DIY compost tumbler | How to make a compost tumbler from a 55 gallon drum


okay welcome back to folks and friends in today’s video we are going to turn this 55 gallon poly drum into a compost tumbler [Music] [Applause] [Music] okay so we’re gonna take this 55-gallon drum we’re going to turn this into a compost tumbler and basically it’s a very easy design the design that I came up with for this is going to be very simple and very easy for you to use and it’s going to be very minimal amount of material needed now this drum you can pretty much pick those up on eBay for I forgot I pay ten or fifteen dollars a drum for this and if you’re very savvy and you know where to get these drums you can probably get them for free most food suppliers restaurant suppliers things like that we’ll use these drums for food grade stuff maybe syrups and things like that they throw the drums out when they’re done because it’s really no use for them and so there are people who collect those drums and they sell them on eBay so I bought like 10 drums or something like that and I pay 10 bucks apiece something and the shipping was like 200 believe it or not because it had to come in commercial Freight so the shipping will cost the money but if you’re savvy enough you can find these drums either free or you can find these on eBay or if I could find some links on Amazon I will give you links to these drums on Amazon as well as the some of the other hardware you’re going to need to actually do this so you’ll be able to buy pretty much everything you need off of Amazon to be able to build this build so one of the first things we got to do with this drum is well just so just to make it note first before we get started in this particular case this is a recycled drum I was using it for rainwater the barrel froze one year and I got a split in it but I’m still going to use the drum for composting there is one of these plugs missing in my particular case so when you buy these drums they should come with both plugs in them if not you’re going to have to try to figure something out and put you know some kind of a plug in it but they should come with the plugs in it make sure you ask for that because you don’t want to assume that and then get them without the plugs and you’re all mad and you’re mad at me okay but the other problem here in my case is that this drum split right there at the seam no big deal guys this also has a hole in the bottom because I had piping coming out of it so I got to plug that up too no big deal we could still do the video let’s get started let’s mark this out and cut it open and see what it looks like okay so I marked out the door the store is roughly gonna be 12 inches there’s like two seams here I’m just staying within the seams so the door is roughly gonna be a 12 by 12 door I wouldn’t make the door too much bigger than that because it’s just going to be not you know too much weight when it’s upside down might cause it to break so we’re gonna keep this door around this size here just so you know I’m gonna cut that with my circular saw right there and I already started cutting it here just to make sure it’ll go through and it will cut it no problem okay so now the door is cut and we cleaned it up you want to make sure you take off all the burrs so the next thing you’re going to want to do is cut four pieces of whatever you is you want to use I’m using two by three or two by four in this case you can use that if you feel at that my raw and you know then you want to use something else and feel free to use whatever you want but you want to make sure that it’s high enough to be able to cause the material that’s inside of there to catch on it and kind of rotate around the top and then flop down you know what I’m saying you want it to kind of go up and then flop that’s the idea of that’s all these do if you don’t have these in here what will happen inside the drum is everything will begin to slide inside it air because it’s smooth so there’s nothing to catch it and cause it to tumble and flip so once it starts getting broken down and material the dirt dirt or the material in air will begin to slide and it won’t be effective you need to be able to tumble that’s why they call it a compost tumbler you need to tumble that’s what makes a compost happen real fast so we need to cut four pieces in my case I’m using the two by three we need to cut four pieces of two by three you want to roughly mark the center like I did there then we want to take that and attach it to the inside of the drum mark I marked it right there and there’s a mark right here so you want to roughly get it on on the inside you want to make sure you leave enough for this pass here we’re going to mount those perpendicular to each other so one here then one ninety degrees on the bottom then one on the side and one over here like a t on the end of each T so I want to make sure we got those four pieces cut and put in and we’re going to screw those in for us the screws go these are the kind of screws I’m using you could pretty much use whatever screws you want I don’t recommend using sheetrock screws but I like to use these kind of screws you can get these at Home Depot or Lowe’s they come in a box you can get the short ones this is what they look like this is what the head looks like it’s called a pan head screw I like these screws a lot when I’m working on projects like this because they’re nice and flat they don’t protrude out or galvanized and there’s got a nice finish winner done they’re not like a sheetrock screw doesn’t really want to finish nice diesel lock down things so I like these you can get these in 3/4 of an inch which is what these are that’s a 3/4 inch screw or you can get them I believe this is an inch or an inch and a quarter so you can get both sizes they don’t cost that much like fifteen or twenty dollars a box you buy both boxes you’re fine me I’m using what I have in stock so those are the screws that you want to use you got the wood we’re gonna cut let’s screw that in there we’ll take a look at what it looks like once it’s done okay so the woods all in we’re good to the wood we got these extra pieces and so the next thing we need to do is start working on the door and around the door which isn’t a big deal but I’m trying to design something that will work pretty good pretty solid and yet it’ll be durable as well as pretty easy for you to to build as well so what I’ve been working on with the door is I use these plates okay these are called stud guards these are generally what they use in air conditioning to put down on studs where your air conditioning duct passes through a wall you have this nail out to a stud so the sheet rockers don’t put screws in your your ductwork so these are for ductwork you can get these for plumbing and they’re a lot thinner these are full with two by four I believe see how they cover pretty much the whole 2×4 so these are the wide ones and that’s what I’m using here you don’t have to use this you can use pretty much anything you want you just want to create enough of a flange on here so you can get your material out once it’s done plus put material in it so what I did was is I’m bending these to the shape I can’t do it with one hand but I’m bending those basically to shape the barrel and then I slide them in here and I screw them in simple as that these screws now that I’m working with them a little bit they’re probably okay for now but I would highly recommend using rivets maybe aluminum rivets or stainless steel rivets I’m gonna eventually pull these scoobo City screws out and convert over to rivets so just keep that in mind I don’t have a rivet gun right now but when I get one it’s as easy as pulling the screw out just run your drill through it to make sure it’s clear put your rivet size in there that you’re using pop the rivet in you’re done all right so that’s the next thing we’re doing now is working on the flange for the door and one of the other things I have to do in order for me to do that is I also have to math the hinges so really buy any kind of hinges you want I had these in the shop so we’re just using the hinges that I had so basically they’re just regular barn door type shape hinges and I’m gonna screw those in with more screws but just for the sake of video we’re trying to get these lined up so you got to make sure when you put these hinges on you set them back a little bit so when you put your door on your hinges are not going to be you know they’re not gonna that way when you open your door it opens and closes without it you’ll say just make sure you set your hinges back a little bit don’t put this let me see here if you could see this I probably can’t even see me Sun is so bright today you don’t want to put this piece right where the groove is like you would normally do for a hint you want to set these back a little bit in this case so when you shut it your door lines up nice okay so the next thing we’re gonna do is finish this metal frame off on the inside here for the lip basically with this I’m just gonna take a piece on the side like this I can’t do it one hand cuz I’ll cut my fingers open with this it’s metal what we’re working with I’m going to slide that across I’m gonna remove that one screw pop that across put this one piece in here I’m going to fold another piece and I’m going to screw it all up and then put the door on and then we’ll come back and I’ll show you the final touches to the Tuda barrel we don’t have much more on the barrel to do I’m going to show you how I’m gonna secure the door I have a plan for that though I am planning a kind of a door hinge design but I don’t want to because this barrel has multi-use purposes and ways to deal with I’m gonna get into that once this thing’s done and complete we’ll demonstrate a few of the options why I designed it the way I did let’s finish this barrel up and then let’s get into the framework to spin the bow okay so we got the door on doors all good to go I do plan on drilling a couple holes in here but I’m not going to do that now so the door opens as you can see and you can reach your hand in there and do whatever it is you want to do alright so we’re going to go to the next step and we are going to build the frame for it to roll it on and pretty much that’s it now I was gonna plan to put a piece of wood on the back of this like a annex here like that so you’ve got something to grab and pull and turn but we’ll see how it turns with some weight in it because we’re gonna put some weight in here and some scraps and woods and we’re going to test it out if I needed then then I’ll add it but up until that point I really don’t think I’m gonna need it so we’ll see how that goes and if I decide that I want to add that then we’ll put that in there at the end of the video so what we’re gonna do to keep the door shut is we’re just gonna use two bungee cords I’ll put them on there once I build the frame I’ll show you how I’m gonna build the frame and how I set it up but we’re just going to use the bunch of doors to keep this shut a bunch of yours bungee cords to keep the door shut and that’s good enough and we’ll tumble and tumble and we’ll see how it all works and we’ll go over some of the other details and that’ll be pretty much it but let’s build that frame next okay so that’s it there it is that’s a completed compost tumbler okay so let’s take a look at it so the way I set it out again I have a hole here that I got to plug up this is a used barrel and I kind of struggled with a little because the barrel was a little bit deformed here because of this right there and you can see it caused me some issues as far as trying to get it straight the barrel got a little bit to form so it did make it things a little bit difficult but if you get a new barrel and you’re working with a new barrel you shouldn’t have as many problems now one thing to note with this there’s a lip on here and this lip caused me a little bit of trouble I had to reset those wheels a couple times until I got it close enough to where I’d like it I’d like to push this up into the inside a little bit more but the thing is is that this groove right here locks it in place that’s what keeps this thing staying on the rollers rather than falling off so for example let’s give this a spin see it stays on the rollers it is kind of hitting a little bit on the bottom over here a little bit so the wheels it turns out that the wheels are a little smaller than I like to have had for this so if you’re gonna buy wheels for this make sure you buy wheels that are going to be a little larger than what I used here so let’s take a look at the wheels and these are the wheels I used okay these wheels are probably inch and 3/4 maybe 2 inches from you know diameter I wouldn’t recommend using it I’d probably say go to a bigger wheel maybe a three inch wheel on both sides and spread them out a little bit more but you’ll get more height from where the bottom of the barrel is than this so you need to come up a little bit but these wheels are small I basically built this out of everything that I had around here I didn’t buy anything for this so I would say go with the bigger wheels that’s the only difference the other thing too is this last set of Castor’s you’re going to want to make sure it’s towards the end of one of these boards you’re going to want to make sure it’s close to one side so that lip kind of hangs past those that would just in case it’s in a way that way you don’t have a problem with it where it’s going to be riding in that track now the good thing about it as you can see is if I want to move this compost tumbler I could just simply lift the barrel up the way I did and take my tumbler like this you know just kick it away and I’ll let it go and that’s how I can move that thing so easily without me doing anything with it so if you want to be able to make a tumbler that’s not going to be too much of a problem for you to move this is the best way to do it now the other option you have is these two boards if you don’t line them up not just right but if you don’t line them up good it’ll kind of go off balance a little bit you’ve got to kind of line them up I find that somewhere around between 32 or 33 inches Center to Center is good for it if that seems to work pretty good again those two wheels in the front are going to be riding in that groove and the wheels in the back are generally going to be riding on the round part of the drum I’m going to talk about that it’s wrong in a minute I will wheel that back up now as you can see if I mean to move it all’s I got to do is drop the barrel roll it away pick these two pieces up and we’re gone most conventional compost tumblers you pretty much have to move the whole thing with the frame and they’re very cumbersome if you ask me so that’s why I never mess around with them because I don’t want something like that where I kind of have to fix it in one place you need to put that compost tumbler in different areas at different times of the year like during the summertime I can put my compost tumbler out here or out there whereas in the winter time I want my compost tumbler either in a garage where I got some extra space or I want to put my compost tumbler out here at the wintertime maybe somewhere over here something like that or close to the door where I do my cooking and everything and then that way you know when I’m done cooking I don’t have to walk all the way out and you know sub-zero or whether to go throw my scraps out I want to be able to do stuff pretty easily because the easier you make life for yourself the more likely and more successful you’ll be on using you know whatever it is that you’re using in life and you just want to make things easier not harder for yourself so it’s again it’s as simple as just you know just roll a barrel back out now the only disadvantage of leaving just those two wooden things the way they are is if you leave them like this and you move them they can become a problem trying to set it back up yeah that problem but I mean you’ve got to you got to stop and you know I can’t do all this one-handed like for example I could do everything here one-handed with a camera in my hand and still put this thing on here but the thing is I’m going to flip one of these boards over the answer to that solution is is to just screw you know a just screw a 2×4 across here or a piece of wood across that and a piece of wood across the back and you’re done that’s all you need to do just to keep it together but you don’t have to do that I didn’t do that I tried to make this tumbler as simple as possible you can build this thing in a couple hours and you’re rocking and rolling so wait let’s get this thing back on here see see how it flipped over on me because I’m trying to pull it on that and there’s nothing holding it so now I gotta flip it back no big deal I mean it’s just I have to flip back it for me it’s it’s I don’t the more the less I have to do to let each your life is right that’s the way I look at it so that’s it and you’re back in action again we moved it off the roller so we put it back on you’re done now as far as getting access to it let’s take a look at the access all you got to do for example I’m putting my leg here you know just holding it back is just pull a bunch of cord back walk to the Sun this is enough and that’s it you just open the door up as you need it alright just like that and when you’re done you shut the door and you’re good to go again don’t put holes in here I put a hole in here because it was a water barrel at one time and now it’s a compost bin again there’s a hole here eventually that’s got to get plugged up and I do recommend drilling some holes in here in the back and in the front just like maybe quarter inch holes a couple dozen twenty-four holes around the edges or any around the middle it or something like that you do want a little air to get into that so it doesn’t become anaerobic so you are gonna have to drill some holes in there eventually for now I got these that should be good for now but you are gonna want to get some holes in here you know like a little grit of holes I didn’t add them in but I will add them eventually I’m not too worried about it now I kind of want to see if I don’t add the holes what would happen because I hear and read that you know they need to breathe or else it becomes anaerobic does it right you know so I’m kind of curious to see it for myself and eventually yeah I’m gonna pop the holes in it really the only other thing you can do to this to really modify it is you can get cinder blocks and put them underneath here and raise this whole thing up to the height of like what a wheelbarrow is so when you’re ready for it to empty all you got to do is spend your tumblr pull your wheelbarrow underneath and this should be wide enough for you to get a wheelbarrow under it if not you can spread them a little bit more I may have to add that wood because that without that wood this thing kind of rocks a little yeah I use old wood too by the way I might do an update video to this in the future once things get rolling I get some food in there some scraps I might update the wheels I might raise up so there’s a bunch of things I may do so we will do an update video later on down the year will give you an idea on how it works but yeah build one of these if you can get the barrels and you can get these basic things that I showed you build it though what are you waiting for I mean it’s as easy as doing it that way I mean I mean those compost tumblers you see online which are good they’re good tumblers and they’re fine but they’re like anywhere between 200 and I’ve seen them as much as eight hundred a thousand dollars for those tumblers and here we just built this thing like I told you you can get this you can get these on eBay for $10 if you buy quantity I bought I bought them 10 at a time because I was using them for rain barrels but you might have to pay 15 or 25 for a single one and then you got the freight so you can generally however you get these barrels you could either get them free or you can go online and buy and pretty cheaply delivered so that’s the one thing the four wheels what does that gotta cost you maybe 10 dollars for the 4 wheels to combine maybe maybe 15 depending on the type of wheel you buy no you don’t need nothing fancy or expensive you need to bungee cords roughly like this that’ll probably cost you another 1 3 bucks something like that so you know give you know figure something for that and then to 2 by 3 you don’t even need 2 by 4 is 2 by 3’s for the inside and then you need a box of screws and like I said a couple pieces of metal it doesn’t have to be the metal I showed you earlier over here you see the metal I used you could use whatever you want guys it really don’t matter you could even use wood if you want really I just use the metal cause I had it and why not use what I have so but outside the die and the two hinges you’re good to go is this wood when you put this wood in here don’t put screws all the way down the end with this barrel curl like this it’s only flat in the middle so when you put a piece of wood in here there’s a huge space on the inside of this thing here so you either have to add a spacer or just screw it to the inside in the middle and let’s leave the rest of it alone you know it’s a big space back here don’t try to screw the whole thing down because it’s gonna really distort the barrel a lot and you don’t want to do that because now it’s not gonna roll on the rollers right alright so you know you can see how will you see this to set this up and when you’re ready to close this thing up like this just shut the lid kind of hard to do it one hand cuz this bungee is tight you know pull your bungee over like that and you’re good to go now the only other thing I might add to this which might be a problem once this thing starts filling up is I gotta add a cross to the back of this thing made out of two by four like that I’m going to add a cross to that so I can put my hands on it and pull it that way because when this thing gets really heavy this might be this might not be as easy to turn as you can see I’m turning it by hand you know it might not be that easy to turn so we might have to add something to that in the end again I’ll put that in the update video as I see problems occur I make updates you’ll probably want to watch that video and just see but you could still build this the way I showed you with the metal and still have it started and running and any updates that you see from here it’s just addition to what we already did so that’s it that was our compost tumbler made out of a 55-gallon Colleague drum don’t forget to Like share and subscribe and I will see you on the next one take care [Music] you

2 thoughts on “DIY compost tumbler | How to make a compost tumbler from a 55 gallon drum

  1. I only know how to make a Tumblr blog (but not many people know what that is). So this came in handy!

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