Saturday was all about acquiring most of the compost turner components, and prepping everything for future assembly. I drove to my friend's shop about 20 miles away, and began cutting, grinding, and welding pieces of 6" I-beam, then hauled the 12 foot long finished beam back home. It took 3 hours to accomplish these tasks, and I was back home at noon. Austin helped me carry the beam about 150 feet to the composting location, and we were glad to get it there! Man, that thing must've weighed 150 lbs.
Anyway, I want to show you most of the components needed for the project. Below is the 1/2 hp electric motor and 160:1 gearbox for driving the auger. Thanks to the gear reduction, the output shaft at the end has an unbelievable torque value, and lets me use a small single phase motor to accomplish this. After connecting power to it, I counted the output speed, as well. As previously calculated, it was turning at 11 rpms.
Photo below - Here is the 10" earth auger that will be coupled to the output shaft of the gearbox. Due to it's pretty short length, an extension made from a solid piece of round stock will be added to it. This will help keep the motor from getting into the compost mixture - as I really wouldn't want to keep cleaning debris out of the cooling fan on the back of the motor.
Photo below - Here's the steel I-beam with trolley included.You can clearly see the two different pieces that I had to weld together to span the 12 foot distance between the vertical posts. I could paint it to make it look all nice and purdy - but this ain't no beauty contest....hehe. This is gonna be a "manly" machine, not something at a hair salon.
Photo below - This was the hard part - lifting the beam, so it would rest on top of the posts. Holy......moly......After doing a backward flip off the top of the pallet bins into the woods - I decided to use a rope draped over a huge limb about 25 feet up to help hoist the thing into place. As Austin held tension on the rope, I struggled to lift each end. Oh god.....words simply can't describe how difficult this was. Talk about feeling relieved afterward! 20 years ago this would have been a piece of cake.
As can be expected, i'm pretty skinned up from the nasty fall. My left arm, back, and both thighs are really cut up - but the left thigh injury is the most significant. A really big bump came up on it, and i'm sure it will cause me to limp for a few days. I basically fell backwards into the large trees you see there, and ended up on the ground at their base. Man...i'm really lucky that I didn't land on my head. It serves me right, though - because I was wearing crocs on my feet. Duh!
Anyway, i'll recover over the next week, and will anchor the beam to the posts next weekend. My prediction for a trial-run is 2 weeks from now, and i'll video it in action for ya! WooHoo! EG's crazy compost turning machine will be ready for action soon!
Take care, and happy composting! (Ouch)