Concrete mixers make mixing large amounts of concrete easy. To be effective, concrete needs to be mixed well and quickly, which is hard to do by hand. Mixers are ideal for all kinds of projects, from small, do-it-yourself home improvement projects to large, commercial construction projects.
Whether you are hiring a concrete mixer to mix tons of concrete or just a few bags for your garden, it’s important that you choose a mixer that is up for the job and can help you get things done quickly and correctly.
No matter what kind of project you are taking on, the basic steps for using the mixer will be the same, so knowing some tips on how to get the most out of your mixer will be beneficial, whether you are pouring a building’s foundation or a few steps for your garden.
Choosing the Right Concrete Mixer
One of the most important things to look for when you choose a concrete mixer is size. If you are taking on a large project, which will require a lot of concrete, you should hire a larger mixer that can prepare more concrete at once, making your job easier.
Bulk concrete mixers usually require diesel gasoline and are mounted on wheels so you can easily move them around your site. Some models can mix as many as 110 litres in just six minutes.
For small to medium-sized projects, a tip-up concrete mixer is a good choice. These mixers aren’t as large as bulk mixers, but can still mix quite a lot of concrete. When the concrete is ready, you can easily tilt the mixer over, pouring it into a wheelbarrow.
A third type of concrete mixer is the paddle mixer. These have a large basin for the concrete and a paddle that is lowered into the concrete for mixing. Paddle mixers are best for small jobs, as they don’t allow for extremely large quantities of concrete.
Be sure to choose a mixer that has adequate safety features and is easy to use. Consider the area you are working in and choose a model that lends itself to things like rough ground, obstacles and tight spaces, if needed.
How to Use a Concrete Mixer
Most concrete mixers are operated the same way and these tips can be used for most regular mixers. However, you should always read the instructions that came with your mixer to be sure that you use it correctly and safely.
Take Safety Precautions
Always wear long sleeves and pants, closed-toed shoes, gloves and safety goggles when operating a concrete mixer. Never put your hands or tools inside the mixer while it is running.
Work in a clear area and set up barriers and signs that warn people that the concrete is wet. Do not use the concrete fixture until it is completely dry.
Prepare the Mixer
Before you start using the mixer, make sure it is set up on a level surface and near a water supply. Then, read the instructions that came with your concrete mix and add the right quantities of the mix and water as the mixer is running. It is dangerous to overload a concrete mixer, and could ruin the concrete, so be sure to mix it in batches that fit the mixer’s capacity.
Mix Concrete Correctly
As you mix the concrete, it is very important that it isn’t too wet or too dry. If the concrete isn’t mixed correctly, it won’t be easy to work with and could actually ruin your project, as it won’t dry correctly.
Perfectly mixed concrete will move easily around the mixer’s drum, but won’t slosh around or crumble as it moves. You may need to add more water or concrete mix to achieve this.
One good tip is to pay attention to how the concrete moves as the drum turns. If it reaches the top of the mixer before it falls, the mix is too dry. On the other hand, if it doesn’t reach the side, it is too wet.
Pour Concrete Carefully
Depending on the type of mixer you are using, you will either pour the concrete directly into the mould or onto the surface you are concreting or you will pour it into a wheelbarrow.
It is best to have two people ready to help when you pour the concrete. One person should hold the wheelbarrow or assist with a shovel as the concrete is poured while the other tips the mixer.
Tip the mixer slowly, but at an angle that allows the concrete to run out of the drum. Avoid pouring it too quickly, which could cause you to lose control of the mixer or the concrete, which can be dangerous and damage your project.
Work the concrete into the area with a shovel and make sure it is smooth and that there aren’t any gaps or air bubbles in the concrete. If you are pouring a sidewalk, foundation, patio or other structure that needs to be perfectly smooth and level, use a concrete smoother.
Cleaning the Mixer
Never allow the concrete to dry in the mixer before you clean it. Dry concrete is difficult, if not impossible, to remove and can damage the mixer. Add water and a little bit of sand to the mixer and turn it on, letting it run for a few minutes. The sand and water will clean the concrete from the sides, making it easier to clean the drum.
Turn the mixer off, empty it, and then run it again with clean water. Turn it off again, empty the drum and disconnect it from the power supply. If needed, you can use a brush to clean any left over concrete from the drum.
All kinds of home, garden and construction projects require the use of a concrete mixer. Knowing how to choose one, use it properly and clean it will help you get the most out of the machine, allowing you to turn concrete into sturdy structures or beautiful pieces of art.
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