DIY compost machine
Amazing Trundling Compost Machine ( aka DIY cordless rotating sieve, sifter or trommel ), and how to make it
Peat free, well sifted compost, for (almost) free!
Sales of seeds and compost have rocketed this year, due to the massive increase in numbers of people wanting to sow and grow their own vegetables and flowers during lockdown. Supplies of compost ran out at some garden centres. If like me your compost heap is the ‘pile it and leave it’ variety, then although what I dig out of it is still ‘black gold’ for mulching the vegetable plot, the lumps and clumps mean it’s not ideal for sowing seeds.
No such problem for one keen gardener from Sandford, who has made this amazing trundling compost machine, which turns out full barrowloads of fluffy mixed-in compost, spitting the sticks and clumps out the other end. An ordinary cordless drill powers the machine from one side ( the drive side ), turning it steadily, so that the gardener using it has both hands free to shovel the unsifted, rotted-down compost into the drum. Here is a photo of the drum and support at rest against a hotbed, and then another with the compost machine working away.
There is a video showing the machine working here : https://youtu.be/Yjwf6qNgcOE, with another Australian guide linked to in that video, which is useful if you decide to make it.
Apart from the fact that you get a large amount of sifted compost in a very short time, what is really impressive is that this amazingly effective machine was put together using mainly recycled bits, and spare items someone handy will probably have in their shed, or behind their shed, anyway.
Wood supports came from a pallet, cut to size to fit the wheelbarrow, the drum was made from 3 old bicycle wheel rims, I hygiplas ( plastic ) chopping board, 2 short bits of steel or aluminium rod for the non drive side, some cotter pins to hold the wheels to the axles, chicken wire, some spare battens to hold the rims parallel to each other, wood glue, 8mm bolts, screws and washers to hold the wire, rims and battens together, some paint to preserve the frame, and a tub of some sort to cover the drill.
Items bought were the 4 trolley wheels obtainable from ebay https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/222280522637 and 1 aluminium or steel rod for the drive side. This needs to be long, as you want the tumbler length plus enough extra for the drill to attach to, around 1 m, again obtainable from ebay https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/202887564632
If like me you know your best chance of getting an amazing trundling compost machine is to persuade someone else to make it, then at least you know what bits to get for it!