Make a Raffle Drum

A raffle is a simple fundraiser, with very little overhead. Single prizes usually have significant value. Multiple prizes of lesser value are usually combined to make a more valuable package deal. Cars, trips, furs, jewelry, large appliances and even houses can and have been successful raffle items. Raffle tickets are usually sold in books of five or six, and standard prices range from $1 per ticket for items such as a quilt, a hotel stay, or a trip, to $100 per ticket for luxury cars or houses. A raffle drum assures as much fairness as possible when drawing the winning ticket, which can tumble the tickets together, and can make it just as likely that the first ticket into the drum will be chosen as the last ticket. This project will make a bingo-sized raffle drum. For larger drums, double the dimensions of the lumber, by both width and height.

Wear heavy leather gloves when working with metal mesh. Lay the 1/2-inch square metal mesh so that the 18-inch side is horizontal. Find the center point and make three 6-by-6 inch cuts to make a door. Fold the mesh back along the fourth, uncut side. Use needle-nose pliers to bend any sharp points over into loops.

Drill matching holes in one corner of each of the two plywood triangles. Attach each triangle to the 1-foot wide, 18-inch long plywood sheet using 3/4-inch long wood screws. This makes a triangle-shaped support base for the raffle drum.

Drill a 1/4-inch diameter hole in the center of each of the wooden circles. Thread a fender washer onto the 20-inch long, 1/4-inch diameter stainless steel rod, and then thread it through one of the circles. Place a lock washer on next. Repeat at the other end, threading the lock washer first, then the wooden circle, then the fender washer, then screwing the hex nut into place.

Space the 1/2-by-1/8-by-18 inch wood strips evenly around the two circles and staple them into place to form a barrel frame. Staple the metal mesh into place, with the 25-inch side becoming the circumference of the circles.

Thread one end of the 19-inch rod through the holes in the triangle corners of the support base you made in step 2. Attach the supports to the rod with hex nuts. Once the supports are attached, the raffle drum should spin freely between them. If not, spray the rod with WD-40.

Things Needed

  • ['2 pieces of 1/4-inch thick, 1-by-1-by-1 foot plywood triangles', '1 piece of 1/2-inch thick, 1-by-1 1/2 foot plywood sheet', '3/4-inch long wood screws', '6 flat-headed bolts, 1 1/4-inch long and 1/4-inch diameter with hex nuts', '1/4-inch diameter stainless steel rod, 20 inches long, threaded at each end', '2 hex nuts, 1/4-inch diameter, with lock washer and fender washer', '18-by-25 inch piece of 1/2-inch square mesh', '8 wood strips, each 1/2-by-1/8-by-18 inch', '2 8-inch wooden circles', 'Staple gun, 1/2-inch staples', 'Needle-nose pliers', 'Metal shears', 'Heavy leather gloves', 'Wrap-around eye protection', 'Power drill, 1/4-inch diameter drill bit', 'Small drawer pull with bolt, fender washer and lock washer', 'WD-40']