10 great alternative uses for a concrete mixer

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Have you ever seen a concrete mixer in someone’s yard and wondered, “Why would anyone have one?” Or maybe you bought one for a project a long time ago, thinking it might come in handy in the future, only to see it now sitting idle at the back of the shed. Look at your concrete mixer from another perspective, and it may seem that this one-task guy is more versatile than you think.

A concrete mixer can make a variety of jobs easier. We have previously outlined some of the most creative tasks that concrete mixers can perform in addition to stirring concrete mixture. If using a rented mixer, just be sure to clean the mixer carefully before returning it and not damage the equipment.

1. Make homemade potting soil with a custom mix.

Scoop the soil and fertilizer into the trays into pots, ready for planting.

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Gardeners and farmers have discovered several alternative uses for the concrete mixer for mixing heavy materials together. Potting soil consists of several loose organic components that should be combined into a consistent mixture. The rotary motion of the concrete mixer drum makes it ideal for mixing homemade potting soil. It keeps the material moving steadily, and the built-in paddles break up blocks.

Of course, the actual mixture recipe depends on the intended plants or purpose. Regardless, if you plan to fill several containers or a raised bed, you can save money and ensure quality by mixing your own soil in a concrete mixer. A good general-purpose potting mix includes 6 parts peat moss (plus 1 tablespoon garden lime per gallon of peat moss) or coir, 6 parts aged compost, 4.5 parts perlite, and 0.5 parts compost. Balanced membership (5-5). -5 or similar). Turn on the machine, load the ingredients, and let them mix for about 5 minutes.

Related: The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Soil Cultivation

2. Mixing mortar for working with brick, blocks and stone.

The worker applies cement adhesive to the tiles.  Finishing work, blurred focus.  Tile laying technology.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Although they are similar to concrete, they differ in terms of ingredients, texture and application. Mortar is the adhesive used to bond building materials such as bricks, concrete blocks, and stones together, and is made of 1 part cement, 3 parts sand, and 1 part water.

Although a mortar mixer is specifically designed for this task, with mixing paddles rotating inside a fixed drum rather than a concrete mixer’s fixed paddles inside a rotating drum, a concrete mixer can do a good job with the mortar. Run the mixer, then add water, cement and sand. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mortar has a peanut butter consistency.

Related: Solved! Purpose of weep holes in bricks

3. Make your own compost with a custom blend.

An unrecognizable woman cuts with a scalpel the fresh earth/compost to plant in the greenhouse

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Farmers and gardeners rely on soil test results to guide their fertilizer applications. Unfortunately, pre-mixed fertilizers only come in a few ranges of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) ratios that may not meet recommendations based on soil testing. The good news is that you can purchase fertilizer ingredients such as blood meal, bone meal, and potash, and use a concrete mixer to mix homemade fertilizer in the recommended ratio for your lawn or garden.

This project may generate dust, so you’ll need to design a fabric or wood cover for the roller and wear a dust mask. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl, then cover the top and mix for 5 minutes.

RELATED: 15 Secret Ingredients to Make Your Garden Grow

4. Make your own compost cup

A woman makes compost in his backyard.  She throws vegetable waste into the compost.

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The worst part about making compost is turning the pile. This cumbersome and time-consuming process, which used to be done with a pitchfork, was simplified by the invention of hand-crank manure cups. You can take it a step further by converting an old concrete mixer into a DIY electric compost tumbler by either replacing the drum with a perforated one, or by drilling drainage holes in the base of the existing drum (if you do, it won’t). concrete). A large capacity mixer of 6 cubic feet or more will give the best results.

After adjusting the drum, load it with kitchen scraps, garden debris, shredded paper, and other biodegradable materials, moisten the mixture, and rotate the drum a few revolutions daily. You can also set it on an electric timer to turn on automatically several times at the same time every day. Under ideal conditions, your payment will be processed within 4 to 6 weeks.

RELATED: DIY Compost Bin – 5 You Can Make

Textured rusty screw wallpaper

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Concrete mixer rotation is also ideal for agitating metal parts to remove rust. The operation is quite loud, so make sure you set up in a place where loud noise is acceptable. It may be a good idea to cover the outside of the drum with heavy duty felt or sound dampening foam.

Load the drum with the parts to be cleaned, as well as small metal scraps such as nails, steel drill bits, nails, screws, welding rod ends, etc. Alternatively, seal these materials inside a metal container that can be coated with noise-blocking material and placed inside the mixer drum. Run the mixer to remove rust, and check it after several hours; Some items will take longer than others.

RELATED: Best Rust Remover Options – Top Picks from Bob Vila

6. Make sea glass for crafting.

A pile of colored sea glass on a wooden surface.  Sea glass can be found on beaches all over the world, smoothly rolled by the sea and waves over many years.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Sea glass is the result of broken bottles, plates and other glassware that have fallen between the sand and waves for many years. Beachgoers love to collect soft, colorful souvenirs, and artisans turn sea glass into jewelry or home decor. If you love the look but can’t go to the beach, you can use a concrete mixer to mimic ocean waves and make faux sea glass.

Break the colored glass into pieces of different sizes, but not too small because stirring will make them smaller. Carefully add a large amount of broken glass to the blender drum, cover the glass with water, then add a few cups of quartz sand or silicon carbide granules. Run the blender for a few days or a week, the longer the better. The glass will come out smooth with a matte finish, just like at the beach.

Related: How to Make Your Own Broken Tile Mosaic (DIYer’s Guide)

7. Build a rotary compost sifter.

A woman sifts through a sieve of manure

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Sifted compost is one of the best ingredients for starting seeds and cultivating soil. Most gardeners sift their compost to remove large pieces of debris by placing it on a wire mesh mounted on a frame, then shaking it back and forth over a wheelbarrow. It works, but it is a tedious and time-consuming process. If you have a concrete mixer, you can speed things up by just making a few adjustments.

Use an old washing machine drum, a steel mesh trash can to make a drum, or a rotary sieve for your concrete mixer. Depending on the mixer you use, you can mount the drum drum over the existing drum slot, or remove the concrete drum to mount the stone drum on the mixer’s ring gear.

Once the new machine is installed, place a tarp or wheelbarrow under the stone drum to pick up the sifted manure, turning the machine on and loading it with a shovel load each time. Return the coarse material to the compost bin for further processing. The same setup works great for sifting rocks out of the soil to prepare a garden bed.

Related: Is Lumi Compost the Easiest Way to Turn Food Scraps into Soil? We tested it to find out

8. Feed mixtures intended for livestock.

White chicken on the farm

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Mixing your own animal feed can be a money saver and can be better for the animals too. Mixing livestock feed by hand is common, and may work well when you have a few small animals. As the herd grows, running the operation with the help of a concrete mixer allows you to spend more time with the animals and less time on feeding logistics.

Proper mixing ensures an accurate ratio of ingredients in each scoop of the final mixture. Add grains and seeds such as corn, flaxseed, oats, peas, sunflower seeds, and wheat in a desired ratio to the blender, turn it on, and let it blend for 5 minutes or so. You’ll get larger batches mixed faster and more evenly than by hand mixing.

RELATED: 11 Things You Need If You’re Raising Backyard Chickens

9. Hypertufa Handmade Garden Planters Blend.

Hypertova planter

Photo: DeJardinCreations on Etsy

Hypertufa is a lightweight casting medium made of cement, fine aggregate and organic materials. Gardeners use it to create custom planters that provide the perfect growing environment for alpine plants, succulents and annuals. Once cured, the material withstands freezing temperatures, giving the look of concrete or natural stone at a fraction of the weight and cost. They even take on a mossy appearance in just one or two seasons.

To mix a batch of Hypertufa, combine 1 part Portland cement with 1½ parts perlite or sand and 1½ parts peat moss. Add some water to the concrete mixer first, then add the Hypertufa mixture. There is no strict ratio of water to hypertrophic mixture because perlite, sand and peat moss contain varying amounts of moisture. The final mixture should look like dry cooked oatmeal. If you can squeeze the ball together and it sticks without squeezing out too much water, it’s right. Leave it for 5 minutes or so and then use it to fill out the forms. You can also buy one of these pots to try out before you spend time crafting; Hypertufa Round Planter from DeJardinCreations available on Etsy.

Related: 17 Planter Box Plans You Can DIY in a Weekend

10. Mixing concrete for roofs, fence posts and other medium-sized projects.

The fence is being built: installing wooden posts in the concrete foundation.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Of course, the main task of the concrete mixer is to mix water with the dry concrete mixture. But you don’t have to pull it out just for big projects. The mixer is a great choice for quick repairs or projects that require a larger amount of concrete than a bucket or wheelbarrow can hold. When completing small to medium-sized projects — especially those that require a consistent mix for strength or appearance — you can’t beat using a blender instead of hand stirring or using a drill with a mixer attachment.

The process is simple: Turn on the machine, add water (about 3 quarts per 80-pound bag of mix), add the dry mix, let it stir and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, then pour. For multiple runs or multi-day projects, some users purchase bulk ingredients to make their own dry mix concrete. A good general purpose dry mix includes 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, 4 parts gravel, and 1.5 to 2 parts water.

Related: How to Make Concrete Garden Edging

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