Low cost pedalpower rootwasher

Tool Concept
Commercial Product

Primary problem statement:
I am a farmer and I want a tool to replace my tractor for low horsepower jobs where human power is sufficient because it's possible depending on the job and better for my health..
Read more about this problem statement


Low cost root washer that can be pedal powered. It should be easily constructed on-farm. This is suitable for carrots, potatoes, etc. Can handle how many pounds/bushles per hour? This rootwasher was demonstrated at red planet vegetables 3/10/2012:
Documentation Wiki: 

Description: pedal powered root washer constructed of a wood frame, exercise bicycle, 16 inch BMX bike, roller blade wheels, misc. bicycle parts. Barrel is 5 feet long and approx 27 inches diameter. Can be used as a batch washer by one person, washing 30lbs of roots in approx 5 minutes. Or can be used as a throughput washer by two or three people. Requires a garden hose. Human power required is small, suitable for child labor.

Video of root washer in action

This tool could use some more documentation

a suggested template for further documentation Problem addressed: This device makes washing dirty roots fun. Carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc. can be washed more quickly than by hand. Commercial versions are bigger and more expensive, but can handle more roots. i think this tool is scaled for farms roughly between 3 and 20 acres. (please provide a description of the purpose of the tool, and how this addresses a need. For example, commercial versions are too expensive or unavailable etc.)

Functional Description : The operator pedals the bicycle which drives the barrel around via a very low gear ratio and a friction coupling. Meanwhile, a sprayer pipe admits fine jets of water into the barrel. A combination of the roots rolling against the barrel staves and the water cleans the roots. Gaps between the barrel staves allow the water to pass out onto the ground. Roots can shuffle through the barrel in continuous fashion, or be trapped inside the barrel for longer washing. (Please add description of the operating Principles, please provide diagrams or links to references)

How to use the tool (this would be the equivalent of an owners manual, pictures and video are excellent in this section)

Bill of materials and Sourcing (this section should include a list of materials, and dimensions and sources for each item when available)

Construction/how to build: i am making a set of instructions and drawings for people who want to build one themselves. (this section should include basic step by step instructions and include supporting documentation like engineering drawings, CAD or CAM files, as well as supporting photos and videos)

Next steps: (This section is to highlight what next steps are needed for documentation or construction to move the project along. This might contain a link to a kickstarter campaign or to a forum discussion etc.)

Market Place: The niche for this tool is small, and it is not worth making from new parts. i build them from scavenged exercise bikes and other bikes, as well as old roller blade wheels that i dumpster dive or buy at the Goodwill. The wood for the frame is scavenged and i buy good planks for the barrel so it won't fall apart. i buy high quality screws and screw everything together so it can be taken apart and improved by the owner. Simple renovations like replacing a stave, or raising the whole barrel up higher in the frame so it can be emptied into a taller produce bin are easily done by the farmer with a driver drill and maybe a skillsaw. i don 't paint or finish the root washers in any way. i wouldn't want paint flecks to get in the carrots, and anyway, i hope the shabby appearance of these washers makes people unbashfull about tearing it apart and making it better. If you want to buy one contact bravelittleship at gmail.com

Design Change: The amount of roots that can be washed in one batch is limited by the friction coupling between a BMX tire and some scored pieces of wood attached to the outside of the barrel. i told people who wanted more friction to use a softer tire and/or rout out the scored wooden plates on their barrel to make them grab the tire better. Recently i built one where i experimented with welding a second rim next to the rim of the drive wheel. Then i mounted a tire on each rim, doubling the tire to wood contact area. This doesn't really double the friction, but it makes a lot more friction. The exercycle dropouts need to be modified to accommodate the wider tires. If you own one of my root washers and you want to make this modification, please contact me at bravelittleship at gmail.com

(this section might link to fabricators of the tool or tool components who are members of the farm hack community)

Related Discussion on the ForumsRoot Washer Improvement

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PLANS , complete and artistic, for the bike powered root washer are NOW AVAILABLE. Email Lu for details!

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