Sieve for compost or soil

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  #1  
Old 01-27-02, 10:19 AM
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Sieve for compost or soil

Does anyone have plans or ideas about how to make a system to screen out large material from the compost pile as I get ready to use or stockpile it?

I have a pile in the corner of the yard where all my garden waste, leaves, etc. goes (except the diseased stuff) and about once a year I dig it out a shovelful at a time and screen out the usable compost using a makeshift 'A'-frame (step ladder) supporting a home made sieve (about 2 1/2' x 3' x 3/4" screening) in a sling type arrangement. It's A LOT of work (especially in mid August with temps normally in the 90F's and humidity soaring), but I have been recovering 1 - 2 cu yds annually for the garden beds.

I'd like to figure out a way to make a more stable frame or even a cylindrical sieve using readily found materials - I've salvaged a 3/4 HP electric motor from our old furnace and there are lots of box type building stores around for the other materials. Just one thing - it would have to come apart for storage, 'cause storage space is the ONE thing I'm short on... (well that & money, of course.....)

TIA for any suggestions

Howie
 
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  #2  
Old 01-29-02, 04:28 AM
Gami
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Hi Howie,

Fancy that! You're asking a question!

It sounds like you want something a little more elaborate than what I use. I don't know how you'd attach a motor to it, but here's what I do.

I made a form out of 2x4's big enough to fit over a wheel barrel so the WB can support it, and stapled hardware cloth to the bottom. Then I made another one and stapled chicken wire to it. These don't take up much space as you can stand them up when not in use. I like having the different wires on the bottom as you can sift and get different consistencies. The hardware cloth one is especially good for sifting peatmoss to make hypertufa.

It works for me.

Gami
 
  #3  
Old 01-29-02, 03:38 PM
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Hi Gami - Welcome back

Hope your sanding and J. are not getting the better of you ...

The arrangement that you have is pretty much what I'm doing now, except I have the screen frame suspended from a stepladder so I don't have to support the weight while I shake it. I usually have between 1 to 2 cu yds of finished compost each season, so I was just looking for an easier way to sift the compost (getting older <and a tiny bit lazier> now, so anything that saves a bit of my energy is a good thing....). Also, as I get more tired, the loads get a little bigger and I tend to shake the whole thing harder and the ladder gets a bit tippy while I try to finish the job so I can get on to something that I actually ENJOY doing!!!! (I hope you can get the jist of where I'm going with that...)

Which brings me back to the motor and my design question...

Thanx for your reply, though - It is great to know you are still alive and kicking

Best Regards

Howie
 
  #4  
Old 01-30-02, 06:33 AM
Gami
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Hi Howie,

Oops! I hope someone comes up with an idea to use your motor. My husband takes motors out of EVERYTHING we get rid of. There MUST be some use for them rather than being in the way! You're NOT that old!

If my FIL were still alive, I'm sure he'd come up with something. He made a grinder using an ice cream freezer motor and some other unique tools.

The sanding is going good, so far. I'm afraid I'm going to get a little bored with it soon. Jordan's such a treat. She found out Grammy expects her to mind, so we're getting along beautifully. I'm going to sneak in a photo of her on Sierra. I guess if everyone is showing their dogs, I can sneak her in somewhere.

Gami
 
  #5  
Old 01-31-02, 05:39 PM
Ringworm
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I worked with a woman who had an old "soil shredder"
At least thats what she called it.... We'd shovel the compost in the top and it'd shoot out the soil, and drop all sticks and rocks and whatnot out the bottom.

I wish I'd paid closer attention, because my plant nursery could use one :-) well, sure beats the 2x4's and hardware cloth (my current way of dealing with it)

I'd look up soil shredder and maybe see if there is any info on it.

Wyrm
 
  #6  
Old 01-31-02, 06:02 PM
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Hello Wyrm

Was it a rotating cylinder or drum that sifted the good stuff thru while passing the bigger out the end?

That's kinda what I had in mind, but I'm not sure how to rig up the motor so it won't get in the way of or be compromised by the compost and other stuff...

Also don't want to be building a monstrosity that will take a crane or forklift to move around (and I want to be able to take it apart for easy storage...)

Do ya think I'm asking for the moon ?

Howie
 
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Old 02-01-02, 04:58 PM
Gami
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Hi Howie,

Since you asked this question several days ago and you haven't received a reply to use your motor, chances are you are asking for the moon!

It's a very interesting thought tho.

Since you're in Canada, did you have to take those tests in school that told what your interests were. Mine came out mechanical. I must admit they hit the nail on the head.

Gami
 
  #8  
Old 02-01-02, 05:42 PM
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Hi Gami

You may be right - I was watching a commercial soil shredder a while back and got the hair-brained idea that I could build a (cheap and lightweight) version of the drum type sieve they were using - the unit that Wyrm referred to was probably like what I want, but until I get into the super-tinkering mode and have unlimited time and funds, it'll probably just remain an idea in the back of my head...

Guess the frame, screen and ladder are going to see at least another season...

We never had to take those aptitude tests when I was going to school, although we did have to choose between General; Arts & Sciences; or Tech before we went to high school (I took tech), then Guidance Councellors there helped direct us to an appropriate Post-Secondary institution if we wanted to continue after graduating... Of course Way Back Then, guys couldn't take cooking and girls couldn't become auto mechanics... (how times have changed )

And btw, one can NEVER have enough reclaimed motors - the minute you throw one out, you'll need to buy a new one to replace it (and besides, if you ever need an anchor for your boat...)

Bestest

Howie
 
  #9  
Old 02-02-02, 08:51 AM
Ringworm
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Well shoot... was like 8 years ago.
It was a red box pretty much on a few legs.
There was a rotating part on the inside similiar to a woodchipper.

It had an electric motor and a small one at that, so one may assume that it wasn't that strong of a motor.
This old lady and her husband built alotta thier own stuff, it might have been built by them. (like their flame weeder that they built outta an old gas grill, kinda scary really)

later,
R.Wyrm
 
  #10  
Old 02-02-02, 09:38 AM
Gami
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Hi Howie,

I thought those questions were rather odd for someone in their teens. I remember one being would you rather play with a doll or take it apart to see how it works. It must have done something, but I don't remember what it was. There were a lot of questions like that, and I was amazed that more girls didn't come out mechanical. I wish the house cleaned itself so I had more time for what I call fun things.

I hesitated to suggest this before, thinking it might sound a little silly. But when working with concrete, the ones that are really serious about it have vibrating tables. One guy made his own by blowing up a large inner tube, strapped a piece of plywood to it and taped an orbital sander to it. The sander gave it enough vibration to get rid of air bubbles.

So maybe you could somehow make your screen vibrate?

I'm sure when my husband retires he'll think of something to do with ALL those motors. He's creative like his Dad was.

I hope you come up with something!

Gami
 
  #11  
Old 02-05-02, 05:09 AM
Antony W. Serio
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Making a vibrating screen shouldn't be too difficult with your spare furnace motor. A pager 'vibrator' is nothing but a small electric motor with a cam on the shaft. When the motor is turned on, the cam causes to pager to vibrate. You could make a similar setup with the motor being stationary and mounted with the shaft vertical. Mount a cam on the shaft, and have the cam be in a groove on the edge of a seperate screen.
 
  #12  
Old 02-05-02, 03:14 PM
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Now THAT'S what I love about this board...

Here I was thinking 'big rotating cylinder' that'd be a nightmare to design and build and very hard to store, and everyone else is thinking shaker screen !!!

Thanks for straightening me (and the screen) on this one!!!

Now when the snow melts and the warmer temps arrive, I can bodge together a shaker table and sift away to my heart's content!!!

Thanks everyone!!!

Howie
 
  #13  
Old 02-05-02, 07:50 PM
Gami
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Hi Howie,

Glad to hear your problem is solved. Thanks for asking it! That's one motor setting around that will be put to good use. You got that right..."that's why I like this place"!

Thanks, Antony for your input! I figured it would work, but couldn't imagine how. I probably would have taped or wired a sander to the center of the screen! Now onto hubby to figure out how to attach the cam.

Gami
 
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