Chocolate Alchemy’s DIY Winnower part 3

A picture is worth a 1000 words…and I’m just not up to a thousand words right now.


That is the official working model.  40 lb hopper.  Husk bin to contain that and more.  All neat and slip fit with no guess work for assembly.  It breaks down easy for shipping.  It processed 40 lbs of roasted beans into 31 lbs 3 oz of nibs in 31 min 8 seconds.
Technical note:  I have a slight riser in the husk waste stream (for overall design reasons, not performance reasons).  It’s 18″.  I found any more than that and the drag in the tube was too great and the specified vacuum had trouble providing enough suction.

Next it goes into metal, polycarbonate and pvc.  All stainless steel after that.

10 Responses to “Chocolate Alchemy’s DIY Winnower part 3”

  1. how does the feed rate of the champion compare with that of the crankandstein? could the winnower, provided suction power wasn’t an issue, support faster feed rates?

  2. In theory, it could handle a faster feed rate. I have not tested it with the crankandstein but it is on my to do list. In general they are similar feed rates.

  3. Have you considered a configuration with Crankenstein mills. A number of us, hobbyists, have these mills.

  4. John
    Its a masterpiece!
    In the ver3 picture there are some differences from the original drawing
    1 all the pipe seems to be of one size (2″?) I see no reducers
    2 the point of suction to the vac has moved off the top to the right
    I actually went out and got everything as soon as I saw the drawing 3 weeks ago. and want to start assembling.
    1 more question is the bucket now in the box or is just a hollow section

  5. Clement, Yes, but have not had time to pursue it. My gut feeling is that it will work, but may need two passes to be as effective as it should be. But for the hobbyist, I believe I could live with that. Could you? For whatever it is worth, that same rational is why I have it hooked to the Champion – many people have them.

    Sam, Thanks – blush. For your answers:
    1) Not true. The feed chute reduces to 2″ and the vacuum is 2″ . All the rest is 3″.

    2) Yes it has, but really makes no difference in the scheme of things.

    3) The ‘bucket’ is now a rubbermaid bin because it fit better and held more. But it could either be an empty box, but a container inside makes clean out easier.

    Please feel free to email me directly if you want more specifics. I’m here to help.

  6. Yes, exciting stuff! This is great, John. I had been wondering about compacting our DIY winnower to be more space efficient since we started discussing this on the forums a few months ago. You did the testing and sorted it out! Awesome stuff.

    Planning to build one of these with a cacao farmer down the road in the next week or two. He’s got a champion, we’ve got a crankandstein, so maybe we’ll have time to test both of them. I’ll report back over int he forums.

    Thanks again for the great work and generous sharing!

  7. Thanks for the reply. i think you dserve an AAA for purposeful design.
    I had started some thing resembling the winn-15, till I saw their design and modified the vacum system along those lines.
    It took me two years of tinkering. My batches are 20lb in 10-15 minutes. The Crankadstein means grading beans before use. I will try to put this together just for the hell of it.

  8. Hi John,

    I’m just wondering what your thoughts would be on possibly moving the suction hose down further utilizing the same rubbermaid bin, but cutting out the bottom and replacing it with a screen that has a mesh large enough to allow the husks through but just small enough you do not lose any of the nibs. I’m trying to figure out if something like this would help to pull out more of the fines leaving you with nearly zero husk left before grinding the nibs.

    The only problem I forsee is the nibs resting on the screen and blocking the flow of the husks to the vaccuum. Although, this may not be a problem if a vortex strong enough to keep the nibs airborn in the collection area exists.

  9. Mike,

    I’m not quite grasping what you are saying, but off hand, addressing what I think I do understand, I think you have a critical flaw. It does not work to have a screen that lets husk through but catches nibs – primarily because the nibs are smaller than the husk.

    After that, screen blockage is a MAJOR issue and one not readily fixed except by totally avoiding it all together by not having screens.

    Finally, this design does not allow ANY fines through into the nibs. Granted there can be a little husk, but an amount so little it’s not worth worrying about – you might well be shocked to know the amount of husk in some commercial chocolates. Not that I’m advocating husk in your chocolate, but it’s a major diminishing return, i.e. a little husk simply will not be noticed in your chocolate.

    So, if you care to rephrase your questions I’d be happy to try again if the above does not address it.

  10. Thanks, John for the explanation. You addressed it completely!

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