Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but it is coming along. I’ve made a few discoveries (both good and less than good) along the way.
1) The new Deluxe cracker (not yet available) that I designed to give a more even crack for the winnower works great.
2) With the new cracker, due to the extreme evenness of the nibs and husk, I was able to reduce my air flow over 50%. This amazed me.
3) The new cracker is quite a bit more expensive than I had planned (high $100’s). I am working on scaling it down to the bare necessities to do the job, and am re-working the assembly technique in order to bring it back to the ‘approachable’ price level.
4) Material introduction (cracked nibs and husk) are critical for through put and keeping a non-turbulent flow inside the winnowing chamber. After 3 attempts, I have a new feeder (less expensive and simpler than before – round of applause) that delivers the material in a steady, evenly distributed stream.
5) I am looking into some alternative materials for the cracker. It must be food safe, durable and hopefully affordable. Stainless steel is ‘easy’ from a choice stand point, but it is expensive. Down the road, it WILL be an option, but I’m looking into using some new hard food safe plastics. Beta testers will be just that – testers to determine if the material(s) will hold up. A clear, thick, hard food safe acrylic was suggested by my machinist. It would certainly have a wow factor. We will see.
6) I’ve decided that when the winnower is offered, there will be two models. One with just a feeder, where you must crack the beans however you wish. One with the deluxe cracker. Why? Price really. With just the feeder, you will loose efficiency and have to screen the nibs (what I do now) and sometimes (depending on the bean) run the leavings through a second time. Basically you put in sweat equity instead of hard cash. With the cracker you will gain through put, (no screening, no second pass) but will have to pay for it.
That’s it for now. It’s coming together.