Barrel Washer Assembly Instructions

Issac Villeneuve built this barrel washer in the winter of 2012 while Bruce and I took pictures and helped (or got in the way).

This was done as part of the Heliotrust farm efficiency project.  Barrel washers make cleaning root crops so much easier and do a much better job than hand and brush washing.  The hope is that people with metal working skills can build a sturdy and effective washer for a lot less than commercially available models.  There is more about the root crop washers here as well as an update.

The instructions below are a work in progress.  I don’t think they are complete enough to guide someone without questions coming up unless you have the experience to work thing out as you go along.   I’ll make myself available by phone and email to help however I can.  As soon as I find more time, I hope to add a materials and cut list.

One other thing.  The washer is built high enough off the ground to allow a rolling table to slide underneath it for easy unloading.  I have not built the table yet.  When its done, I’ll post pictures and plans.


Begin by cutting out metal end pieces.  These are 30 inch circles of ¼” plate steel.  Isaac made a simple metal torch jig to make this job easier. DSC_0070

Grind the cut edges smooth

Mark the centre on each end piece using the hub shaft as a template

Cut out centre hole on both end plates and grind edges smoothendplatehole

Using a hammer and anvil, release tension along the edges of the end-plates.  This will make the plates less cupped.trueingendplate

Tack weld the hub shafts into the holes in the end-plates, trying to get them as close to 90 degrees to the plates as possibleWelding in spindle

Tack weld on the plate rims, rolling the rim into position a bit at a time on the floor.  Once the rim is tacked on, weld it on permanently.welding on rim

Weld the hub shaft supports into place. Take care to square up the shafts.adding ribs

Cut a slot 3/4 of the way though the bottom  “support foot” at the point the upright member will attach.

Bend the support foot at the cut and weld the cut closed.  This gives the foot a curve to it, making it less likely to rock on uneven floors.cut in base welded

Attach the foot to the upright 2×2leg base

Square up the frame and weld on the diagonal bracesBracing

Attach the wood slats to the end pieces.  Put some on and then measure to be sure you are putting them on evenly.  Use 5/8” bolts with large washers, one on each end, as spacers between the slats.  To keep the end plates even, we used chain and a binder to pull the plates in.barrel making

keeping it trueOnce half the wood is on, begin building the door by making the door support straps.  These are formed using the completed side of the barrel as a guide.  Hammer them into shape and check against the barrel until they fit the curve of the barrel.door strap Door Completed Barrel

Once the straps are finished, mount the slats onto them and then weld on hinges.  We made hinges out of a half-inch bolt and half-inch nut with the threads drilled out, welded to a small piece of flat stock.hinges 2

low cost hingeWeld on the hasp and spin-on nut closure to the other side of the door.hinges 4

hinges5Mount the bearings onto the barrel and then attach the bearings to the frame.pillow block install

Weld on a shelf for the gear reducer with bolt holes, and bolt it on.gear box shelf

Fabricate a mounting base for the motor. We built a slotted unit  that allows the motor to hang, keeping the belt tight without adjustments.  There are other ways of tensioning the motor including mounting it on a hinged plate.motor bracket

Mount the pulleys on the motor and gearbox.

gear box

Mount the v-belt

Mount the cogs and chain between the gearbox and the barrel

Thread the half-inch pipe with small holes drilled in it for water to steam out onto the produce being washed.  Insert though the barrel, capping off on the gearbox end and mounting an elbow, valve and female hose thread adaptor on the other end.



Please send feedback and pictures!

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