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Worm Harvester - 200 Plans

Thanks for downloading worm harvester – 200 plans from Organic Worm Farm. This model can
be used for harvesting worms and worm castings as well as to separate debris and sort
composted materials. These plans are a free gift for anyone signed up for the Worm
Composting Newsletter; hence I ask that you do not forward but rather direct others to
Please keep in mind I am not a graphics or drawing person so I have included a few drawings
while implementing as many pictures as needed. Also, I did not have plans to build this from as
I built it from scratch, hence why there are a couple modifications since the original video and
pictures online.
Also I have found in the past some had difficulties locating items such as the 1/8” galvanized
hardware cloth, hence have added links at the end of this file where you can purchase some of
the materials and equipment listed throughout.
Lastly, the worm harvester powered by a drill which is 7 amps, a larger one can be used in its
place since the system can bog down slightly if too much material is added at once. For most
this will be ample. The power of the drill is adjusted by a dimmer switch which has been
inputted into an extension cord and the drill being plugged into it. Being electrical work can
start fires; I am not going to show this knowledge, however most dimmer switches come with
directions themselves.
Thanks and enjoy!
8 – 2” X 4” X 8’ (PT are cheaper)
5 – 2” slim casters
2 – 2” wide casters
1lb. 1 5/8” deck screws
1lb. 2 ½” deck screws
1 – 4’ X 2” PVC
4 – 2 1/2” X 5” X 5/16” U-Bolts
1 – 2” X 5” X 5/16” U-Bolt
8 – 5/16” Wing Nuts
50 – 3/16” X ¼” Rivets
50 – 1/8” X ¼” Rivets
50 - #6 Washers
3 – 20” X 1.75” Bicycle Rims… See photo below for one of the rims needed… Remove all spokes
1 – 1/8” X 2’ X 5’ Galvanized Hardware Cloth
1 – ¼” X 2’ X 5’ Galvanized Hardware Cloth
1 – ½” Drill
1 – 2 ½” Pulley – ½” drive
1 – 60 ½” Slotted Automotive Belt
I – ½” X 6” Aluminum Rod or Threaded Rod.
1 6’ X 14” Wide Vinyl Flashing
1 – 1/8” X 20” X 4’ Plywood (or paneling, even thinner than 1/8”)
1 – 2” X 2” X 4’ piece of wood (can be ripped off 2X4)
2 – Wood or Composite Shims
1/8” Drill Bit
3/16” Drill Bit
5/16” drill bit
Screw Gun
Rivet Gun - which handles 1/8” and 3/16” rivets.
Wire Cutters (Cut Galvanized Hardware Cloth)
Hex Wrench
Tape Measure
Before Getting Started:
A couple pointers before we get into the plans. The first item is to look at the picture of the one
rims which is required and notice the way the slim caster fits inside riding on a side rail and not
all the way seated down inside the rim permitting spacing between the wheel and the rivets
used to fasten the hardware cloth below. You will need one rim like this one as the other two
will not matter.
Also the two types of casters needed are the slim pictured below and a side by side comparison
of the slim and wide casters below.
If you plan to use the worm harvester outside, you could replace two of the thin casters that
support one end of the unit itself with an axle and some lawnmower wheels.
Also before I move on with the plans, I did build this by myself however if you can grab an extra
pair of hands, attaching the hardware cloth to the rims as well as adjusting the drill height
would be much easier.
On another note, a couple pictures have changed due to some revisions I made and add ons to
make the worm harvester more effective. This is due to the fact I did not have plans when I
built this unit but rather drummed it up in my head and built it as I had imagined in my head…
Please keep comments to yourself 
Wood to wood, use 2 ½” screws unless otherwise noted. Casters use 1 5/8” screws.
Lastly, it is always a good idea to pre drill the screw holes first using the 1/8” drill bit to help
prevent splitting the wood.
Getting Started:
The easiest place to begin is to build the trommel itself as the other measurements play of the
overall size. First you will need to cut both of the galvanized hardware cloths to 50 inches.
Next take the vinyl flashing and cut a 50 inch piece. Then rip the flashing in half so as you have
to 50 inch by 7 inch pieces.
Remember, when you begin putting this together you always want each piece of hardware
cloth and vinyl flashing to begin at the same point and end at the same point as well as roll it
the same way so when you look down the trommel there exist a straight seam overlapping a
couple inches.
The overall length of the trommel from rim number one to the rim on the other end is 47 12”. E
overall length encompassing all three rims is 47 ½ inches. The picture below does not illustrate
that the end of the tape measure is actually not on the center rim but the one on the opposite
end. In short, t
Put aside the one rim which needs to fit the caster as illustrated at the beginning of these
directions as we will use it later.
Take the other two rimes and roll the ¼” hardware cloth up and place a rim on either end.
Insert the flashing remembering to roll it the same way and line up the starting and ending
seams tucked between the hardware cloth and the rim. Remember you want an even flow for
your worms.
Now be sure that the hardware cloth is flush with the outer end of the rim while the flashing is
flush with the inner side (towards the second rim).
Use the 1/8” drill bit and drill out one of the spoke holes. You may have to ream it out just a
hair larger than your bit. Use the 3/16” rivet by placing the rivet gun on the inside of the
trommel forcing it up through the hardware cloth, flashing and rim and fasten. Continue this
hitting at least every fourth spoke hole.
Now take the 1/8” hardware cloth, and place the specially needed rim on one side and inserting
the other end into the ¼” hardware cloth. Again pay attention to lining up the seam running the
length of the trommel as well as rolling it the same way.
Now you want to make the ¼” screen flush with the rim side towards the 1/8” screen and visa
versa. Once lined up go ahead and start drilling and riveting together.
The last rim is done the same, making sure the screen is flush with the outside of the rim all the
way around.
Next cut a 2” strip from the leftover vinyl flashing to rivet the length of the seam inside the
harvester. You will need to drill 1/8” holes through the flashing. Again insert the rivet gun inside
of the harvester. Once you poke the rivet through, place one small washer on the outside
before riveting so as the rivet does not simply fall through the galvanized hardware cloth.
Continue by spacing rivets approximately 4” apart on both sides of the vinyl flashing strip.
Building The Main Frame
First we need to cut two of the 2” X 4” X 8’. You will need one 5’ piece from each as well as one
26” piece from each to construct the main frame. Notice the five foot pieces fit inside the 26”
pieces in the drawing below.
They are fastened by two 2 ½” screws in each corner, one top and one bottom.
Adding The Four Legs:
Next grab two more 2” X 4” X 8’ and make two cuts in each of these, one 33” piece and one 19
½” piece. Place the remainder to the side from each stick as we will make more cuts from them
The “Start End” listed in the below diagram is the end of the harvester / sifter that we will be adding
material once completed, hence leaving the “Finish End” where the worms or large debris will exit.
The 33” pieces are the leg supports for the Start End, however notice in the diagram below how the
Start End legs protrude 5 ½” above the frame while the Finish End legs are flush with the top of the main
The 4” side of the legs rest on the 5’ sides of the frame. The below image is of the Finish End looking up
towards the Start End. Notice the two screws to support the leg. On the other side of the leg use
another three 2 ½ inch screws in a triangle shape to adhere the leg to the frame. Use the same screw
locations on all four legs.
You can stand the unit on end so as the “Finish End” is up in the air to screw in two casters on the
bottom of the legs securely. The leg lengths have already been adjusted to support these casters.
Now you want to go back to the two pieces of 2 X 4’s you cut the leg supports from and cut one 23”
piece and one 19 ¾” piece from each. These will be for the main trommel support with the thin casters,
holding it in place on the frame from the “Full View” in the image above.
A quick note: I used screws on the top board; however some sort of quick release could be used instead.
I mention this as this is the only piece that needs to be removed should you wish to remove the trommel
itself from the entire frame unit. I did this in the event you needed to repair the hardware cloth and can
be utilized should you wish to build other screen sizes which can be interchangeable.
Notice from the 2
drawing above that the sides are inserted between the top and bottom pieces.
Also from the same drawing above, you can see the casters are set 3 ¾” in from the inside corners while
being flush with one edge facing the “finish End” of the unit. Also since the bike rimms can be a little
wharped especially being the spokes have been removed I only set two screws out of four on each
towards the “Start End”. At the sametime the screws were not fastened down but rather just snug
enough to allow the casters to wobble a bit to allow for any wharping in the rim. The image below will
give you a better comprehension of this.
As for the top caster, this one is centered and the screws were left loosely fastened as you will notice
from the photo below, I used a shim to adjust it as needed. Once the unit is built you can unscrew the
top piece to the frame to adjust this caster and secure the four screws. Be sure to also fasten this caster
flush with the frame towards the “Finish End”. I did use four screws to fasten this one.
Grab another 2 X 4 and cut a 23” piece to place on top of the “Starter End” legs and fasten with 2 ½”
screws which will support a 5 gallon bucket cut in half with the bottom removed used as a guide while
pouring or dropping your mix into the harvester. The five gallon buckets rests on two edges, see in the
photo below and is secured with just two 1 5/8” screws. The two edges to achieve an angle are the
protruded plastic edge of the bucket towards the top of it which rests on the top 2 X 4 towards the
“Start End” while the smooth part of the bucket rests on the top 2 X 4 towards the “Finish End” hence
angling the bucket in towards the trommel once in place.
Now grab the same 2 X 4 you last used to cut the top frame piece for the 5 gallon bucket and cut one
23” piece and two 21 ½” pieces… the last piece will require a fresh stick of 2” X 4”. These will be used to
support the drill mount and leaves room for adjustments on the belt if needed when putting all
together. Simply stand up the two sides (21 ½” pieces) and lay the 23” piece across flush with the sides
and screw together.
Next center the 2” U-Bolt from left to right. Adjust the U-Bolt ¾” from the edge of the “Finish End” and
drill two 5/16” holes through the top 2 X 4 which will be for the drill mount. This allows for enough of
the drill to rest firmly on the 2 X 4. If you decide to use a larger drill, you might consider using 2” X 6” for
this mounting frame. Now before mounting the drill, notice the shim under the drill used to angle the
drill upwards a little to keep the spindle of the drill from rubbing on the wood.
Cut the aluminum rod to allow approximately ½” spacing between the pulley and the drill spindle and
attach all three together.
Probably the easiest way to mount the next piece is to precut it 23” long 2” X 4”. Next drill holes with
the 5/16” bit to mount the wide casters. These are mounted 7” from each end of the 23” piece of 2 X 4
and flush to the “Starting End” of the unit.
Being these are a spindle type mounting caster, I used two 1 5/8” screws on the outside of each cater
mount to secure it and prevent them from rotating in the socket which has been drilled to fit the caster.
To set this piece in place, remove the top 2” X 4” plate from the “Start End” of the worm harvester with
the thinner casters. Next place the trommel on the “Start End” casters and see where the “Finish End”
casters need to be positioned. Most likely you will need to notch out approximately 1” from the “Finish
End” casters 2 X 4 to straddle the “Finish End” legs. You can see this in the 2
to last picture on the right
Once you have made your two notches, one on either side, hold it in place while the trommel is also
positioned to figure the height position within the main frame. Be sure the end of the trommel will not
rest or drag on the “Finish End” of the main frame. Secure with 2 ½” screws.
Cut a 16” piece of 2” X 4” and notch out a piece to allow fitting butted against the leg as in the
illustration below while flush with the bottom main frame so as to have an end support for the
backsplash for the worm castings. Do not pay any attention to the 2” x 2” lying across as this has been
modified and will be illustrated below later on.
Just to get caught up, here is basically what you are currently looking at.
Next you will need an approximate 50” piece of the 2” X 4” ( take a measurement as depending where
you set the “Finish End” casters this can vary) which will rest on the back side and on top of the two
bottom rails with casters running from the “Start End’ to the “Finish End” replacing the 2” X 2” in a
previous picture.
Next you will need a 4 foot by 20” piece of 1/8” plywood or paneling will do. Just need it to be flexible as
this will need to have a little curve placed in it to be sure it does not lay to close to the trommel itself,
hence dragging.
I notched both ends as you can see one end from the photo below by the caster. I ripped up a height of
5 ½” on both sides. The depth or distance between both will vary again depending on the setup of the
“Finish End” caster support, hence a quick measurement will tell you.
Slide the backsplash into place and use 1 5/8” screws to secure it along the top at the three 2” X 4”
supports. Next place the trommel in place and rotate it on the casters to see where you may need to
curve the backsplash in. I used three 2 ½” screws to pull the backsplash in by tying them into the three
back supports. I tightened up just enough to pull the backsplash in where needed as you do not want to
crack the backsplash, hence why you need a thin piece of plywood, paneling…
Finally, use the 1 5/8” screws to secure the bottom to the 2” X 4” bottom support.
A couple other modifications and you are done.
First being the worm harvester is a dual sized screen I found that the castings would run over into the
next bin collecting worm cocoons and some larger pieces of debris. Hence to rectify this I used a 2” X 2”
piece of wood however you can rip a 1 ½” piece of 2” X 4” as it needs to be flush with the bottom of the
main frame and cannot stick up too high.
I scribed the backsplash end first than cut the piece to size. Before installing I took a leftover piece of the
vinyl flashing and cut it a little larger than the stick just cut. Folded the vinyl in half lengthwise and
scribed the angle for the backsplash side onto the vinyl. I cut the vinyl to size.
I fastened the piece of wood directly centered under the middle bike rim. Next I took the flashing and
placed it over the wood making sure it sat below the rim so as not to rub against it during operation of
the worm harvester. I used a few screws to secure the vinyl in place… can use the 1 5/8” however I had
some ½” lathe screws laying around. Yes I have a lot of stuff laying around 
The last piece of the puzzle was created to prevent some of the material along with some worms from
backing up when pouring into the worm harvester and actually spilling out the “Start End” rather than
flowing through the worm harvester.
A simple fix was to take a piece of the leftover vinyl flashing 10” long and fold a 1” seam lengthwise. I
than cut the wider end up to the folded seam leaving it attached at the 1” seam. I than sat this in the
corner of the backsplash and the 2” X 4” support for the “Start End” casters making sure is just so ever
slightly was rubbing against the rim and fastened with a couple screws. I taped the inside of the joint.
Lastly you can notice the drill cord in the right side of the picture above. I wrapped this around as to
insure it would not be caught or rub against the trommel while in operation.
One additional simple modification to these plans I made was to place two five gallon buckets upside
down under the last bin which collects the worms at the end of the harvester. This prevents the long
drop into the collection bin the worms used to go through as we were harvesting them by dramatically
shortening the drop height from a couple feet to just 6 inches.
For those having problems locating some of the material and or worm farming equipment, I have now
included a few links to find these.
As for bicycle rims, these are best found at places locally such as
Luster Leaf 1820 Rapitest Soil Moisture Meter
Luster Leaf 1840 Rapitest Soil pH Meter
Redi-Roll Hardware Cloth, 1/8" x 36" x 10'
Redi-Roll Hardware Cloth, 1/4" x 48" x 10'
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