Disclaimer: I found the plan for this compost bin on the internet about a year ago and I am unable to locate the original site that I obtained them from. If anyone knows who the original author is feel free to contact me and I will give credit appropriately.
When we decided to start gardening we decided that we wanted to compost. We wanted to try both hot and cold composting and we wanted to try a compost barrel/bin. So I found some plans, altered them slightly, and built our first tumbling compost bin. To build this I used:
- 2″ x 6″ pressure treated boards
- stainless steel hardware
- a food grade barrel
- oil based paint (similar to this but in green as that is what I had on hand)
- 1 piece of 3″ PVC pipe
- 3″ pipe cap
- 3″ closet flange
- Piece of screen
- Piece of scrap aluminum or plastic larger than the closet flange
- Two cotter pins
- 1″ x 3′ piece of galvanized pipe
- Two pieces of galvanized pipe or PVC pipe
- Two 1″ PVC threaded plugs
- PVC primer
- PVC glue
I started by building the frame out of 2″ x 6″ pressure treated wood.
As you can see there are two legs, two cross-members, and two up-right supports. I angled the feet of the legs just to dress it up a little. I picked an arbitrary angle that I felt looked good. I bolted the upright supports to the legs and screwed the cross-members to the uprights. Measurements for the frame pieces are:
- 2 Legs – 33 1/2″
- 2 Cross-members – 28 1/2″
- 2 Upright supports – 34″
- 8 Carriage bolts – 3 1/2″
I then drilled two holes in the upright supports 1 1/2″ in diameter 2″ from the top of the upright. This will allow for the install of the axle for the barrel to rotate around later. I then drilled matching holes in the barrel and a 3″ diameter hole in the direct middle of the bottom of the barrel to install the PVC pipe through. I then drilled a series of holes in the PVC pipe. I made lines down the length of the pipe approximately 1 1/4″ apart (this isn’t exact, but it isn’t necessary that it be exact) and then drilled holes the length of the pipe beginning below the level where the PVC cap will rest. On alternating rows I staggered the holes to help offset them. There are eight rows of holes in all. This is time consuming but will help to aerate the compost. I then glued the PVC cap in place, glued the closet flange onto the PVC pipe, and installed this through the hole in the bottom of the barrel. I just screwed the closet flange to the bottom of the barrel. I did not snap a picture while I was performing this step so this one will have to do. This is after the install of the center aerating column.
To determine the location of the axle holes in the center aerating column, I put a small amount of grease on the end of the axle pipe and slid it through the axle holes in the barrel and let it touch the PVC which left a mark exactly where I needed to drill the hole. I then removed the PVC shaft and drilled the axle holes and then reinstalled it. I then moved on to the screen on the bottom of the closet flange. I put a screen here to help keep things from falling out and to keep unwanted bugs from making their home in the aerator column. To hold the screen in place a cut a small flange out of some scrap aluminum and screwed it to the closet flange.
At this point I put the barrel onto the frame to obtain the measurement of the two spacers that I needed to cut to keep the barrel centered on the axle when spinning.
Painting the frame was the next order of business. I chose to use some hunter green paint that I had left over from another project. I would recommend an oil based exterior paint or barn paint for the frame as it will periodically be exposed to water, especially if it is going to be exposed to the elements.
At this point it was time to assemble the barrel and finish up the last few steps. I drilled a hole through each end of the axle to place cotter pins through to keep the axle in place. I then drilled two 1″ holes on each side and placed the PVC plugs. I then drilled a series of small holes in the plugs. This will allow oxygen through the top.
You are ready to compost. Have a great day and God bless!