Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hand Powered Washing Machine Update

With two loads ran through the new Modern Day Hand Powered Washing Machine I can say with confidence it is a success.

Recap:
I came up with this design for a hand powered washing machine using two thirty gallon plastic drums cut three inches above center and a double plunger system. The wringer in the middle makes for a user friendly back and forth motion from the soap to rinse tubs.

The above picture is of the rinse side and the one below is of the washing side.
 The plungers were made from circles cut from scrap wood and attached by all thread to the swivel hangers on the arm. There are two sizes for each side with the smaller one on the bottom. The bottom edges of the circles are routed to lessen the splash when they displace the water.




All assembled and plumed in ready for her first load.









I did not get a picture of it because my hands were soapy, but I did wash board my jeans to aid in removing some of the stains.
After adding the homemade liquid soap, the load of clothes and letting them soak for a few minutes I finally got after my very first hand washing.  I found out there is kinda a trick to the plunging. You get into this rhythmic motion and the plungers start rocking back and forth to were they plunge the ends and middle making it where you do not have to agitate the cloths by hand very much. Even though, I still stirred the laundry around by hand while I was plunging just to make sure everything got a good pounding.
The dirty water indicated I was doing some good.

I kept up the plunging for about 10 minutes or so and then used the wringer to squeeze out most of the soapy water and on to the rinse cycle.



With a cute little paddle I made, I stirred the clothes around until I felt they were rinsed enough.
Then back through the wringer one more time and onto the clothes line to dry.

All and all I had a good time with it. I did have to take a couple of breaks during the plunging cycles but that's okay. I was using muscles I forgot I had and my left shoulder was about to give out but I manned up and plunged on.

Two loads and I bet I burnt a thousand calories. I now have a new respect for the old timers.

So there you go folks, kicking it Pioneer style here at the Mini Farm.

54 comments:

  1. buddy - that is soooo awesome! we love doing our laundry by hand - but we really do it by hand in bins - nothing fancy like your set-up! but we actually enjoy doing it - isn't that awesome?!?!?!? keep on going with the projects - we love them! update us on the girls! give us a call when you're bored. how are you all doing? tell Mrs. MDR i can't wait to speak with her again. oh and you, too, buddy!

    your friend,
    kymber
    (uh oh - jambaloney is groaning again!)

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    1. I figured that since you been doing your own laundry by hand for a while now, my buddy Jamb would have already made you some kind of contraption like this. Tell him to put the video games down and get to work.

      Will do on the updates, but there rally ain't nothing to update on. All three are working all the time leaving me and the wife home to toil in the gardens alone. I haven't spent any time with BEB because she has a new boy now and I take a back seat and only see her in passing, sometimes.

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  2. MDR,

    I think your washing machine setup is a wonderful seetup. We still use the old machine,I use the clothes line outside to help save some energy. Eventually, we will make a washing machine system but for now, what we have will do.

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    1. Sandy I would hate to have to wash more than a couple of loads a week in this thing.
      The one in the house is always full of one of the girls clothes so I solved that problem.

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    2. Yes, I see. That is a problem when you have girls, they take over the washing machine and the bathroom, LOL.

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  3. MDR, I agree with kymber & Sandy, that is an awesome setup. Good job!!!! Jealous, jealous...

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  4. i love it!!! people power is the best.

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  5. I bet if you looked at it from the side, you could figure out a way to make it a "stair-stepper" powered machine and save your shoulders.

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    1. It can be done Gorges, with springs or a spinning wheel.
      That was my first design and the plungers were going to be on a piston type bar that attached to a flywheel you controlled with your foot, but I got antsy and did it this way.

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  6. That is awesome, and even if it is a workout I know that it's got to be a whole lot easier than doing it in a tub with a washboard. Good job!!

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  7. All the ladies love it, so why do all of us men grunt?? You do set the bar high. Thanks pal.

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    1. All the ladies but mine Rob. No, she likes it, even better when I am the one using it.

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  8. Love it! Definitely saving this post for future reference :)

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  9. Love it. Our set up has been using 2 heavy duty black rubber stock tubs, and our homemade 'agitator' (a commercial grade heavy black toilet plunger with holes drilled thru) . With 9 children and this red clay homestead, I need a wringer for sure...we have several loads twice a week here!

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    1. Deanna, I would hate to do several loads twice a week. This morning we all got out there early and did about six loads and that was enough for me. Even had some friends stop by and watch.

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  10. Love it! Several years ago I use to just fill a large garbage can with water and homemade laundry soap and my then 3 year old daughter would put on her bathing suit. I would put her in the garbage can and she would have a blast stomping around on hot summer days! Fun for all! LOL

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    1. PTRADAAT, That is what I call killing two birds with one stone.
      Great story.

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    2. i think this is the funniest thing i ever heard , but oh did that child saved you some time while washing lol , this is just funny .

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  11. I know you are a REALLY busy guy, but it would be a super cool thing for you to post a more detailed description of how you put these together. I bet you could even sell the plans! I'd buy them...then make hubby make me one. =)

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    1. mamamcmann, A lot of people have said the same thing and even about the solar bath house. I just don't know how to do it. I do not have drafting software on my computer and I do not have any type of binding machine to make it into a booklet. If you have any ideas I would love to give it a try.

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    2. Draw pictures, use pictures you have taken, write out detailed descriptions of what you did, take extra pictures to show things - then sell it as an ebook - no need to bind things :). e-junkie and Paypal work well together to automatically deliver ebooks. Write it once, then poof - all done.

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    3. Thanks for the ideas Jodie. I just about have the ebook done now.

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    4. MDR, it would be great if you could do what Jodie suggested! I would love to see how you put it together.

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    5. It's in the works Anony. It should be out soon.

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  12. Just remember how to do laundry when the time comes and not have your wife do it all the time. lol

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    1. SFG, not to toot my own horn but I have done my own laundry for years. This build was for mainly me anyway because I can never get to the indoor washer without it having someones else clothes in it.

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  13. Very clever, prefect survival washer, and a work out as well.

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    1. Thank you Rina. It has now become more than a survival washer. We use it as our primary washer on wash days. The inside machine has taken a backseat and is only used for one load a week now.

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  14. How much Do you figure you put into making this? Cost wise so we can try it. A new one goes for $150.00 here is where i found them. http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/best-hand-wringer-for-laundry-or-car-wash

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    1. I would love to buy one of these set ups because I am not (wood working) type of crafty myself.

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    2. Anony, I would figure about $50.00 cash. Being a junk collector I had most of the stuff already. I guess if I had to buy everything new it would have cost around $300.00
      I hope that answered your questions.

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  15. Now if we could just attach that plunger arm to my rocking chair..... lol !

    Marci357

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    1. Thanks for the comment Marci, That would be a lot easier. You could say you are rocking the dirt away.

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  16. As a suggestion, you could try to automated it a bit, and instead of using your hands, to use your feet...

    using a bicycle, you could paddle it, and the bean with the plungers would go up and down.... this way you would have speed, and would not get so tired... as the lower part of the body usually has more power than the upper part :D

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions Tanita. I like the simplicity of the washer. I saw several that used bikes and other means to power the machine but I chose to use upper body for the exercise and the hands on approach. The way the clothes lay in the tub, you have to agitate them some with your other hand while you plunge. It makes for a great experience.
      Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Now if we could only harness wind power...

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  18. That is totally awesome and very creative. I love it. IF you don't mind me asking how did you make it. I would love to have one of my own to use. Or if any other ladies have a design they would not mind me using woudl also be great. Trying to find ways to save money and this would be a perfect add to my list.

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    1. Linsey, Thanks for the comment. I will have a ebook out soon on how to build it. Keep checking back in, it should not be long now.

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  19. I would love to have the directions on how to build this step by step. Pls email this to me at bmichaux1960@gmail.com. It's for my daughter that lives in the mountains of KY

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  20. very cool
    metal drums and rocket stoves for hot water washing would be good.
    Back in the day, you boiled white clothes to reduce scrubbing time, but even warm water helps with real soap type soap more than with detergents. They also soaked things a day ahead.
    Love the plunger thingy...very good idea.

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    1. Thanks Anony,
      This sits behind the bathhouse where there is 150 degree water heated by the sun in a batch solar water heater system.

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  21. oh my goodness i love this, i don't care i want my husband to build this for my wedding gift lol i don't mind the exercise god knows i need it , but let me just tell you how bloody smart this is, i'm so done with over paying for electricity . ha ha ha im so saving this !

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    1. Thanks Lindsy. Just last week our washer went out in the house. The wife had to use this outdoor washer and soon found another in house one. I still use this one often.

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  22. Great washing machine that can wash clothes as well as build some muscles. It can offer other advantages like shave electricity bills.

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