Automatic Compost Sifter – Screen

You may have read my post a few years back regarding my Homemade Compost Sifter Screen Sieve.  I’ve received some great feedback and comments on this fun little project.  One of them really caught my attention and with the permission of the inventor I’m going to post his amazing improvements here! 

It all started back on 5/4/08 when I received the following email:

“Hello Rob,I stole your idea and took it on one stage… hope you like it!  Check out Sid, he’s just doing his job… that’s all!Cheers for the inspiration”Attached was the following video:



I was blown away at the design!   I promptly asked for more a few picture of the mechanism which I received (click thumbnail for larger image):

auto-compost1.jpg    auto-compost2.jpg

I also received a little more info:  “I used some old drawer runners for the carriage to slide smoothly and the spinning crank bit is an old component from some office furniture, I think it is a bracket that you bolt a leg onto and then screwed the plate onto the underside of a table/desk top.  Quite good as it has a “Hex” shape recess to take an M10 bolt, so the shaft can’t wear out and start spinning around.”

My only question / suggestion to this amazing design was, “Any thoughts on how to make this so you don’t have to dump out the contents?   I’ve wondered if a gravity fed system with an agitator would work.”

The reply came: “You were so right about the – having to stop every 4 shovels to take out the stones!  A radical free think was required this morning and now Sid sieves, sorts and spits without the need to stop… ever!  I end up with rocks over 1 inch in the barrow and stones between 1/2 – 1 inch in the blue box which I recycle to create the walking areas between the raised beds!”

Here’s an updated video:

WOW, no more shoveling. But it got even better with the next design that did 3 individual sortings at once!!!:

Well, just when I thought I had seen it all, the design got even better:

Just amazing!!!    This beautiful contraption makes my little manual compost sifter look like a couple of dumb boards nailed together. 🙄

If you have any comments on this design or would like to share your own version please comment below!

15 thoughts on “Automatic Compost Sifter – Screen”

  1. Totally cool; wish I had the engineering and carpentry skills to make my own. As it stands, all I have is the strength to lift a screen and shake it. He should give instructions on how to build it, or patent and market the design. I’d buy one!

  2. Great idea, I have been thinking of doing the same. One question, how do you get so many stones in your compost?

  3. Richard, unfortunately the plans are locked up in the head of the evil genius in the UK that built this beautiful thing. I think once he’s finished building his rammed earth wall he’s going to offer a kit and/or plans for sale.

  4. Inspired by Sid the Sifter but suspiciopus of the vibration and angled drive I am making Son of Sid.

    The sifting box is hinged inside a close fitting open carrier box to allow debris to be tipped out. The carrier box has four, small, in-line castor wheels which run on plain wooden rails. The rails are fixed to the inside of an open table-frame with, T-nuts, anti-vibration mounts and angle brackets.

    The motor is a modified reciprocating saw slowed to a variable speed of 0 – 200 cycles per min. This is clamped to a mounting board which is fixed firmly across the rails. A push-pull rod replaces the saw blade and attaches to the outer box with a gate latch with a 10mm bolt through both.

    Because all the moving parts are on A / V mounts the table frame takes very little vibration. The sifting box has a 6mm mesh and is fitted with a piano hinge for tipping. The control box has an on/off switch and a speed control potentiometer.

    It has yet to be used in anger. Pictures may be available by mail.

  5. Too cool! Wish I understood what you guys were doing! I really wish I had the knowledge and tools required to build one of these sifting boxes. Some day…

  6. Thanks guys – a great contraption. I need one butdo not have electricity where I am gonna put it so I am going to try a small 4-stroke horiz. shaft engine ( 3 HP ). Will probably have to rig a couple of pulley to get the rpm down to a manageable level that won’t have to shaker arm going red hot.

    Thanks. Just a great gadget.

  7. To: Richard Buxton

    Sounds fabulous! Can you emal me photos of your contraption? How about instructions on how to build one?


  8. Marvelous! This is an incredible device! I have about 8 yards of dirt to sift and didn’t relish the thought of all that manual labour. I had a vague idea of an electrically powered Sid-like contraption and went surfing. Lo and behold … Sid (and Son of Sid) is the perfect solution. Thank you all.

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