Cheap Bingo Style Tumbler Thing

Ok, not much of a title, but I’m not sure what else to call it. It was fun building it and it worked great when we used it this morning. First let me explain what it is. I have been thinking of a way to choose players for games in a manner that was fair and took any appearance of favoritism out of the picture. Then I started thinking of a Bingo cage. So, I went to my local Lowe’s and proceeded to walk around and see what I could come up with. What you see is the result of that time. In this tumbler I placed 50 plastic ball pit balls that I had numbered 1 – 50. Then I spun it around, opened the hatch and pulled out 1 ball at a time till I had all the players I needed. Here is the final product, then I’ll explain how I made it.

Photo Apr 11, 8 16 32 PM


This is the finished product including a nice cote of bright red paint on the body and blue on the legs.






Photo Apr 11, 8 16 45 PMHere is the hatch that I use to take balls out. I’ll explain how I made it as we get a little further on.







Photo Apr 11, 8 16 40 PM



Here you can see the hatch opened.






Photo Apr 11, 12 33 13 PM Ok, now down to the nitty gritty, as they say. Pictured here are all the raw materials. Here are some of the larger pieces listed. I’ve added individual pictures of the smaller parts below.

1 – 5 gallon bucket, with lid

Approx. 6 feet of 1/2in PVC tubing.




Photo Apr 11, 12 33 34 PM  This is one of those small magnetic closure things for holding cabinets closed. It will be used to hold the hatch closed while spinning of sitting.






Photo Apr 11, 12 33 41 PM These are 90degree PVC elbows. You’ll need these for your legs and your pivot point. 2 of them are required. Make sure that all the fittings are press fit, not threaded.






Photo Apr 11, 12 33 37 PM  Cheap cabinet pull handle. I think this one was like $.97. It’s wooded so it took paint very well.







Photo Apr 11, 12 33 42 PM  This is a dryer vent cover. I liked it because it had a round flange that could go through the hole that was to be cut in the bucket and had a hinged flap which is what I needed.






Photo Apr 11, 12 36 00 PM  Here is what the side of the dryer vent looks like.











Photo Apr 11, 12 42 48 PM  The first step was to remove the shroud type piece from over the flap. This would just be in our way as we try to get balls out of the  hole. I’m using 2″ balls in my tumbler. However, if you are using smaller balls you could, perceivably, keep this part intact and just open the grate to get the balls out. I chose to remove it.








Photo Apr 11, 12 51 51 PM   I goofed here. I didn’t realize that the back of this shroud was actually holding the flap from coming loose. As a result I cut it off and found that the flap would just fall off. So, I had to make a plan B and figure out something that would hold the flap in place. If you are careful and don’t cut off that piece of the shroud that covers the back of the hinge area, you should be good to go. At some point I will probably get a new dryer vent and redo this.



Photo Apr 11, 1 15 14 PM  Next to come off was this metal piece. It came off pretty easily.










Photo Apr 11, 1 15 18 PM  This metal piece is held in place by 4 plastic tabs like this one. Since I wasn’t planning to keep the metal piece, I just bent it so that it could clear the tabs and then pulled it out.






Photo Apr 11, 1 35 37 PM Now I drilled a hole in the end of the bucket. I started with a small drill bit so as to get a good center. The maker of the bucket were nice enough to put a little dimple right int he middle. Once I had a good center hole I used a whole saw that was very close to the size of the PVC pipe.





Photo Apr 11, 1 35 43 PM  Next I used the same process I used to put the hole in the bottom of the bucket and put a whole in the lid.







Photo Apr 11, 1 35 40 PM  Next I cut a round hole in the bucket. This hole is the size of the opening in the dryer vent. The square flange of the vent will cover this hole so it doesn’t have to be exact, but I cut pretty close to allow for a tight fit.





Photo Apr 11, 2 08 05 PM Now to install the flap. Notice that I used my Dremel tool to grind down the sides of the square flange. This allowed the piece to fit more closely.







Photo Apr 11, 2 08 35 PM  Here you can see where the flap assembly is bolted to the bucket. I used the flange itself as a guide for drilling the holes for the bolts.






Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the next step. So, I’ll explain it. If you want me to I’d be more than happy to take a picture of this step on the finished product and post it.

Anyway, the next thing I did was cut a hole right next to the opening in the flap. This hole is for the magnet cabinet closure thing. I then mounted the magnet side of this closure piece to the underside of the flap assembly. The little metal piece that goes with it will later be mounted to the flap itself.

Photo Apr 11, 3 25 57 PM  Now that the magnet closure is attached to the underside of the flange assembly I had to open up the hole to make room for it. this is what the hole looked like when it was done. Then I mounted the flap assembly to the bucket as show above.





Another thing that I forgot to picture, but makes a big difference is in mounting the metal from the magnetic closure to the flap itself. In order to make it sit flat and line up with the magnet I had to get creative. I took a leftover piece of the PVC pipe used for the legs and ground the end to match the contour of the underside of the flap. I then cut it down to size so that it would cause the metal tab to lie flat. Finally, I drilled a hole in the flap and used a short bolt and the PVC spacer to mount the metal plate to the flap.

Photo Apr 11, 8 16 32 PM Again, this is the final product. For the legs and “axle” I cut the “Axle” piece to the approximate length. You want it to go all the way through and stick out a little on both ends. I then put one of the 90degree fittings on one end stuck it through the bucket and marked the other end to trim it down to the right size.

Next I cut the legs to 10 inches each and pressed them into place. This provided plenty of clearance for the flap when spinning the tumbler.



Once I had test fit everything I took the leg and axle off as well as the lid. I assembled the leg/axle assemble apart from the bucket and painted them legs blue and the bucket and lid red. Once everything was dry I put it all back together and off we went.

If you have questions I love to hear them. I can take more pictures if you have something specific you want to see.




Matt Norman

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Cheap and Easy Empty Tomb

I posted some pics of the empty tomb I built for our children’s church Easter service and some wanted to know how I did it. I had planned to build a wooden frame and cover it with a canvas painter’s drop cloth, but decided to see what I could come up with using what we already had on hand. So, mine ended up costing us $O and took me about 3-3.5 hours.


Tomb pic 2 Here is the final product with the cool lighting effects. This is how the kids will see it.






Tomb pic 1This is the finished product with all the lights on.







Tomb pic 3This is the empty stage. Ah how I love an empty canvas. For reference sake the stage is 17.5 feet wide and 8 foot deep. The stage is 14 inches tall and it is around a little less than 8 feet from the floor of the stage to the ceiling.



Tomb pic 4To create the structure of the tomb, I made two stacks of chairs till I got the height I wanted. To the left of this picture you can see the round table that became the stone. I used it to help me decide how tall to make the tomb. I didn’t want the opening bigger than my stone.


Tomb pic 5 Next I ran two pool noodles between the two stacks to give shape to the opening for the tomb. This also gave me something to attache the black paper that I used for the inside of the tomb to.




Tomb pic 6 Here you can see that the gap was too big for one pool noodle. So, I used two and wrapped a rope around them to tie them together. You could also use packaging tape or masking tape. This is what I did when I added one to the back of the stack.





Tomb pic 7 This is just a top view showing the two pool noodles in the front and the two in the back (which I hadn’t taped yet).







Tomb pic 8 I knew that I would need to black out the inside of the tomb and hide the chairs or the boys would really give me a hard time. We had an 8 foot wide roll of black paper. So, I cut of a strip of that and taped it to the pool noodles and chairs. The on thing I forgot to do here was to ball up the paper first. This gives it a more “rocky” look. This should be ok inside the tomb, but it would have been even better if I had.


Tomb pic 9 To black out the back I used a black twin sized flat sheet I had on hand. This was actually much easier to work with than the paper. I just taped it in place at the top.






Tomb pic 10


Now I covered the hole thing with brown paper. We had a roll that was 8 foot wide. It did not cover the entire stack, but remember, no one is going to see the back. To get a “rocky” texture ball up the paper first, then flatten it back out (some) before covering the stacks with it.


Tomb pic 11 After wrapping the chairs I was left with the ends open. So, I took a small table I had, covered it in paper and placed it at the end of the stack. This hid the end of the stack and added a little more interest to the shape.

You can see this at the left of the tomb in this picture.




Tomb pic 12 Now I crawled inside from the back, lifting up the sheet in the back to gain access to the inside. (this is another reason to use a sheet instead of paper if you can). From inside I cut the opening with a box cutter. Doing it from the inside insured that I didn’t cut it too big. Cutting this opening with a box cutter left a very crisp edge. This didn’t look very “rocky”. So, I rolled the edges in to make them look more rocky. This also added some depth to the opening.


Tomb pic 13 Here I added the stone. The stone is simply a large round table wrapped with the same paper that covers the tomb. Be sure to ball up the paper before using it to wrap the table.





Tomb pic 1 Not real easy to see in this picture, but the final step was to do some dry brushing with some brown and then some black, white and brown mixed. This highlights some of the wrinkles and gives the while thing a more natural, rocky appearance. If you click on the picture you can see a bigger version of it and the painting shows up better.





The one thing that I didn’t get a picture of is the back of the table. For safety sake I tied the table to the stack of chairs near the top. This should prevent it from falling over onto a kid.


I hope you find this helpful. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comment section below. If you decide to do something similar, I’d love to see your finished product.





Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.