I was just about to lay down $170 for a compost tumbler, but after seeing them up close, I knew there had to be a better and cheaper way (for a tumbler... not just a pile 🙂 ). One of the first hits on youtube was this guy's home made tumbler. Looks nice, and offers the most interesting ventilation system which seems like it would beat all the store bought alternative. He offers up the plans for his tumbler. I'm going to have plenty of materials compost from the yard and kitchen, so I decided I wanted two tumblers, and figured I could modify these plans accordingly. I found a person on craigslist selling those exact same barrels for cheap, so I picked up 2 (plus another one for a rain collection barrel).
Making the Stand
Stratman4u's plans are comprehensive. I printed them out and went to Lowe's. Bought everything almost verbatim, but doubled or lengthened up where needed.
Modifying the plans to make a dual stand was fairly simple, and the only major change is the center upright/foot joint. I added some extra wood so that everything could be fastened together.
Modifying the Barrels
I found that making the stand was the easy part. I had to scrap some PVC during after some trial and error. Here are a couple tips:
- Find the mold seam in the barrel that bisects it through the plane in which your axle will reside. Your hole will line up perfectly.
- Go ahead and mount the closet flange. I used short, outdoor wood screws (the barrel plastic is thick... they will hold well). Insert the 3" pipe at the "half way" point in the flange, so you can go further in, or back out, to line up the axle holes you drill. Mark where you think they should be, and drill them.
- I used a two part epoxy for any gluing.
My total cost was around $100. I'm pretty happy with the cost because I now have two tumblers, and the venting on these is so much better. For getting the compost out of the barrels, I figure I can throw a tarp underneath, and then drag it to wherever I need it, or if I need only small amounts, a 5 gallon bucket.