Ask the Alchemist #80

I´m trying to replicate your Aether winnower, by the way, thanks for putting together such a nice piece of work! I wonder what are the sizes of the two acrylic boxes that hold the husks.

Thanks.

To be ornery, I don’t use acrylic boxes. They are polycarbonate. Next question….Oh wait…you didn’t even ask a question….Still, next question….

Fine, I’m not that ornery.

Well, as odd as it seems, that is a slightly difficult answer to answer. Ok, it is not so difficult as it is slightly complicated. I want to say outright that there is NOTHING magical or unique about the two chamber sizes. You can build one half or a quarter or twice or three times as large and it will operate just fine…..but you might find it less than convenient, which is why I have them sized as I do. So, first the answers.

The vacuum chamber (outer box) has inside dimensions of 14.75”x17.5”x14.75”. It has outside dimensions 1” larger per side as that is the thickness of the frame, so 16.75”x19.5”x16.75”. The key here, i.e. the important part, is how they fit together. The outside dimensions of the husk bin (inner box) is 13.75” on all sides. Basically an exact fit given I need 1/4” room for rivets on each side and a little (1/4” again) real world tolerance/slop. The inner dimensions really don’t matter.

Now, the first iteration of the Aether was about 30%. Why? Well, in an effort not to reinvent the wheel, I’ll just quote myself.

“The vacuum and husk bin are a little smaller. Why? Because we heard back that people tended to wait until the husk bin was completely full and at that point it was too heavy for some. It’s about 20% narrower.

Not including the hopper (which rises about 36″ above the table top) the Aether is 36″ x 24″ x 24″.

Also, nearly all the dimensions have been reduced slightly to optimize the number of panels we can get out of a single piece of sheet metal. Why? So raw material waste goes down, and consequently your cost goes down. “

That basically says it. Size it for you and what you can handle. I’m not a small guy. I toss 150 lb sacks of cocoa beans around. I don’t blink at unloaded a ton (literally) of 55 lb boxes of cocoa butter by hand. I lift a few times a week and have pulled 355 lbs off the floor multiple time. A full husk bin that weighted 60 lbs didn’t phase me and I honestly forgot that is too much for some people. So now it holds around 40 lbs (really, if you do the numbers, it’s 42, which is THE answer now, isn’t it) which I’ve heard no complaints about. Also, if you fill the hopper 3 times, and have a reasonable efficiency (78-80%) then it just fills the husk bin nice and those kind of whole number design integrations just tend to make me happy.

So, I guess the dimensions were not that hard to answer. But hopefully I’ve explained the thinking behind why they are the size they are and that will let you customize it to your abilities and needs.

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