I have been noticing a serious problem with my latest cocoa bean cracker prototype. I feel it is getting slower and slower. I confused if it is slow or I just want it to be faster.
Here is the situation. Most of the time the roller runs contininously but there are no cracked beans falling. Falling down and stop for 10 to 30 seconds and start falling again. If it comes to worst, none will fall until I gently pound the hopper with spoon. The ten second stall are big deal when accumulated. What more for a complete stope.
Thing gets fast if I baby sit the motorized bean cracker, otherwise slow. I feel frustrated cause I can’t do other things while winnowing. If I left it unattended, it will take considerable time to finish the batch. I could have use the wasted time to grind it.
Once, I watched the the cracking motion over the hopper. I saw roasted beans tumbling between roller and grinding surface for about five seconds before breaking. This needs a serious improvement that means a complete machine remake. I can meddle with the existing but it may halt production if something goes to worse.
So I built a new one and this time I made it more like the cracker from thechocolatelife.com post. The crude DIY Bean cracker made of HDPE board, screws, wooden roller wrapped with knurled black rubber and a wooden handle.
My previous kinda follow its princible but the built style was very different. It is hard to revise and take apart when I need to.
For ease of construction and assembly, I chose ten mm plywood as main frame and hopper. I leave it as is for the test run but will be coated with polyurathane before doing a bigger test batches.
The roller and grinding surface are steel. Choosing wood for this is a no for me. Cacao is abrasive and will eat away wood in no time. Ground wood will go straight to chocolate liquor if missed by vacuum power.
Roller axle is 3D printed PLA. Again, this is for testing only. I assume it is not going to last larger batches. I am setting a trip to machine shop once I am satistfied.
Parts are made for quick assembly and dismantling. Parts could be replaced with stainless steel one at a time.
Initial testing phase showed very promising result.