[USCC] Low cost compost screener

Frank Teuton frank.teuton at sympatico.ca
Wed Dec 20 18:01:18 EST 2000

Hi Greg and Carl,

Interesting concept, guys. However, methinks you are reinventing the wheel.

Small screeners with this kind of throughput already exist and can be
purchased, for example, from vermiculturists, such as Kazarie Worm Farm,
Rainbow Worm Farm. and Vermico.




DIY buffs with a one site operation can also turn to Leon's Big Sifter for
ideas, see the Master Composter site run by Mary Tynes,


Small scale operators who don't want to invest yet in a $1,000+ sifting
apparatus can always turn to various smaller size sifters, from the
venerable A-frame to my own little creation, the Cantopper. These tools can
enable someone with more labor than capital to get started, then shift to
bigger and motorized machinery as it becomes justified.

See http://www.mastercomposter.com/equip/sifters.html

Looking at the website, I have the following observations about this
contraption. Compared to a worm trommel, this thing seems to have no output
port, so that you load, sift, and then offload the rejects periodically.
That seems awkward to me. A smaller, slower revolving system that could flow
steadily would seem to me more efficient, and perhaps also more gentle on
the compost foodweb organisms---it looks to me like the speed of this thing
would do some harm to a fair number of valuable foodweb community members,
from the video clip.

Secondly, the worm trommels allow a fast change of screen sizes; this device
seems unwieldy in this regard, also.

I do have another idea to offer.  Satellite Screens, Inc, made a run of
small garden size versions of their satellite screen concept, which is now
offered in the large version by Fecon http://www.fecon.com/satellite.html
This concept can accept moist materials, and run at a reasonable speed,
would be friendly even to worms, and it would seem to me, could easily be
adapted to a PTO system, at the right scale, and would be in the same price
range as the one you made with greater capacity and flow.

That would be an interesting investigation for an appropriate screening
technology, for the small market farmer/gardener. To be worthwhile, it would
have to be significantly faster or easier to work with, or less expensive
than, or more sturdy than, existing commercial small scale screening
technologies, mentioned above.

Good composting,

Frank Teuton

----- Original Message -----
From: "Greg Evanylo" <gevanylo at vt.edu>
To: <compost at compostingcouncil.org>
Cc: <provfarm at netunlimited.net>
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2000 3:08 PM
Subject: [USCC] Low cost compost screener

> Please find below the address of a website that demonstrates how to build
> low cost, small volume compost screener. The website was developed by Carl
> Weston (provfarm at netunlimited.net) for producing a high quality organic
> potting medium. Carl developed the screener using funds from the USDA
> Sustainable Agriculture Producer Grant Program. The website provides step
> by step building instructions, a budget, and contains footage of the
> screener in action. Feel free to share the website address with those who
> may have an interest in constructing such a screener. Carl would
> suggestions on how to publicize his website.
> http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/compostmixer/
> Gregory K. Evanylo
> Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
> 421 Smyth Hall,  Virginia Tech
> Blacksburg, VA 24061
> Ph: 540/231-9739;  Fax: 540/231-3075
> gevanylo at vt.edu
> _______________________________________________
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