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Uses for stainless steel washing machine drums  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Uses for stainless steel washing machine drums.

When old washers and dryers are scrapped, the stainless steel is usually in perfectly good shape. It is one of the most durable products made.

I've seen several of these used as planters and for fire pits. One was used for storing firewood.

Let's think of some other uses.
..........
1. Storage of root vegetables - Because these drain so well, they seem like a good addition to the root cellar. Carrots and beets and other things that are packed in sand, could be enclosed in these tubs. Make a good lid, and these would be impervious to vermin. Rats and mice will sometimes chew right through chicken wire and of course any plastic or wooden container. They can't chew through stainless steel.

2. Pond filtration - Tubs like this could be filled with suitable aggregate, to allow the filtration of greywater. They could also serve as a pre-filter, for water that is being pumped.

3. Aquatic flower pot -  If a pot like this were set in such a way that just a couple inches protrudes from the water surface, those plants would be able to access nutrient from the water, but fish would not be able to attack the plants.

4. French drain - One of these could be placed in the ground, in areas where you want to dump water on the grass and have it drain to somewhere. My soil is so porous, that I wouldn't need anything more than the drum, but some might want to surround it with gravel or rubble. It works as a great filter to keep sticks and leaves from clogging up the system.

5. Irrigation - I want to try one of these on a hugelkultur mound. With one of these sunk into the ground at the top of the mound, the water could seep into the soil slowly, instead of running down the face, which causes erosion. The bottom could be filled with clay, so that water must run out the sides. I envision leaving only a 1 inch rim above the soil surface. They could also be used on level ground. This would allow the watering of the root zone of larger plants, without wetting the surface.

6. Miniature compost bin - This has the advantage of being quite breathable while also impervious to vermin, if it has a good lid.

7. Compost tea strainer - Load it up with compost and run some water through it.

8. Strainer for just about everything else - Slowly run the garden hose into this, as you wash vegetables. Smaller vegetables won't go down the drain, as happens sometimes.

9. Dryer for corn, beans and other seeds - After seeds are pretty much dry, they could be placed inside one of these, with a good lid. Air could still circulate, to dry them further, but mice and rats would be out of luck.
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pollinator
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Those pics are beautiful

If you could mount it so it spins(like some store bought compost barrels), you could use it to sift compost, or sift rocks from dirt, or sand from gravel...
 
Dale Hodgins
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They are perfectly designed for mounting and we know they can bear the weight.

10.  Worm bin . Put a tray beneath, to capture liquid. The worms will never have to swim in their own ooze.
 
garden master
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Super great thread Dale.  I hope there are lots of additions to it.  I'll get my thinking cap on.  Stainless steel is an amazing material.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Thanks Wayne and Greg. Here's another one.

11. Winnowing trommel. Set it up to rotate, so that seeds can bounce around and lose chaff. It would have to be for a larger seeds, since the small ones would fall out of the holes.

12. Trundle peeler. Large restaurants have machines that bounce potatoes and carrots around, in the presence of water, to peel them. They don't come out completely peeled, but they do come out super clean, and ready to chop up. If the bottom were placed in a tub of water and a tub were rotated, tough things like potatoes could be cleaned up quite a bit. You would never do this before putting them into storage, since they would decay quickly. This is a treatment that greatly reduces the labor, when preparing meals for a crowd. The drum could be pricked with a nail and hundreds of spots, to make it rough like a cheese grater.

This guy has the right idea, but he could produce a lot more doing it in a giant stainless drum.

 
gardener
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13.  Veggie washer - Set it up to spin slowly with a sprayer hose inside to wash off the root crops

14.  Salad mix spin dry machine - They already do this but figured it could be added to the list

15.  Tub to use as a buried compost bin - Worms and biology can enter and leave but your compost stays in there to be dug out when done

16.  Cider press bucket

 
Dale Hodgins
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I suspect that the material is not strong enough on its own, for cider pressing, but with wooden staves attached to the outside, with steel banding, it just might be. It would be like a barrel, with a stainless steel interior. It would sure spin a lot of salad.
.......
We need to examine what can be done with them when they are cut up. The material from dryers has many little holes in it. Some washers have large areas with no holes, that have a dimple design. I think this is to make them like a washboard.

17. Let's cut out rectangular pieces and build real washboards, for the totally off-grid crowd. If further dimpling is required, it can be accomplished by using a very smooth punch, from the back side. Hit it just enough to cause a dimple, we don't want to tear the material, since that would result in torn clothing.

Side note. I have a washboard stomach. It is different than most, in that I keep it under an inch of fat, to keep it warm. :-)
 
Dale Hodgins
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18. Vegetable and Herb dryer - Paint It Black, and run a number of hanging wires through the holes, so that herbs can be hung. A flat plate could be set on the bottom , for things that don't want to hang. Another large plate could be sad over the top hole, as a lid. Load it up with things that are okay to be in the Sun, or cover them lately with a towel.

Plug up any big holes, so that we don't get too much sun on the material being dried. Set it on hot asphalt, or place it in any other warm and sunny location.

The number of holes, just about guarantees even drying. If laid on hot asphalt, or the dark bed of a truck, it will really cook, since the stainless will conduct heat from whatever surface it's sitting on.

They are small enough, to be carried inside, once full. They could also be brought outside during the day, and inside at night. Leave it in front of the picture window on a rainy day. Stackable as well, as illustrated in one of the earlier pictures.

19. Fish washer dishwasher.  Some of you may recall my fish washer dishwasher. I expect it to go mainstream anytime now. For those unfamiliar, it involves lowering a vessel full of dirty dishes, into pond water so that the critters can eat it up. My experiment went quite well.
https://permies.com/t/40/27219/permaculture-home-care-cleaning/purity/Invented-Cleaning-Dishwasher-soap-electricity
Because of the many holes, the fish washer dishwasher will readily sink and when it is retrieved, it will the drain out as the basket is lifted. Put a post near the pond, that allows a pole to be saddled on top. Use your body weight to raise the dishwasher basket, then swivel so that it rests over the pond. Gently lower the device. Let me know tomorrow morning how it worked. :-)
 
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When I first saw this, I immediately thought of using one for mash separation, grains on inside, set it a second tub then lift once the wash is ready.
I love all the other ideas too.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:When I first saw this, I immediately thought of using one for mash separation, grains on inside, set it a second tub then lift once the wash is ready.
I love all the other ideas too.


Bryant's idea makes 20.

I've seen juicers that have a perforated tub that uses a finely perforated vinyl sheet, to prevent solids from passing, as the material is spun. I wonder if a similar mesh could be used, to better filter your material.

21. Giant blender or juicer. Get some large juicer blades, and blend commercial quantities of applesauce or what have you. A stainless steel lawn mower blade, would seem about right. Not to be operated by children, or most adults.

22. Lawn roller. Fill it with concrete, to create a lawn roller. Be sure to get the axle assembly centered, before you pour in the concrete. Or, something could be bolted on while the concrete is green hard. Two or more good be joined.

23. Lawn aerator. Pretty much the same idea as a roller, except that the number of the holes would be enlarged, to allow bolts to protrude. As the thing is dragged along, the bolts that dig into the ground, causing a little holes to be pressed.

24. Gabion basket. This would make a good gabion  basket for placing a fence post or gate post. Sometimes, you don't want to put in a fence post or can't, because of near surface bedrock. Center your post in the tub, and fill it up with rubble rock or any other heavy material. Fill it beyond full, for maximum holding capacity. Put one of these on each side of your entry to the driveway, so that the space is clearly defined at night. That will keep some people out of the ditch. It should make it easy to give directions. "Watch for the two shiny wash tubs, that hold up the black and white reflector poles."

The gabion baskets in the photo, are very utilitarian. I much prefer the shiny tubs.
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Imagine a driveway marker, sticking out of this
 
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18. Vegetable and Herb dryer - Paint It Black, and   No, paint won't stick to it, trust me, I tried.  I grew potatoes in the two that I have (sorry, no pics), worked great, no bugs or rot.  Both were from front-loaders and had an 8-inch tapered steel shaft coming out the back making it easy to spike it into the ground and stay put.  
 
Dale Hodgins
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25. Potato tower  I checked it out and painting stainless is quite a process, which involves etching compound.

26. Strawberry Tower. Grow them in the opening and along the sides. Use a grinder to make  some horizontal cuts. Bend the material slightly outward. It will look slick and the shiny surface may confuse bugs. I've been looking for a project to put in my pond. I want to have a floating raft with wicks that dip into the water. This may thwart the efforts of deer and rabbits. They love strawberries.
 
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Not a new idea, but we are happy with ours serving as a redneck fire pit. It did not keep its shiny appearance, but has acquired a patina which I like even better than the original shine.
 
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A bulk sprouting container for things like malting barley, or sprouted animal feed.

Laid on it's side, and slowly rotated the contents can be periodically sprayed with water to keep them moist, and the excess drains out into a catchment below.

It can also be used in the drying / roasting process as well.

 
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Would make a great poultry plucker machine.
 
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With the pond filter concept, if oyster or mussel shells are filled into the drum, and the water flow passed over the shells, a really good bacteria is created that will help clean the water
 
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Hi all,

First post here.

I am considering using one or two drums from washing machines as a coffee roasting drum. The idea is this drum is perforated with holes and mounted on a gas BBQ with a rotisserie.

Cheers.
 
gardener
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I used a commercial dryer drum, mounted and motored, as a dirt sifter and green chile roaster.
 
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I have 3 of them I use for growing greens.  I put a tomato cage on top and cover with sheer curtains to thwart birds.
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Chard
 
pollinator
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Neat!  So are these suitable for air pruning roots?
 
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I have seen them and used them before as fire pits. I've seen some fancy plasma cutting to make scenes like stars and the fire gives it a really cool effect.
 
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Hej!
This came at a really opportune time for me. We had a 50-year winter's snowfall this year (almost literally; the people who grew up here say the last time we got this much was 1966), andhen it all melted in one week, our cellar flooded. I have a submersible pump from my old boat, but between the fine dust-mud from thedirt floor and the random floaty bits, it  kept clogging up which meantI had to take it apart and clean it, which got tiresome. I've been trying to reckon out a better system in case this becomes the new normal, and the washing machine drums seem like a really practical solution. If I dig a hole about 2/3-3/4 of the drum's height, and set the pump inside it, the holes wil llet in water from the ground (it was groundwater coming up through the floor, rather than through the walls or windows/ventilation holes), but hold back most of the dirt, and the lip I leave will keep the floaties out of the hole, at least if I can keep ahead of the rising level. Then, I can just put a lid on it when it's not in use. Thanks, Dale for starting this,and Nicole for putting it in the dailyish!
 
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