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Creative ideas and uses for parts from broken washers or dryers -

 
Jay Angler
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The subject came up in another thread about how many broken or unwanted washers and dryers there are in North America. I've been told that in the US, if they're sent for scrap metal, it's shipped offshore which means the energy and raw materials that went into building them is lost to us.

Sooo.... let's come up with wild and wacky ideas to reuse and upcycle the parts!

1. Using the top of a top loader washer as a chicken pop-door between different paddocks. We'd have to add some sort of a latch, but that shouldn't be too hard.

2. Cutting the front and side panels into rectangles as giant "shingles" for roofing - if you had lots you could even create an interesting colour pattern for a larger roof.

3. I've seen parts of the drums used as planters.

4. I've seem parts of the clear doors on front-loading washers used as weird windows in a small shed.

Who can think of more ideas? Don't be shy!
 
Tommy Wilder
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I disassembled our old washing machine (frontloader) and used the square outside casing as a cat-house. It is lying on its side so the access for the cats is from the open bottom (i had to install the frontdoor again to keep it windfree. Couple of old rags/blankets in them.

The stainless steel (perforated) drum is now a burning pot for mostly wood.

The outside drum (holding the water normally) is also a cat-house (having 9 cats around)
 
Pearl Sutton
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Jay Angler wrote: 1. Using the top of a top loader washer as a chicken pop-door between different paddocks. We'd have to add some sort of a latch, but that shouldn't be too hard.  


Dryers already have a latch on them. I'd use a dryer front face for that.

I made a dirt sifter out of the inner drum of a dryer, had it running off a 1/3 hp motor. Not a good picture, had stuff air drying in it.


 
Robert Ray
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I recently read an article about upcycling in Cuba and amongst the  photos there were all the things that were made with old washing machines. Drill presses,  pottery wheels an incredible variety of things.  

This fella is pushing his book but a simple youtube search created a lot of hits. I love the creative solutions that come from working with what you have. I'll try and find the original article I referenced.
 
Jay Angler
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Jay Angler wrote:
1. Using the top of a top loader washer as a chicken pop-door between different paddocks. We'd have to add some sort of a latch, but that shouldn't be too hard.  

Pearl Sutton wrote:
Dryers already have a latch on them. I'd use a dryer front face for that.

Yes, but I was given a free washer top - beggars can't be choosers!

The sifter is cool - could it run off a chain or belt from a stationary bike or would that be too much work?
 
Amy Francis
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I just came across this vid '40 creative ways to recycle washing machine drums'; you may think it's the wrong video for the first 0.26 secs....

 
Pearl Sutton
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Jay Angler wrote:
Yes, but I was given a free washer top - beggars can't be choosers!

The sifter is cool - could it run off a chain or belt from a stationary bike or would that be too much work?


Ah, thought it was theoretical, not something you had.
I think I'd use a washer top to cover a water barrel or something like that, keep out the dirt. Although,,, they aren't watertight, if you put them down in your water collection, I bet it would stop rocks and big things from getting in while letting your water tank still fill. Hm. Have to think on that.

Sifter would run off anything, yes. I used a motor because A) I have them  and B) I work alone, so I can either shovel dirt or pedal. It was basically a stripped down dryer, mounted at the height I wanted so my wheelbarrow fit under it. You could get the same effect by not even stripping it all down, just add something to make it turn, and make the output drop down to where you want. The person who got it and my rolling composter when I moved was quite happy with the pair of them.
 
Ruth Meyers
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Just about anything can be used as a planter, right?  I've got two old porcelain enameled drums as anchor planters in my gardens.  I'm pretty sure they came out of automatic washers, not wringer style.  One is white and the other is granite green.
 
Jay Angler
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Amy Francis wrote:

I just came across this vid '40 creative ways to recycle washing machine drums';

That's my queue to put on my "safety nag" hat. Please don't build anything that is sealed (like a refrigerator) that uses a lock mechanism that only operates from the outside! Children have died climbing into a decommissioned front-load washer, somehow managing to get the door closed and then suffocating. I don't know if a closed dryer has sufficiently restricted air flow to cause the same thing to be a risk. If you need a closing mechanism, either ensure there's good air flow, or replace it with a magnet like they do with modern fridges. This, of course, is why if you're saving a bunch of old equipment up until you've got critical mass, make sure it's stored safely. The excuse "the kid was trespassing" doesn't make the kid any less dead or the family any less devastated, so please put safety first.

Now back to the fun part of the program! I really like the ideas of using them as storage footstools or side tables! If you're using parts from the frame, you can incorporate the cool little leveling feet so if you're on an uneven floor, things are stable.

 
Robert Ray
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Here is one of the original articles that I referenced earlier. One other thing that fascinated me about Cuba was the community gardens but that's another rabbit hole.
https://craftsmanship.net/going-deep-cubas-madres-y-padres-invention/


you tube has one fella that talks you through wiring and reusing washing machine motors

I have a porcelain drum in my back yard that I use as a fire pit a 2 inch piece of pipe through the agitator  hole keeps it off the ground at waist level, the perforations helps draft and works quite well. It wasn't my idea I saw it while camping once and the couple used it where ever they went the elevated pit radiated the heat better than a ground fire.

 
William Bronson
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On the subject of the drums,  a perforated washer drum like the one Pearl shows could make a great air pruning planter.
You could cut your own holes in a 55 gallon drum, but that is very labor intensive.

To give it  the benefits of a self watering planter as well,  I would invert a  3 gallon bucket, cut three slots and a 1 3/8" hole in the bottom  it and put it inside a 5 gallon bucket.

Put this reservior in the drum,add wicking soil in and around it.
Push a 1" pvc fill tube through the 1 3/8" hole.
Fill the reservoir through the tube
You have created a big, robust and cheap "olla".
The water will wick out from the reservoir and the roots of your plants will seek out the water as well.


A solid sided dryer drum could make a great TLUD .
It's low and wide,  so you might be able to cook over it.
What was once the back of the drum will become the bottom of the TLUD, and in my dryer  it is already perforated.
The dryer door can become a lid,  #10 gallon cans the chimney, and we could  put all it together with self tapping screws.

I have 4 washing machines,  but only one that I've given up on fixing, so far.
I have one dryer,  but I have a broken one waiting for me at a friends hour.

I plan on using the shell of the washing machine as a skin around and over my wood fired oven.

The pumps in these machines are very reliable,  and there are solenoid operated valves that control the flow of water.
 
Gerry Parent
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Not a washer or dryer, but rather a cooktop range I tore down and am currently experimenting with:

Glass-top-range-teardown

PS. I think I'm going to try the soil sifter idea suggested by Pearl the next time one comes my way.
 
Eric Hanson
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I have a neighbor who has planning on using the barrel of an old washing machine as a part of a rocket mass heater.

Eric
 
Jennie Little
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There's also furniture people use them for. See pinterest.
 
Roy Long
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The metal covers to washers and dryers make great targets, I just use a colored marker to make some targets on them and haul them out a ways into the hay filed and sight my rifles in with them.  With six kids we have worn out a few washers and dryers over the last 20 years.

The motors in them handy for small low power applications, I used one for an electric meat grinder motor, changing my hand grinder over t electric.

The water inlet in the back is electrically switched and you can use them to run water on and off by electric switch.

I have seen some washtub mods to use them defeather frozen chickens and turkeys.

Lots of uses for the parts in washing machines and dryers.
 
Leigh Tate
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I always liked this idea - converting an old dryer to a threshing machine.

 
James Sullivan
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I'm using a couple tubs to control some tubers that could be invasive. Also used one to collect ashes for a year.

I've seen DIY of people rewinding the motors for wind turbines.

As said further up in this thread the water inlets are useful and the pumps could be used for aquaponic systems.
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