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Picture of Tabletop Washing Machine (4 Da Poor Man)
I find I have ideals all the time, but put them on the back burner cause Im just not sure how to go about it. So Ill see something in my head and just wait till I see what it is that I really need to accomplice what I want.

One day the Wife wanted me to wash her capris for her, I had promised and went about doing laundry. White, light colors, dark colors and black with deep blues....
Since her capris where the only black I had to wash they got overlooked in the sort. After all the laundry was done and put away, I noticed I had forgotten them. Well, Im 4 The Poor Man! using 12 gallons of water to wash one pair of capris, was well out of the question and thought how could I wash a single clothes and not use the washer.

Yes I thought about using a bucket and started with that, then came the plunger idea... what a mess

I always favored the Front Loading washers. Less water, larger loads and of course that was on the back burner
Then I starting thinking ' what if this was an agitator' and what if it had a lid... then it hit me like why didn't I think of this before?
A simple front loading washing machine for a few clothes!

Video on YouTube...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3adMO4MgVBg

**AS ALWAYS THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES AND SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED
**
 
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Step 1: Da BOM(B.O.M)

Picture of Da BOM(B.O.M)
Bill of Material

1 Five gallon Bucket with Lid (with O ring under lid)
3 pieces of 1" x 2" pine (length to be determined by your bucket)
14 #10 sheet metal screws (6 to attach the ribs and 8 to attach the wheels
4 wheels
   I happen to have some heavy duty castors for the prototype but a pair of training wheels from Wally World or Meijer will suffice
   Get creative even some old wagon wheels should work
2 short pieces of conduit
Duct Tape ( This isn't necessary, I just like to have it around, just in case)
1 1" x 10" x ? ( your bucket maybe larger or smaller, as I was thinking a brewers bucket is larger and prolly a better choice for this)
1 3/8" x 4" hex bolt
3 3/8"  washers
1 3/8" hex  nut

All this is based on the bucket that you use, so just follow the procedure and make your own final measurements, I am but a Guide.

To see how to make this a pressure washer go to : http://www.instructables.com/id/Tabletop-Pressure-Washer-4-Da-Poor-Man/

Step 2: The Bucket

PLEASE REFER TO THE PICTURES TO GET A GOOD UNDERSTANDING FOR CONSTRUCTION

Measure the depth of the bucket and cut the wood ribs 1 or 2 inches shorter to accommodate the lid
I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle so not to have a sharp corner on the end. I ripped a 1 x 6 to make my 3 ribs 'freehand' which caused a inner bow cut on two of them that I found to be of use in the wash cycle. The inside cut made a path for the water to run through instead of rolling to the front with is the lid. I know the photos show 4 ribs, but I found it to be too cramped and take up too much room. I just had holes to fill so I used some blocking.

 Measure the circumference of the bucket and divide by 3 and mark a line from the bottom of the bucket to the top

This is NOT a rocket, so your measures are not critical!

I used a scratch awl and pierced holes on the line a inch or two from the bottom and near the top to screw the ribs inside the bucket.
I didn't need to drill and I wanted as water tight a seal as I could get as not to have to 'water proof' anything and making the holes smaller in the bucket for the screws would provide this water tight fit

On the top rim I hand drilled a hole smaller then the Bolt to screw into. Place a washer, then a short piece of conduit, a washer and screw into the hole. Inside the bucket place a washer and then the nut. I placed the bolt end flush with the nut as not to have an edge of the bolt catch on the clothes



Step 3: The Mechanics

Picture of The Mechanics
Using your 1 X (aka 1 x 10 (or wider board)) attach your wheels perpendicular to the bucket near the bottom and near the top.
The top needs to avoid any rib, or rise that maybe there ( such as the mount to accommodate the handle)
The picture shows a 2X, which is just over kill and makes it heavier.

Screw your wheels apart enough to allow the bucket to be cradled between the wheels
Place your empty bucket on the wheels and place your piece of conduit at the bottom of the bucket and attach it to your 1 x to ensure the bucket wont fall off the end. This could be screwed to the end of the 1 X  or smash a bit of the end and bend 90 degrees  and drill a few small holes to mount to the 1X as I have done

Step 4: Somethings you should know

Picture of Somethings you should know
IMGP0338.JPG
!Some things to point out at this time!

Use at your own risk. This is for educational purposes only

Using hot water will cause an excess of pressure inside the bucket when sealed, blowing the lid off or cause leaks, due to the increased pressure inside.

Your bucket may not hold water well laying on its side, even if you ensure it wont leak

another thing that could be done is insert a piece of wood under your 1X to raise the bucket at an angle. The lid will just help to cut down on 'splash' from the clothes tumbling

Filling your bucket with water is best done using a hose or the bath tub

I would not recommend using more then 2 gals of water

I personally don't use this indoors at this time as there will be other and better versions coming soon. This is the prototype, the only reason Im showing it now is that it worked so well as it is. I also wanted you to see how simple items combined can make something of use. Im working on using a 35 gallon, galvanize trash can as a full load washer, using the same concept here, also a full fledged washing machine from plastic

I will have a video posted as soon as I can to show just how easy this is

Im thinking that drilling a hole in the bottom of the bucket for a cork or type of plug will make lifting a lot easier and remember
*WATER WEIGHTS OVER 8 LBS PER GALLON*  remember this when filling and lifting

I had a hard time keeping the bucket on the wheels using the 'crank' handle, but it does fine just spinning it with your hands, or adding something to the top to hold the bucket as you crank

According to washing machines, operation time as follows
Lightly soiled   6 min
Regular           9 min
Heavy           12 min
Ex Heavy      15 min

I don't recommend using swivel wheels as it can cause the bucket to become dislodged


Step 5: Washin the Clothes...

Picture of Washin the Clothes...
Fill the bucket with about 2 gallons of water (approximately half full or half empty, depending if your an optimist or pessimist)

press your lid on tightly. ensure its sealed by rolling in the bathtub a few revolutions. I found pressing in the tabs may help to seal those hard to seal lids

a tablespoon of laundry soap may be all that is needed. You will have to figure this out based on how soiled the clothes are and how much water is there.

WARNING        Very small amounts of Bleach would be needed for whites! Figure you use 1/4 cup for a 20 gallon load, You will only need 1/10th (yes .10) of that for 2 gallons of water. I eyed it the first time and still put too much bleach in the water

If you made the bucket but haven't make the rollers yet, you can still wash with this and just roll it on the lawn with your feet. that's how I tested it out before the rollers were built.

After the wash cycle, just wring out the clothes by hand and put into another bucket. If you have another 'load' if the water isnt dirty enough to toss out, do another load.

For the rinse, just add fresh water and add the cleaned clothes and 'run' the 'rinse cycle', again, if you use 'softner' you wont need much. I dont use it myself, I use drier balls. That way I dont feel guilty of adding more chemicals to the water ways

I still used my washing machine to spin dry the clothes for the drier and also used a 'seated press' just to hang them outside to dry.

I like it for rags that I dont want to wash in the washing machine. Soiled, grease, Can also be used as a pre-washer for those items that maybe too dirty for a regular wash.

Step 6: In Closing

Picture of In Closing
I really focused this on 4 the poor man, as I was when I was younger. Then again in case of power outage or as a prepper or someone who wants to be 'off grid' these will make life more manageable. We have depended on electricity all our lives, what happens when its not there? Understand, Im an electrician by trade and I know how it is to work without electricity

Times are tough and just when they get easier, they get tough again. Dont get me wrong, I dont feel doom and gloom. I feel this world has a lot to offer those that want to give back to the land what they have taken. Money gets more worthless daily, so if you save it, or can give it to someone whom really needs it, this world will be a better place. We can all make a difference, even if its one person at a time....
WilliamB63 months ago

First off I like all your instructables,especially the circuit board holder.The pana-vise models for sale are nice put pricey.I have been wanting to build a compost barrel with this same design just using a 30-55 gallon barrel with holes drilled all over and a rectangular door on hinges cut in the side.Then you could just roll it every few days.Sorry I know this is all kind of off subject but I was so excited when I saw your design with the casters I had to post something.Hopefully if I ever get somewhere semi-permanent I will build and post.I will link to your 'ible for reminding me of a great idea and showing me it will actually work.Thanks!

andy.knote7 months ago

I like your use of casters.

Before I built my design a spent quite a bit of time studying how a front loader washing machine works, I think your design would work just as well with only 1 agitator "fin" inside.

Nice work!

Blofish (author)  andy.knote4 months ago

Your correct one was just fine.

Thank you

stressed616037 months ago

Replace
your 1" x 2" pine with capped 2" PVC pipe, this should make drum
much lighter, and PVC won't absorb water.

Blofish (author)  stressed616034 months ago

Good idea, thanks for the input.

dees27 months ago

have another board with castor wheels as bottom, put it on top and have a simple wire or chain to clamp both the wooden base....now u dont have to worry about yr bucket falling down..... go and run at yr max speed..... may the force be....

gwylan1 year ago
Good project!

If your bucket/lid will hold the pressure built up by agitating hot water and soap, you've actually built a washer more efficient than the commercial one. The pressure will force the soapy water through the clothes, helping lift out the dirt. You shouldn't need to agitate it as long. Google pressure washers for more information on this.
Blofish (author)  gwylan1 year ago
Thank you for your input.
I have used water at 160 degrees (F) (reusing the rinse water from the dishwasher) with just minor leakage. Its just I cant say that and expect others to have the same results, due to their construction techniques and abilities or not using the same materials I have used.
How about a clamping type lid like the ceramic "mason jars" used for storing the "starter" for Sourdough Bread. That would handle lots of pressure. I don't know if there are any out there that are big enough for a 5 gal. bucket, let alone anything larger, but the concept may lend a hand. Wonderful idea by the way. I'm a disabled old lady, but even I can build this even living in a small appartment. Can't lift baskets of laundry to laundry room. I'll fill it in the tub, then sit on my shower chair to roll it with my feet. Never have to lift it! Drain, hang, drip dry. Put the clothes on a hanger, place it on shower head. Drip into drain! Love, love, love it. (I think I'll use wood glue to attach the "aggitators". Might not "stick" to plastic. Gorrilla glue?) I don't have a drill, but I do have both a wood saw & hack saw, oh, & a "metal" saw. I do build small things. Thanks for the idea!
Just yesterday I saw screw-on type lids designed for 5 gallon buckets at Home Depot. The cost was under $6. However, the pressure in the bucket from the hot water might make it hard to unscrew the lid until the water cooled, unless one added a relief valve to the lid--not difficult but that would also require some sort of drill.
Excellent! I'll just get a drill. Need one anyhow. See my idea was out there already, sor'ta. ^_^
Blofish (author)  gwylan1 year ago
See http://www.instructables.com/id/Tabletop-Pressure-Washer-4-Da-Poor-Man/
for updated pressure washer
I believe a build up of some pressure will increase efficiency so perhaps a more robust closure could take advantage of this. But as it is, it's still a top notch idea, I love the castors. - never would have thought of this elegant solution myself - thanks!
Blofish (author)  mandolinible1 year ago
See update at http://www.instructables.com/id/Tabletop-Pressure-Washer-4-Da-Poor-Man/
Blofish (author)  Blofish1 year ago
Tho I have moved on to other projects now, I still find myself being drawn back to this one.... (maybe it has a greater purpose)? I still want peeps to send feedback.
Sometimes I get tunnel vision, an inability to see outside the box, so others opinion help me to open up a bit more to the 'Full Picture'
thank you (and others) for your input.
kretzlord1 year ago
this begs to be attached to pedals
Blofish (author)  kretzlord1 year ago
After all the prototypes are done, Ill prolly add a way to hook it up to a bicycle to power it, I think this will be close to a commercial unit as the concept is fairly straight forward. Its just funny how long I thought of this on 'the back burner' and now the floodgates have just opened up on this.

Someone living off the grid could do a full load of laundry with ease and not have to use a washboard. Unless an item is really soiled, as somethings just require 'elbow grease'
voltan Blofish1 year ago
Bicycle power sounds great! One must be careful not to pedal too fast, or the centrifugal force might just plaster the laundry to the side like a spin cycle.
Blofish (author)  voltan1 year ago
Very good observation, as that is just what will happen if you speed clean!
Nice article. Not what I was looking for, but close enough for me to slightly modify and get what I DO want. I need to write up an article on my project.

Thanks!

Blofish (author)  johngriswold1 year ago
I hope you find what your looking for...