Low cost but effective compost screeners

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by JDUtah, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. cudaclan

    cudaclan LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Posts: 152

    Can a modified portable concrete mixer (gas/electric) work? There are plastic mixer versions. I know, an awful lot of holes to drill. I still use the old standby, a milk box crate for small jobs.
     
  2. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    farm it out if you can, a did this once, use an 1/8 inch hole, and if you got an air nail-er for framing, try and mess with it to use it to punch holes. if you want a hint PM me as this is danger land !!!!!


    farm out to a laser!!!!
     
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    How big a screen do you want? Mesh size? The rig in the picture probably cost less than a $100 to build. I think if you get much larger than the one in the pic, you will have a hard time getting the wire mesh to hold up.
     
  4. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342


    I think the best way to get small compost particles is to start with small compost materials. The problem with that is really small stuff compacts and doesnt compost well. You have to add larger particles to provide ventilation. This is where a good screen can come in handy. Screen out the large stuff and throw it back into the pile to compost some more and also provide a microbial innoculant to the new material. Take the small stuff and use it. If you are composting correctly, the 1/2in + material wont be disease lurking crap.
     
  5. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    I keep promising pictures of the barrel I modified. I'm up to my arse in abused golf cars right now, but I will take the pic. The dryer motor was a great idea. I think you could pick up a "dead" with working drive dryer for 20 bucks or so. Make the frame like in the DIY instructions with the tire rims to ride on it. Like the guy said 100 bucks should be VERY close. Buy GOOD screen. I have been "playing" with cheap screens, but that was because I still don't know what I want. I want to screen sand, and if it works, nothing on a DIY scale is going to keep up with the demand. Again, that part is an IF, but if it will actually work, I can use about 500-1000cu yds. per year, and I the other courses and industries that want that quality of sand would mean a market for another 4-5K cubic yards each year. The arroyo wash is averaging depositing about 12K cu yds of raw sand into my flood retention pond each year.
    Now, back to a compost screener. If you need a source to buy GOOD screen, I'll post one. Figure a couple of bucks per sq. foot depending on if you just want heavy steel or stainless. Is 1/4" hole fine enough? for my application, I'm trying to eliminate anything bigger than .060". That is way over kill for compost. Maybe 8 mesh would be fine enough? Best source I have found for screen will come off of 4' wide rolls. This means that your screener needs to be 4' wide OR in sections less than 4' to allow overlap and re-enforcement. A gradual drop, maybe 2"/10' of screener with a good in feed system. Large commercial units use a hopper and belt feed into the trommel. A gated hopper with some kind of paddle to "pull" the material into the screener would work, I *think*. If you could find a source for 3-4' diameter hoops and made the screener 7' long (2 sections). I would put the dryer motor in the center on a center support. The belt would go around the point where the screens overlap. Three 3' broom heads, mounted on the "up" side of the rotation to clean the screens, and I think you could screen 5-8 cu yds/hour. TG? does that sound realistic? I am assuming a reasonably dry material. My perspective goes way off here. I've only been in the desert for less than 8 months, but the only screening I've done has been here. (aside from a 5 gallon bucket at a time by hand)
     
  6. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    I would like a little smaller than 1/4" mesh. Post the good screen supplier for sure. :) I have to do some trial and error do decide on optimum length/angle, etc...
     
  7. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    14 deg, 17 inches, 34 rpm, 44 inches of screen and 1 foot on the ends for in/out feed..................1/8 mesh
     
  8. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    I love you tree! (in a permissible way only)
     
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    That's a 17" dia? with 44" length of screen? If so, what throughput would be a good average do you think?

    If I read the dimensions right then you could cut a 55 gallon steel drum in half and open up a 44" distance between the two halves using some steel bar or even angle iron? Spin it with the dryer motor and be in business!
     
  10. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

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