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 Coroplast Bin 
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Post Coroplast Bin
An interesting bin design built from coroplast (plastic cardboard) is featured on the GourmetBugs blog (link).

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BorealWormer

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Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:46 am
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Hello BW, thanks for showing my bin here. About your question on welding coroplast, I use a soldering wand with a pointed tip. It takes a bit of getting used to so one does not melt completely through, kind of delicate material. Where the flutes are situated is the thickest so where they line up or overlap is where I touch with the hot tip.

Also one can poke it straight through overlap flaps from the outside and not go all the way through, but just through the two joining surfaces where it melts them together in a spot weld.

I made another different coroplast bin yesterday but have not gotten a picture yet and also a top for a five gallon pail collector using fermented corn per Jerry's startup method for attracting adult flies. Will try and post some pics up later today.

Really have no idea how well these bins will work. The last few years I've just been placing vortex separated wastewater facility grit with undigested food particles into a 5 foot diameter plastic drain culvert section that's standing on end as sort of a compost unit out in the open. BSFL are there all the time eating the material so I have them in the area. Hoping to get them going in a bin where I can feed leftovers from local restaurants and lots of coffee grounds from the quick marts. I could make a direct knock-off from a Bio-Pod from concrete very easily but wanted to try coroplast since I have a lot on hand and like working with it.


Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:58 am
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Here's a pic of the bin I started yesterday and added to my blog. Coroplast also lends well to silicone adhesion in places where welding isn't practical.

Image

Also had a thought last night. I wonder if capillary mat used for growing plant seedlings would work as a reverse capillary wick to control bin moisture? Considering installing a piece into the bottom of this bin and letting about 6 inches or so stick out through slits in the sides. It should work by drawing excess moisture from the pile to the outside air to evaporate.


Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:37 am
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Gourmet Bugs wrote:
About your question on welding coroplast, I use a soldering wand with a pointed tip. It takes a bit of getting used to so one does not melt completely through, kind of delicate material. Where the flutes are situated is the thickest so where they line up or overlap is where I touch with the hot tip.

Also one can poke it straight through overlap flaps from the outside and not go all the way through, but just through the two joining surfaces where it melts them together in a spot weld.

... Really have no idea how well these bins will work.
Thanks GB. I have very little experience with coroplast and I was wondering about the strength of the welds. Will the welds (and the coroplast) stand the outward pressure when the bin is full of compost and larvae?

The shape of your bin is similar to one by Dr. Paul Olivier (link) which is reported to have issues with larvae congregating in the corners and failing to exit the unit. Another poster here, Tarvus, found a solution was to eliminate the corners and replace them with a second exit ramp. Info about his "Bug Barracks" can be found here.

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Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:55 am
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Gourmet Bugs wrote:
...Also had a thought last night. I wonder if capillary mat used for growing plant seedlings would work as a reverse capillary wick to control bin moisture? Considering installing a piece into the bottom of this bin and letting about 6 inches or so stick out through slits in the sides. It should work by drawing excess moisture from the pile to the outside air to evaporate.
That interesting. There are lots of problems reported with bottom filters and drains plugging up in BSFL bins. Draining the water 'sideways' or 'upwards' could be a neat solution.

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Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:00 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
I'm still debating on whether or not to just open the bottom up and set this right on top or incorporate it into the structural design of a flow through worm bin. That would ensure the unit never really gets full, I think. Not sure of the possible interation factors with BSFL and worms but they both inhabit my compost bin at work, but that's pretty large and open.

Corners...yeah I kinda thought that might be an issue. If you notice that one corner by the ramps in the picture posted, I installed a piece of coroplast to form a curve. Just haven't gotten around to the other corners yet and there are pieces under the ramps that attach to the inner wall some inches back and angle out to the ends of where the ramps begin.

Weld strength...it's enough you can't pull it apart if you do a good job. I'm sure the coroplast would bulge out if the bin were full enough though. I think I'm going to make a round one today or tomorrow. Have been on vacation for three weeks and that's about to end so I need to git er done. :mrgreen:


Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:00 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Added a post to my blog today on the round coroplast BSFL bin. Will never make another. :lol:

http://gourmetbugs.blogspot.com/2012/03 ... l-bin.html


Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:57 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Gourmet Bugs wrote:
Added a post to my blog today on the round coroplast BSFL bin. Will never make another. :lol:
Curves are hard with anything :D I think this quote sums it up:

"Wished about halfway into this project I had not ever started but once started one can't quit! It was hard, I'm tired and I never want to make another round coroplast bin of any type haha!"

Beautiful job and especially the ramps! Would it need a support band around the outside?

Image

(Hope you don't mind that I linked back to the image on your blog.)

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Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:09 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Thanks, no I don't mind at all. I did put two support bands of wire mesh hardware cloth, one upper and one lower. Maybe should have put one in the middle but didn't think about it until after I had already installed the fall-out tube. Might wrap it in the middle with some nylong trotline cord just to be safe.


Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:14 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Gourmet Bugs wrote:
... I did put two support bands of wire mesh hardware cloth, one upper and one lower.
I missed that on my initial quick read of your post, sorry.

There have been a lot of different materials tried for drain filters but I can't remember anyone trying polyester felt. BSFL have a habit of shredding most stuff so it will be interesting to see how it holds up. Using capillary action to draw moisture away from the bin contents to the outside air to evaporate is also something new (as far as I can remember) so that too will be interesting.

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Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:33 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Ok some issues I had while building this and "maybe" what I would do now if I was going to make another.

To start with, the flutes on a 4' x 8' coroplast sheet run parallel with the 8'. A 4' section would only form roughly the diameter of a big beer keg and I wanted bigger so had to join two 4' wide sections, another seam I didn't want.

Coroplast doesn't bend to form a cylinder on its own. So the outside was split the length of the flutes, every third flute to get it to form well enough into a cylinder. Then once formed it's very flimsy and hard to work with, attaching the bottom and the ramps. The ramps are a story all in themselves. Ended up well enough but near killed me and my back installing them.

I had trouble figuring the diameter of the bottom piece for some reason. My length of the joined pieces was 94.5 inches. The handy online converter said that was 30.8 diameter. I'm mathematically challenged so enough said about getting the bottom right the first try. Attaching it was ok once I got the right size.

The ramps are made up of four layers of coroplast strips and then the inner wall piece. The ramp surfaces had to be filled with something and silicone is all I could think of other than just applying a layer of tape I didn't think long about. Considered mixing up some epoxy but again it seemed too daunting a task in my current physical and mental state at the time. :lol:

This thing dang sure better work. The cost is right at still under $10 in materials but a solid three days hard work. Having a plan would have been good.

Now, thinking of future bins, I like the round versus the square bins I made alot better. I have done moldmaking for various things in the past and I think it would be easy to build a mold to make concrete or hypertufa bins, alot easier than this and would be alot more structurally sound. It was a learning experience, one I do not desire to repeat. :D

We'll just have to see how the felt goes. Is alot less expensive to buy heavy polyester felt at the fabric isle at Walmart versus agri capillary mat. Same thing. Far as that goes, nylon may be a more suitable fabric, should wick similarly as polyester and probably not be prone to BSFL thrashing.


Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:40 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Gourmet Bugs wrote:
Now, thinking of future bins, I like the round versus the square bins I made a lot better. I have done mold making for various things in the past and I think it would be easy to build a mold to make concrete or hypertufa bins, alot easier than this and would be alot more structurally sound. It was a learning experience, one I do not desire to repeat. :D
You obviously have a lot of fabrication experience but I think most people have trouble building curves. I like the double ended two ramp design (link) which like round bins doesn't have corner issues.

Quote:
We'll just have to see how the felt goes.
Keep us posted. Experimenting is what we like to do :) My attempt to create a hanging bottom from landscape fabric didn't end so well but then it was pretty light stuff purchased from a big box store.

Image

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Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:00 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Just thinking, I don't know why one couldn't drill several holes around the sides at the bottom edge of a bin and insert tight fitting braided nylon ropes like a wagon wheel fashion going all the way through the bin. The liquid would probably drip off the ends like crazy. I doubt the larvae could do any damage to that stuff.


Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:55 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
BorealWormer wrote:
You obviously have a lot of fabrication experience but I think most people have trouble building curves. I like the double ended two ramp design (link) which like round bins doesn't have corner issues.
Nothing official like I'm not an engineer or anything that drastic, just played with alot of different things of various interests. I like that double ended bin as well. Looks big! I have a different idea to try but am out of material for now.

Quote:
Quote:
We'll just have to see how the felt goes.
Keep us posted. Experimenting is what we like to do :) My attempt to create a hanging bottom from landscape fabric didn't end so well but then it was pretty light stuff purchased from a big box store.

Image


Interesting idea, too bad it didn't do the hoped for.


Last edited by BorealWormer on Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Correct quote tags



Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:02 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Gourmet Bugs wrote:
Just thinking, I don't know why one couldn't drill several holes around the sides at the bottom edge of a bin and insert tight fitting braided nylon ropes like a wagon wheel fashion going all the way through the bin. The liquid would probably drip off the ends like crazy. I doubt the larvae could do any damage to that stuff.
They could even be tied up to the outside of the bin to promote evaporation.

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Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:16 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Gourmet Bugs wrote:
... I like that double ended bin as well. Looks big!
I haven't tried it but I think it would scale down quite well.

Quote:
Interesting idea, too bad it didn't do the hoped for.
It drained well in my super small scale rearing tub before it was shredded. I think a better quality landscape fabric might make a big difference but it probably wouldn't scale up to well for a large bin. Right now I'm managing the moisture by feeding drier materials but again that wouldn't be practical for a full size composting bin.

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Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:25 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Brought this update over from my blog...

Image

This drawing looks pretty dull and basic but it's exactly what one would see if they cut my bin open and laid the side out flat. Ramps are nothing more than a triangle or in my construction, two triangles butted up on the edges.

Now about forming curves, there should not be anything really difficult given the material if one has a plan. I'm trying to form an easy plan so people can duplicate this style if they choose.

So I think if one were to start out with flat material like shown it would be alot less difficult than my trial and error round bin.

Some sort of flexible foam or sheet plastic might work for a bin. We need to keep in mind when working with flat material that is to be curved to form a cylinder, we can't permanently attach the whole area of the ramps to the sides, just the centerline. This is because as we curve the material, the inside ( ends of the ramps) will need to slide as the inner diameter adjusts versus the outer wall material. If it were attached completely there would be severe wrinkling.

I would lay the wall out flat. Attach the ramp material at the centerline. Bend the wall material to form the cylinder, using a piece on the outside to overlap both edges to attach the seam so the inside would be smooth. Attach the bottom and then form & attach the ramp material to the curved walls.

Another method one might use is the sand mold technique with concrete. Ever made a sand castle? Pile up wet sand and form a mold negative of what one wants the inside of the bin to look like. Surround it with a rigid plastic retainer wall like a big tapered tub with the bottom removed and oiled on the inside. The bottom edge of the tub should be an inch or two taller than the "top" of your sand form, which will be the bottom of your bin. When filled with cement completely to the top edge of your retainer and cured, the tapered plastic retainer should slip off easily, leaving you with an upside-down BSFL bin. A big cement bin should have wire reinforcement.

Hypertufa is a lightweight material made of various aggregates other than gravel. The standard hypertufa mix is 1 part portland cement, 2 parts peat moss and 2 parts perlite. Fiber reinforced portland would be excellent for this type of project. After a 28 day cure it is a fairly strong and very lightweight material compared to standard cement and also has excellent insulation qualities. It is mixed "dry" as compared to standard cement and applied by hand to a tapered mold for easy removal and when dried could be sealed with a non-toxic epoxy coating. Sounds like a fun project!

Pretty sure I saw reference to a hypertufa project on Jerry's blog but the link text was all sensored. Hypertufa is super simple. I'm doing a workshop on making hypertufa planters for a group on April 14 during our local Arbor Day event. One could make ramps into any plastic container with it easily. Easy is boring though right? :lol:


Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:29 pm
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
Did you prepare the triangular pieces for the ramps the same way as the bin wall by cutting some of the flutes?

I have seen hypertufa round bins on the web somewhere. It sounds like an interesting material to work with.

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Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:16 am
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Post Re: Coroplast Bin
BorealWormer wrote:
Did you prepare the triangular pieces for the ramps the same way as the bin wall by cutting some of the flutes?

I have seen hypertufa round bins on the web somewhere. It sounds like an interesting material to work with.


Yes the large wall parts of the ramps had to be cut. The 1" wide strips forming the crawl surface did not need it.

Will do a hypertufa bin probably sometime this week from a 55 gallon drum bottom and make it so braided nylon ropes will be the wicks experiment through the walls. No such thing as too many experiments going. :lol:


Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:23 am
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