This Instructable will show how to make a gravity feed bird feeder from some salvaged PVC pipe, cheap and forgotten Frisbee, and a few PVC plumbing fixtures.
Last Cedar and Plexiglas bird feeder (A Gift) met it's demise after about 15 years of long cold winters and hot humid summers. Still useful and intact is the post and squirrel baffle.
I could not bring myself to pay $30-$40 for another feeder, so had to figure out a way to make a new one at a fraction of the cost.
Due to the materials and tools I already had, total cost for this project to me was about $14.
The concept comes from a deer feeder I built some years ago.
Entering this in two contests, so if you like, please vote.
Animals in the Wild contest
Step 1: Materials
This really is a simple (relative to the tools you have) project with minimal supplies needed.
- 4"x18" PVC pipe. I had a 3 foot section just laying around the garage. So cost to me was FREE. This will hold the bird feed.
- TKO 3" x 4" PVC DWV Clost Flange: Connects to base of feed tube and allow birds to access feed. $6.24
- PVC DWV Cap: Lid for the feed tube to keep critters and weather out. $7.71
- Pull Knob: re-purposed from a old drawers. FREE
- Cheap Frisbee: Freebie I pulled out of the kids outdoor toy bin. They'll never notice it missing. FREE
- Self-Drilling Screws: Had some of these laying around. Need about 10 of these to screw base flange to frisbee and flange to feed tube.
- Primer: Be sure you buy a primer that works on plastic. About $4 per can. I had extra in the cabinet... used about 1/2 a can.
- Paint: Spare paint in the cabinet from another project.
Step 2: Tools
These are the tools I used, but I am sure you can can make things happen with some other basic tools you have handy
- Marking pen.
- Sawzall to cut feed tube to 18 inch length. Hacksaw will work fine
- Flush Cut Saw: If you don't have a saw similar to this yet, I highly recommend it. Bought this years ago to do some finish work around the house. Very handy little hand saw for detailed cuts. Used this to cut the feed notches out of the base and tube. Constantly finding uses for this saw.
- Screwdriver or drill with driver bit to drive screws.
- Compass/Scribe tool to scribe circle cutout on frisbee.
- Large piece of cardboard to use as drop cloth under pieces for priming and painting.
- 1/8 inch drill bit to drill drainage holes in frisbee and top cap for pull knob.
- Paint brush to paint.
- Artist to paint.
Step 3: Marking and Cutting Base Flange and Feed Tube
- Mark and cut your 4" diameter PVC feed tube to 18" or your desired length. No specific reason I went with 18" inches. Just seemed like comfortable size.
- Mark and cut notches in base flange with flush cut saw. I put 3 notches in about 1 inch wide each for feed to drop out with gravity.
- Mark and cut notches in feed tube. I inserted the base tube into the flange that had the notches cut and traced the opening. Cut notches out of feed tube.
- Temporarily fit base flange to feed tube.
NOTE: For the vertical cuts of the notches I used the flush cut saw, then used the 1/8 inch drill bit to drill a series of holes for the horizontal line. I kept working the drill with holes until the notch came out. Hacksaw or some other cutting tool could work too.
Step 4: Install Pull Knob
Pretty simple... Drill a 1/8 inch hole in center of cap and insert screw and knob.
NOTE: Thickness of PVC is about 1/4 inch. I had to cut my screw down about a 1/4 inch to ensure a snug and tight fit.
Step 5: Mark and Cut Circle in Frisbee Feed Tray
- Use compass to scribe a 4 1/4 inch circle on frisbee. Circle must be big enough to let base flange knockout rest flush against frisbee.
- Cut hole. As you can see... not the prettiest hole. Nobody will see it anyways. LOL! I hacked through frisbee by just drilling a series of holes along the scribe line. Got the job done!
Step 6: Attached Base Flange to Feed Tray
- Flip upside down and feel for the edge of the the metal ring. Drill a series of drainage holes. This will let rainwater drain from Frisbee feed tray.
- Flip right side up. Use self drilling screws to attach frisbee feed tray to base flange using the holes already in the flange.
Step 7: Dry Fit
Dry fit everything together. If there are any modifications you want to make, then do them now before priming.
NOTE: That object to the right of the feeder is the mount that will be attached to the bottom of the feeder after priming and painting. That part will insert into the post and baffle unit That will be the last item attached before placing on the post.
Step 8: Prime All Parts
- Before priming be sure all parts are clean. Because my feed tube was scrap that I salvaged, it had some dirt on it that you may have noticed in previous images. Little soap and water did the trick.
- Take your parts to a safe place to prime with a primer that will adhere to plastic.
- Follow directions for application from manufacturer of primer
- I put two coats on about 20 minutes apart. Will paint in about 24 hours.
Step 9: Assemble All Parts
- Use one self drilling screw for each flange to connect base to feed tube.
- Get ready for painting!
Step 10: Painting a Base Coat and Artwork
Painting your bird feeder. After about 24 hours to let your primer coat cure, get the paint colors of your choice. We used an exterior latex paint. Again, extra paint we had stored in the cabinet from another project.
- Apply a good base coat. Doesn't have to be neat, just artistic!
- Let dry for a few hours
- Let your creativity flow with your artwork.
- Our resident 10 and 7 year old artists loved taking part in the project.
Step 11: Attach Mounting Plate
This mounting plate came with the post and squirrel baffle. I simply salvaged it from the old bird feeder that met it's demise.
- Drill Pilot Holes
- Drive 1 inch screws to attach mounting plate to bottom of flange knockout plate.
- Turn upright and insert mount into post.
Step 12: Installation
- Place your post and baffle where you want feeder located.
- Insert mounting plate into post.
- Open top of feeder and fill will favorite feed.
- Place cap on feeder.
- Sit back and wait for the birds to come.
Looking for feedback on different types of bird feed. I pretty much buy the best deal available.
If you like, please vote Animals in the Wild contest and Outside contest.