Several months ago, Becky covered my remake of a low quality trash bag holder I bought through a SkyMall-esque catalog. This is how I explained the project at the time:
Trash cans have always sort of annoyed me. They take up so much space, especially if, like me, you favor large cans to minimize the number of trips to the dumpster each week. There’s no practical way to pack a large trash can for storage or transport. If you’re moving, of course, you can fill the can with lightweight stuff like dirty clothes or something, but only if you’re willing to expose your linen to the inside of your trashcan. I always use trash bags, anyway, and for my money if you use a bag the only major function of the can is to hold the bag open. Well, it’s possible to achieve that same function with a much cheaper, lighter, and compact device.
This how-to covers a slightly refined version of my original design, with one of its three legs removed in order to facilitate removing a full bag of trash from the frame. Also, some of the joints have been selectively glued in order to prevent annoying pop-outs without sacrificing collapsibility, and a simpler means of attaching the retaining clips has been devised.
This design is sized to accept 32 gallon trash bags. Tools:
- Plastic pipe cutter (or mitre saw)
- Tape measure
- Drill with 3/16″ bit
- Small wire cutters
- 126″ nominal 1/2″ Flex-Plus blue plastic electrical nonmetallic tubing (“conduit”)
- 48″ nominal 1/2″ PVC pipe
- 4 pcs 1/2″ PVC “tee” fittings, unthreaded
- 1 pc 1/2″ PC straight coupling, unthreaded
- 3 pc broom clips, size medium
- 24″ #6 ball chain
- 6 pcs #6 “eye” ball chain fittings
- Paper towels
- Clear PVC cement (e.g. Lasco 11-2360), smallest size available
- 1 x 50″ length conduit (“long”)
- 1 x 25″ length conduit (“medium”)
- 3 x 17″ lengths conduit (“short”)
- 2 x 24″ length pipe
- 3 x 8″ #6 ball chain
Step 1: Cut parts to length
Measure and mark all cuts. If the conduit gives you grief because of its tendency to coil, try marking the lengths you want to cut lightly on a door frame in pencil. Then flatten the conduit against the door so you can measure and mark the length accurately. The plastic pipe cutter will snip right through the conduit in one stroke. To cut the pipe, apply pressure and rotate steadily, like a metal tubing cutter, and it will slice neatly in 10 turns or so. Use wire cutters on the ball chain.
Step 2: Clean up the pipe (optional)
If you’re picky about appearances, clean the factory ink off the outside of the pipes and pipe fittings using a paper towel and a touch of acetone.
Step 3: Assemble bottom ring
The bottom of the frame consists of the long conduit joined to the medium conduit in a circle with two “tee” fittings, as shown. The side openings of the “tee” fittings should point perpendicularly away from the plane of the circle, in the same direction. Don’t glue anything yet.
Step 4: Assemble top ring
The top of the frame consists of the three short conduits joined in a circle. One of the three joints is a “straight” fitting, while the other two are “tee” fittings. As before, the side openings of the “tee” fittings should point perpendicularly away from the plane of the circle, in the same direction.
Step 5: Test assembly
Join the top ring to the bottom ring using the two lengths of pipe as shown. Adjust the angle of the “tee” fittings as needed to center the top ring over the bottom ring.
Step 6: Glue the pieces of the rings together
Following the label directions on your cement, glue every conduit end into its joint. Do not apply glue to the pipe ends, as these are the demountable joints that allow the frame to collapse for storage or transport. Allow the cement time to set.
Step 7: Drill holes for clip retaining chains
Once the glue dries, remove the top ring and drill a 3/16″ hole through each of its three fittings (two “tees” and one “straight”), as shown. Drill through both sides of the fitting.
Step 8: Attach retaining clips and chains
First, attach an eye coupling to one end of a length of ball chain. Then fish the other end through both holes in one of the PVC fittings, and thread the free end through the eye coupling at the other. Then string a second coupling onto the chain, as shown. Finally, thread the free end of the chain through the hole in a broom clip, wrap it back around, and attach it to the loose coupling.
Notes and ideas
The frame is knocked down for storage or transport by removing the top and bottom ring assemblies from the two pipe uprights. The joints between the pipes and the “tee” side-arms could be lubricated with petroleum jelly if this is difficult for you. Personally, I’ve found it’s pretty easy to disassemble the frame by holding the bottom ring against the floor with my feet while pulling up on the pipe with my arms.
12 thoughts on “Make: Projects – Collapsible trashbag frame”
…unless you have children or pets, that is. Trash cans do more than keep the bag in, they also keep hands/mouths/teeth/flies OUT. Also, they protect you when the bag is overstretched or punctured in some fashion (think pizza box.)
If you’ve got a lot of “soft”, non-degradable garbage sitting around, then more power to ya’.
I also have to have a garbage can with a lid to keep pets out, but this design works good for raking grass/leaves in the yard if you’re raking it into a bag.
Great job on this, Sean! Thanks!!
Sean, thank you for introducing those eye hooks! We have had to jury rig one of the traditional couplers when we made pull chains.
Sean details these nifty connectors at:
A site called Home Of Poi describes types of ball chain and the use of a similar connector in fire dancing (!):
[They have a store; I’m not affiliated]
On preview: I double checked that second link but the server isn’t responding at the moment. I’m leaving the link for when the site comes back up.
I love geeking out on the details of something so common!
Great project. And to think I wasted my time using a pop-up laundry hamper to hold my smaller garbage bags. This is like a bag holder on steroids. Cool.
If you changed out the “1 pc 1/2″ PC straight coupling, unthreaded” for another “1/2” PVC “tee” fittings, unthreaded” you could add another longer leg to the front for extra support.
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