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An EZ-build Flow Through For Under $50

 

After deciding a flow through might be right for me, it was time to think about what the requirements were.  The VB24 was an appealing and solid design, and about the right size for my situation, so I used it as my basis.  A FT that can be quickly disassembled and reassembled was needed, with a move pending in the not-too-distant future.  I wanted a design I could easily build with only hand tools, so I decided on rigid foam board for the sides.  I wanted the option to slap on a different worm box in case the foam board didn't work out, and I didn't want wood touching VC.

 

Starting with a quick back-of-the-napkin drawing I put together a materials list.  $30 and a few hours into it I had my flow through kit ready to go.  The grate box and top frame were glued up and reinforced, and the kit was ready to assemble. The fully assembled base can take a variety of boxes, and I considered a 65-gallon refuse cart with the bottom removed.   But for now I started with a rigid foam box, with the thought that I'll just have to see how it holds up.  I'm optimistic the base will hold up over time, thought it will depend on the conduit.  Here you can see that VC doesn't make contact with any wood.

 

I haven't set it up yet - I decided I needed to construct a platform dolly with combined leg bracing and casters.  This additional $20 outlay brings the cost up to the half a c-note mark. 

 

I plan to stock it with two 20-gallon totes of pure Eh.  I'm in the process of adding Lrs to my species mix and need the totes for this endeavor.  The Eh tend to go where the moisture is in the totes, so I'm hoping this holds up in the FT.  Hopefully the open bottom and my conservative moisture management practices will keep the action closer to the top.

 

The outside dimensions yield 8 cu ft (60 gallons), but the usable inner dimension is reduced to 6.1 cu ft (46 gallons) due to the thickness of the foam board.

 

Views: 3162

Comment by Sue on March 16, 2012 at 7:07pm

Z-Mark: very nifty. Are you going to line the inside with vapour barrier or something to prevent denting or chipping while rummaging inside the bin? The pink gives a nice touch.

Comment by Z-Mark on March 16, 2012 at 7:40pm

Sue, I was concerned with the foam absorbing moisture but didn't think about nick prevention.  Probably because I do all my rummaging by hand.  But I'll probably have to think about how to avoid nicking the bottom while I'm harvesting. Thanks for raising the point.

Comment by Sue on March 16, 2012 at 7:59pm

When I built my VB48, I completely encased the foamboard pieces w. vapour barrier before putting them in place. It made a tighter fit that way, no need for glue or tape for assembly because in my case, there is the plywood & 2x4 frame/shell.

Comment by Z-Mark on March 16, 2012 at 8:56pm

I hunted for pics of your VB48, but no luck... Have to try again later. 

I used no glue or tape on this design.  Only the top and bottom frame and the cinch strap are holding it together.  When I have to move it, I can pop out one panel, shovel the contents into totes, then disassemble the unit for easy packing. 

The vapor barrier is a great idea, but I'll probably run this one "nekkid".  I still have the other half sheet of foam board if I need replacements.  This is going to be an indoor operation thanks to Minnesota's climate extremes so I'm hoping there will be no soggy bin issues.

Comment by Sue on March 16, 2012 at 8:59pm

I didn't take pictures of the VB48.

Comment by George on March 17, 2012 at 8:00am

Very good idea, well executed. This just be my next project.

Comment by Andrew from California on March 18, 2012 at 9:52am

Nicely done! I added your bin to the DIY Flow Through list. FYI, the VB96 is towards to bottom of the list.

http://vermicomposters.ning.com/forum/topics/diy-flow-through-bins-a

Comment by Carla Allen on March 20, 2012 at 11:52am

Mark...anyone... Help me out.  I am new to this worm world... have had worm factory for 4 years but need a larger system.  I am just learning about flow thru systems.. Love the plans Mark shared!   I do have a couple of questions... why do you not what Vermi Castings to touch wood?  Is it just a wood rot issue?  Also, is just one row of of conduit enough?  What is the spacing distance between the conduit?  Would you ever place to rows of conduit and have the layers be perpendcular?  Would aluminum interior be better?  Another question.... is there a reason the wood stand is as tall as it is?  Was considering making it shorter so I could have a slightly deeper bin?

I live in Indiana, and have EF and EH... and am currently struggling with new shipment of 5000 EH.  I use the worms for education and help classrooms set up a worm tote to care for the worms.   THank everyone for you help and suggestions   Carla

Comment by Carla Allen on March 20, 2012 at 12:04pm

Betsy... about what are the dimensions of your bin?   Also what type of worms do you have?  Thanks for the trimmer line suggestion!   Thanks Carla

Comment by Michelle Craigmiles on March 21, 2012 at 4:11pm
Do you have a screened top and bottom for air flow?

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