** Reviewed,  Family Ministry,  How-To

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

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.

I am a Christian, husband, father, pastor, church planter, nurse, and freelance writer.


  • Rich Smith

    We have both our members and guests write their names on craft sticks and put them in separate boys and girls cups. Then we just draw from the cups. This gives the boys and the girls equal opportunity and it works well for us.

    • Matt Norman

      I determined ahead of time how many girls and boys I was gonna use. Hen, if I drew extra boys or girls after reaching my number I just set the balls aside. Worked great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: