart.
pitajames4 years ago
Fantastic instructable. Really keen on making the fire drum and would love more info on how to make the wind turbine.

pitajames4 years ago
Fantastic and thanks so much. Really interested in making the fire drum. And would love some information on how to make that wind turbine.

wkumtrider4 years ago
If you don't have a use for it you can recycle that stuff, especially the metal parts.
shortw4 years ago
Yes, these are solenoid valves.
You could make a electric sprinkler or drain control with timer with it.
lemonie4 years ago

I had one of them...

Dr Qui (author)  lemonie4 years ago
lol  had... past tense. 90's washers where crap to be honest, we must have went through about 4 of them over the years. The current one is doing great at about 9 years or so, probably due to the lack of greasy and grinder grit covered boilersuits nowadays.

Don't tell anyone but you want to keep you eye out for is a newish LG machine or any that say direct drive, they have ever so tasty permanent magnet motors in.  I got one from a friend and plan to use it with the VAWT.  I stuck a hand crank handle on mine and can hand crank the thing to about 90v with no load, I popped a 12v 20watt halogen bulb in about 2 seconds with it.

lemonie Dr Qui4 years ago

Well I'm impressed, the only time I've ad a halogen-bulb go was on a Honda Caren at full-throttle down a hill in (near)total darkness...

Very interesting 'ible, and funny timing too, because our washer just went out yesterday and we had to buy a new one. It was just faulty electronics, though, so the motor and other stuff should still work fine. I might just do this unless my dad is planning on getting it fixed.