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I've owned a few cement mixers over the years, a couple of BarOmix petrol mixers (now worn out and scrapped) and lately a diesel powered 1974 Benford which can mix two wheel-barrow loads at a time. A good mixer is essential for anyone who does more than the odd DIY job which can easily be mixed by hand.
Early in 2012, someone asked me to get rid of a Belle Minimix 130 for them which had been left on their property by some builders. They repeatedly asked the builders to collect it but as it had stopped working the builders couldn't be bothered. On the other hand, I like old junk and was happy to take it away to see if there was any possibility of fixing it.
The Belle Minimix 130 is possibly the simplest machine I have ever taken to bits so I won't bore you with the entire process. Also, if you have owned one from new, you will know how it goes together as you have to assemble the mixer yourself!
Having taken the mixer to bits I discovered it was only 3 years old! By far the newest piece of plant in my collection.
The reason the mixer had stopped working was that the teeth were stripped on the plastic ring gear on the back of the drum.
To the machinery builders of the 1960's and 70's the idea of a plastic ring gear on a cement mixer would have been heresy. That is why some of their creations are still working 30 or 40 years on.
This Belle machine, like a lot of modern gear, is built to a price (typically about £300) and using plastic components is one way of reducing production costs.
The Belle Minimix 130 has Chinese ball bearings.
The drum fits on a stub shaft with two bearings, one on the shaft and one in the back of the drum.
Having established that the plastic ring gear needed replacing, I found that Belle mixer parts are available at reasonable cost from http://www.lsengineers.co.uk/
The ring gear and cover cost £13.93 plus VAT and postage.
The ring gear is pop-riveted to the back of the drum at the factory. When replacing, I put silicone on the back of the gear to stop washings getting into it as this leads to early failure. Here the gear is upside down to show the silicone and was turned over before bolting on.
I bolted the new ring gear on using bolts with nyloc nuts. The silicone has squeezed out and made a good seal.
Here the drum is back on the mixer frame.
The mixer is back together and ready for work.
Since repairing it, I have used this mixer on a few jobs including laying a large patio and building 8 metres of concrete path. Although it is a very basic design, it works well and in its favour it is extremely light to lift in and out of the van or onto its stand, it is quiet to use and easy to wash out. It mixes just under a barrowful at a time. For any big jobs I will use my Benford diesel mixer.
You can view a copy of the Owners Manual for the Belle Minimix 130 here
I think the original ring gear probably failed due to the large amount of washings inside it. This can be avoided by washing the mixer carefully and making sure none of the pop rivets have failed allowing the ring gear to come away from the back of the drum.
If you are a serious user, then the Mini Mix 150 is arguably a stronger machine with a proper gearbox rather than the plastic ring gear. But for the occasional user this machine should be adequate.