Convert a Bathtub Into a Water Trough.

Introduction: Convert a Bathtub Into a Water Trough.

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This is how I converted an old cast iron bathtub into a water trough for the sheep grazing on my land.

The sever winter caused the old concrete trough to split so badly that it was beyond repair, I priced a replacement one and decide that it would be much cheaper to convert the old cast iron bathtub that was lying in the corner of the yard.

This type of water trough is quite common on farm in Northern Ireland, my Dad mad many of this type of water trough for the local farmers.

This is a simple build that is a cheap alternative to a cast concrete drinking trough

No dimensions have been given for this Ible as not all tubs are the same.

Tools used,

Drill + drill bits
tin snips

Thanks for looking and I hope you find this of some use.

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Step 1: What You Need.

Step 2: Fitting the Ball Valve.

Remove the taps and overflow fittings from the bathtub.

The overflow hole is used to fit the ball valve.

If the hole is to large for the threaded tail on the ball valve you will nee to make some kind of metal plate that you can use to mount the ball valve through the hole.

I use a 6" piece of 2" flat iron, to mount the ball valve, I got the guy in the iron works to punch a 22mm hole it the bar (much quicker than me trying to drill a hole that big)

The ball valve was fitted to the plate and the holes marked on the bath tub.

The enamel on the bath tub will make it seriously hard to drill, roughly mark out where the holes are to go and use a center punch and a hammer to chip off the enamel and the drilling will be much easier.

Once the ball valve is fitted add an 90* bend that is suitable for the size of water pipe that you are going to use.

Step 3: Seal Up the Plug Hole.

The plug hole needs to be sealed up with some thing watertight and permanent.

Before sealing up the tub you should wash out the tub to remove any dirt and algae that has built up in the tub.

I first filled the plug hole with some Tech 7 sealer and then pushed a metal plug into the sealant before applying more sealant over the plug and soothing it off.  I used Tech 7 as it is non toxic and is OK to be submersed in water.

A small amount of cement can also be used to seal up the plug hole.

Step 4: The Cover.

Sheep , cows and horses are complete vandals when it comes to the ball valves, so a cover is needed to stop one of them from stomping on the ball valve or chewing at the float etc. all of which will lead to the trough overflowing and you running up a water bill.

The cover need to have a lip that is folded down below the waterline to stop the animals getting access to the ball valve.

I used some light gauge galvanized steel sheet about 0.5mm that I had a scrap of and an old washing machine cover.

I made the cover in 2 parts because I did not have a large enough sheet to make a 1 piece cover.

The cover should have no sharp corners or edges as animals tend to use every hard surface as a scratching post.

Once fitted the edges of the cover where hammered down with a hammer to conform with the edge of the tub and to remove any sharp edge that may lead to an animal getting snagged.

Step 5: Finished.

Now the trough is ready to be installed into the field and be connected up to the water supply.

Thanks for looking and iI hope you find this idea useful.

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    6 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Was the ball valve you used a common everyday fitting with a float added to it or is it one designed for the float system to begin with?

    Dr Qui
    Dr Qui

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The ball valve is a very common everyday fitting that is designed to operate with a float.

    They are also known as ballcock or float valve depending where you are from. you will find them in almost ever water storage tank


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Or inside an old toilet you otherwise have no use for. More recycling! It doesn't matter whether your intent is to save the environment or your pocketbook, results tell.

    Dr Qui
    Dr Qui

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Let me tell you this little tale of a £700+ water bill (approx $1150) and you can quote me on the conversation we had about recycling the 50+ year old water fitting. if you get a massive bill you will say " #### the environment and recycling i'm spending £5 for a new water fitting so we don't get another bill like that one" 

    I did recycle the old fittings for the scrap metal.  I heard to many tales of water damage and huge water bills due to old reused water fittings from my days working in the hardware store to even think about reusing old brass fittings, the new plastic fitting have much more resistance to freezing temperatures and are quicker to fit and have less tendency to leak.

    Dr Qui
    Dr Qui

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction


    It was more about trying to save some money, a concrete trough plus the fittings would be over £60 while this cost me just the price of the fittings at about £14.

    This type of trough is very common where I live, my father made many of them for local farmers when he was working, the farmer would bring the bath tub to him and he would add the fittings and cover.