in #howto4 years ago

Recently I made an off the grid washing machine for @mama-pepper and I promised that I’d do a how-to photo post, so here it is.


Here is a basic list of the materials that I used:

55 gallon barrel
30 gallon barrel
1 ¼ inch wooden rod
4 hinges
2 locking clasps
2 X 4 lumber
Short section of hose
Metal to use for a handle
Nuts and bolts
1 ¼ inch PVC pipe
Scrap tubing
Metal hook

Here are the tools that I used:

Power drill
1 ¼ inch spade bit
Reciprocating saw


Wash and rinse the 55 gallon barrel and the 30 gallon barrel.

Using the power drill with the spade bit, drill holes in the center of the ends of the barrels.

Check that the wooden rod fits tightly through the holes.

Using a smaller drill bit, drill holes randomly in the ends of the 30 gallon barrel.

Use the reciprocating saw to cut a door in the side of the 30 gallon barrel.

The door should be large enough to easily be able to load and unload the laundry through. Take this opportunity to clean the inside of the barrel if need be.

Drill smaller holes randomly in the sides of the 30 gallon

Cut a large door with the reciprocating saw in the side of the 55 gallon barrel.

Clean the inside of this barrel too if need be.

Place the 30 gallon barrel inside the 55 gallon barrel to make sure the size of the door is correct.

Use the spade bit to randomly drill larger holes in the ends and sides of the 30 gallon barrel.

Attach two of the hinges and one of the locking clasps to the door of the 30 gallon barrel.

Cut lengths of the PVC pipe to fit inside the 30 gallon barrel and fix them into place lengthwise on the inside of the barrel by screwing into them from the exterior of the barrel.

Attach the remaining 2 hinges to the door of the 55 gallon barrel.

Attach the remaining locking clasp to the other side of the door for the 55 gallon barrel.

Drill a hole the size of the hose in the bottom corner of the 55 gallon barrel and attach the hose.

Feed the wooden rod through one end of the 55 gallon barrel.

Place the 30 gallon barrel making sure that the door hinges on both barrels are facing the same way and continue to feed the wooden rod through the holes in the ends.

Once the wooden rod is through all four holes on both barrels, center the 30 gallon barrel inside the 55 gallon barrel.

Bend the metal for the handle at a 90 degree angle.

Use the scrap tubing to make a sleeve for the handle.

Drill a hole through the wooden rod for the handle.

Feed the handle through the hole and secure it with a nut and bolt.

Cut the extra portion of wooden rod that extends past the handle off with the reciprocating saw.

Get the 2 X 4 lumber ready.

Screw together four pieces of like length in pairs to form 2 “X” shaped pieces.

Join the 2 Xs together with another 2 pieces of lumber, making the total length just shorter than the 55 gallon barrel.

Use wire to secure the 55 gallon barrel to the wooden stand.

Mount the metal hook to the top of the hose side of the 55 gallon barrel to use as a hose holder.

At this point the assembly of the washing machine should be complete.

Have an assistant put on a helmet for safety and give it a try.

If it passes the test, add some water and laundry detergent.

Then add some clothes and give it a go!

Here is the video from @papa-pepper about the washing machine.


You are You are You are You are yeeeeeeee

Thank you very much. I am glad that you enjoyed it!

@papa-pepper very very innovative!

Next model. Here Rotary have an annual collection of 'trash and treasure' that gets auctioned off, If you have similar, an old ten or more speed push bike, the condition of the tyres is immaterial. have a look in a bike shop and see how they mount a bike for exercise inside the home. Using your trusty saw make a mount at right angles to the washing machine drums. Attach an Aluminium pulley to the axle passing through the drums. Using a vee belt and maybe a jockey pulley to get the right tension, Mama-pepper can now put you into the seat and you can do the washing. Model three, make sure the drain hole of the outer drum is at the bottom, change up to top gear and you have a spin drier as well.

Very good ideas!!! AGAIN!

Thank You!

Wow. Very crafty :) well done sir!

Thanks! I appreciate that!

Excellent, pepper-powered :)

Indeed my friend!

Fantastic! Are you going to build a chicken plucker next?

Good idea, but the composter is next.

I think if you make a plucker, you'll need to use electricity in order to get the speed of the drum rotating fast enough...disastrous on a slow spin. :)

Yeah, we have an electronic one that we can use here.

I thought about your off grid washing machine today and your bike rack. Maybe you could modify a stand somehow that would let one of the Little Peppers pedal their bike to turn the drum of the washing machine. Washing clothes could be a game.

good thinking!

Wow! Super!! You do not need electricity, you can save. You have golden hands!

It is a great way to have clean clothes without electricity. Thank you!

Generally cool! I showed my friends this post! Resteem

Cool. Thank you!

That was very intereting. I'm sure that you'll clean up with this post!

Haha! Double meaning... I just got that!

what a great piece of kit! - love that.

Thanks man! We like it!

Never cease to amaze me, excellent tutorial, a brilliant and ingenious idea, very practical. Thank you very much, my friend.@papa-pepper

Very kewel PP!! And it's so quiet!

I found another way to do this offgrid though. It's less time consuming, but a bit more costly.

  1. Buy a generator
  2. Fill it with gas
  3. Start it
  4. Plug in washing machine
  5. Wash clothes in washing machine
  6. Turn off generator
  7. Repeat as needed

I'm just a simple guy. ;)

LOL, will you be making a post out of that?

Haha, I just did. I didn't have anything to add, so we'll just leave it as option B as an addendum to yours.
We got caught up in some of the prepper stuff for Y2K. Yeah, goofy, but there you have it. Included in our prep were two washing machines. One was the small barrel, kind of like a mini version of yours.

The other was a pretty cool stainless steel basin with a lever that would agitate the clothes and included an awesome ringer. We never used it, but it was super cool in the pictures. It looked something like this.

You are super competent. I'd cut my arm in half in the first 5 mins.

Is that because of the beer buzz?

Lol, might be occasionally. I just never considered practical skills to be useful until I moved away from my parents. Thank god for WikiHow :)

Me neither. I knew nothing when I moved out!

thanks for sharing good information...^^

You are welcome!

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That is pretty cool. I'll have to ask hubby to make me one...if he can find the drums...they are hard to come by without paying way too much for them...or maybe I'm just getting cheap in my older years. :D

(Hey @timmyoflinn, here's a project for you this winter. :D)

wao que padre te quedo genial

Nice one :)

Happy Fork btw :D

That's a cool DIY project. Nicely done :D

Thank you very much @isteemit!