Introduction: Tumbling Portable Composter

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I wanted to make a tumbling composter that was portable and super easy to make. Using sawhorses and ubolts allows me to move it anywhere. Took us about a hour to make and cost about $50 bucks!

Step 1: Items Needed

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One 55 gallon food grade barrel, 2 sawhorses, 2 ubolts, hinges, door latches. metal or wooden pole, a couple of cheap handles. You'll need a hole saw, drill and jigsaw.

Step 2: Mark the Center of the Barrel

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Mark the center of top and bottom. Then using a hole saw cut out a hole big enough for your pole to go through.

Step 3:

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Drill a random band of holes every 3 inches or so for ventilation

Step 4:

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Find the middle of the sawhorse and drill holes for the u-bolts.

Step 5:

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Cut out a door with a jigsaw. Use the hinges to reattach and the latches to keep the door closed when you spin.

Step 6:

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Place pole through the holes you cut and slip pole into the ubolts. We placed ours close to the garden so we can turn the door down and add directly to the garden or place a wheel barrow underneath the catch compost.

Step 7: Feeding the Drum

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Place your composting material in through the door. Lock it up and give it a spin. It does get heavy so handle placed randomly will help spin it.

Step 8: Reap the Rewards

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Keeps a garden healthy.


admin (author)2009-05-05

This is a great Instructable, but you need to add a main image of the final project to the intro step. Please do that and leave me a message when you have so that we can publish your work. Thanks!

AndrewKFletcher (author)2009-07-19

Scuse me for Butting in but why don't you just roll the composter on the floor?

niels70 (author)AndrewKFletcher2012-03-02

Hey Andy Dog
I like your question except in my case, I have a tiny garden and no place to roll the drum to.

But an awesome question none the less.

South Africa

Grafton (author)AndrewKFletcher2009-08-28

I just kick mine around the yard. It's the same design and materials but without the stand or the pole. I don't see any disadvantage to this except that colonies of ants will take up residence under it if you don't kick it around every couple of days. One does want to have two. Fill one up and start another and kick the first around for a couple weeks or whatever to finish cooking. It doesn't smell so long as you keep the right sort of balance of materials in it. If the contents get slimey and clay-ey and stinky, chuck in a bunch of dead leaves or newspapers or cotton rags. Because the thing is enclosed it doesn't draw rats and pests like a compost heap, and you can turn it every day with little effort, so it will eat all kinds of things that you're not normally supposed to compost, like meat and bones.

AndrewKFletcher (author)Grafton2009-08-29

Yes makes sense to me also. We just use traditional composter as we don't generate much waste having 4 bull terriers that clean up after dinner :) My thermal solar panel :)

thesagedragon (author)2010-04-03

did you cut yourself?

thesagedragon (author)2010-04-03

hey Sis, that looks simple and easy to do, but very effective. I want one. A friend has a couple of 5 gallon square containers. I will try them Love your garden. I need some tomatoes.;) hint hint;)

dsandds2003 (author)2009-09-22

I think this a very good Instructables. I live on a hilley area. I NEED the stand when I build mine. It would NOT be a chasing a blue barrel down hill. I plan on putting two by the chicken coop. Also one closer to the house...I may need a few on my 5 acres as I also have LOTS of leaves.

unbentcrayfish (author)2009-09-22

nice garden!

surculus (author)2009-05-28

compost bins are just wood boxes that you throw the stuff in then turn ot over with a pitch fork mine doesn't stink so I'd say this won't either, just makes it easier to turn it all over to aerate it

Ninzerbean (author)2009-05-08

Something I have never understood is when can you use the compost if you are putting stuff in every day or so and it takes awhile to get compost-y? Is it better to have two units going so when one is done you can leave it alone for awhile and work on feeding the other one? Great photos.

mskittylitter (author)2009-05-07

Thanks!! No smell noted yet. The barrel cooks about 6 hours in sun everyday. I added a gaggle of worms yesterday. Talk about happy worms!!

Taotaoba (author)2009-05-06

Great! I want to built one if I can find a barrel. Does it smell? I don't want complaints from neighbors. Thanks for sharing.

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