Grinder and Press
Paula cans an enormous amount of apple sauce every season.
We keep most of it for ourselves and we give away the rest to family.
The orchard produced more apples than we need for apple sauce this year.
It may be time for us to start making apple juice.
To make juice, the apples must be ground into pulp.
Then the pulp is mechanically squeezed to extract the juice.
Two machines are needed: a grinder and a press.
A couple of years ago I watched a video about a guy who made his own apple grinder.
I was intrigued by how efficiently it reduced a large amount of apples to pulp.
He credited a book The New Cider Maker's Handbook by Claude Jolicoeur as his source of inspiration.
That grinder was in my mind a lot over the years, preparing me for the day when I would need to build it.
The need arose this year with all the apples.
Seeking the same inspiration, I acquired the book.
It contains a lot of information about the entire process, more than just making an apple grinder.
The book gave some very useful insight; I recommend it to others who choose this path.
The hopper efficiently feeds apples into the teeth of the grinding wheel.
It's really more of a grinding drum.
The grinding wheel in the book was only 4" wide, the size of Claude's largest apple.
My drum is 6" wide.
The hopper and feeder assembly lifts off easily for cleaning.
Claude imparts lessons learned from his trials with feeders to the grinder.
This design resulted from that very useful information gathered from his experience.
Results were excellent in our test with a small number of apples.
We have not had a chance to process a large batch of apples but we will soon.
The drum was cut from 2x12 dimensional lumber, actually 1.5" thick.
Four large discs were cut, all the same size.
A small axle hole was cut into the two inner discs.
A large hole was cut from the center of the two outer discs, like a donut; this accommodates a pulley on each side that is used to attach the drum to the axle shaft.
The drum is assembled by glueing and screwing the two solid inner discs together.
Then the donut discs are glued and screwed to the outside of the inner two discs, making a big heavy wooden wheel with a wide tire.
The wood grain of each layer is rotated 45 degrees from the layer below, for added strength.
The drum is attached to the axle using two regular pulleys, one on each side of the drum.
They are inset into the outer discs of the drum, drilled and screwed to the inner discs.
They cannot be seen in the top view picture.
The axle passes through the pulleys on the sides of the drum.
Set screws on the pulleys attach the drum tightly to the axle shaft.
Claude was fortunate enough to know someone who could machine custom attachment plates for this purpose.
Mine work the same way but they aren't as pretty.
Final rounding of the drum wheel was done using Claude's method.
The drum was hooked up to the frame with the motor so the motor could turn it.
A chisel was used to shape the drum until it was smooth, like a lathe.
Finally a belt sander was applied to the drum while it was turning, to smooth it even more.
The result was quite good enough for an apple grinder, not exactly furniture grade.
Bar steel was cut into lengths that were attached to the sides of the drum, to give the grinder some teeth.
These also help to hold everything together.
Having never made one of these, I don't really know how much punishment this thing will be able to take.
It is quite heavy.
This top view picture shows the motor, belt and drum.
The motor is a 1/2 hp motor from TSC.
I got the largest pulley wheel they had for the drum side.
It was not as large as I wanted so I may shop for a larger one on line.
A larger pulley would give the belt more torque at the expense of speed.
I used the extra pulley wheel from the grain mill for the motor side.
The grain mill works well with the pulley that's on it;
its configuration will never change so the larger pulley was not needed.
TSC did not have many choices for bearings but I found a solution there, without having to shop online.
TSC had something called an idler pulley, which incorporates a sealed bearing around the axle.
The idler pulley wheel was perforated with a couple of holes just right for #10 machine screws;
those were used to anchor the idler pulleys to the wood side brackets.
The pulleys and bearings all had a 5/8" diameter hole for the axle.
TSC was out of 5/8" metal rod so I bought some at Menard's.
The 5/8" rod I got was slightly larger than the holes in the 5/8" pulleys; none of them would slide onto the rod.
After some consirable time with a hand sander and a few taps on the grinder, all the parts went together.
The bearings do not have set screws.
A short piece of 1" PVC pipe was slipped over the axle on each side of the drum,
between the drum and the bearings.
This prevents the drum from walking to one side or the other.
A look inside the hopper shows how closely everything fits together.
I was quite pleased with the final result.
We are ready to crush apples, a lot of them, really fast.
After that, we'll need to press the pulp to extract the juice.