My Mulcher

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Date Of Project: Summer 1996

This is a picture of my mulcher

I built this mulcher a few years ago after we got a compost. I found out that the compost was filling up quite fast and wasn't decomposing as fast as it should. Someone said that it would compost faster if all the leaves and stuff were mulched. I had no desire to spend $400-$800 on a commercial mulcher, so I built this. The whole thing cost about $30.

Schematic Of MulcherThe mulcher can be thought of as an oddly shaped lawnmower. Instead of pushing it over grass and leaves, the things to be mulched are put down an aluminium air duct. The leaves and such then fall over the blades and get chopped up. The air currents inside the mulcher then circulate the mulch through the spinning blades again and again until everything is reduced to a fine powder. What comes out is a wonderfully rich, warm, steaming and already-starting-to-compost powder. This is then added to the compost, and is broken down very quickly.

One big feature of this mulcher is that is will mulch almost everything. Want to mulch dripping wet leaves you just removed from the gutter? No problem. Want to mulch plants you just dug up, wet and covered with mud? No problem. How about vines? No problem. This mulcher will even mulch fruits and vegetables. The mush that results will compost much quicker then whole or even cut up fruit.

This mulcher is much better then commercial models in that it is very simple. With only 1 moving part (excluding all the moving parts inside the engine), there is little to go wrong. Maintenance is easy, as the only maintenace required is to keep the blade sharp and keep the rest of the mulcher fairly clean. Because of this simplicity, the mulcher is very light. It can be easily moved to different parts of the yard. The mulch is removed by just lifting the unit (I plan to add a little door on the side sooner or later) so you can place the mulcher in your garden, mulch a bunch of stuff, move the unit out of the way and then just spread the mulch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read the following FAQ before emailing me about this project. It may answer your question. The FAQ is updated based on common questions I receive via email.

Are plans for the mulcher available?
No, sorry. I have not drawn up plans for the mulcher, and probably won't in the future. It is a very simple machine, and should be easy to recreate from the images shown.
Do you sell these?
No. I don't have any plans to manufactur them and offer them for sale.
Can I make an electric mulcher?
Yes! Of course! It would be an excellant idea. Not only environmentally friendly, but would probably perform better due to the high torque of the electric motor. Should be easy to do using an old electric lawnmower (people around here throw them out all the time).
Will this mulcher handle branches and sticks? How big?
This mulcher is designed primarily for leaves and other soft plant matter. It will handle small branches up to about 1/2" thick occasionally. But if you intend on mulching a lot of hard material you need to look elsewhere for something more suitable.

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