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Coffee any one ?

coffee roster, machinery, tools, workshop3 comments

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I have 2 great passions in my life
frame building and coffee.
So when I got the chance to build a coffee roster I didn’t turn it down.
A good mate of mine roasts his beans using a bread maker and a heat gun (getting fantastic results too)
Anyway he came to me one day asking if I would be keen to build him a coffee roster (hell yes) having not looked into it before I started checking the net for info. there was a few designs available and I thought about the pros and cons of each design, in the end I chose the drum roaster as it was going to be the easiest to fabricate and worked well with the idea that was forming in my mind.
At first I was planing to build a double walk insulated stainless steel roast chamber and I found some good material at my local metal recyclers, then I remembered I had been offered a huge brass tube buy my powder Coater a few months earlier and I thought that would look the bomb on the roaster.
After checking that the drum was still available I went and picked it up and it was only when I actually did pick it up that I found out how heavy it was, the drum is 300mm OD with a solid 6mm wall and it was 900mm long that’s a lot of brass.
My first job was to clean the drum as it was from some form of heavy industry ( I’m guessing it was a massive bush bearing or a hydraulic sleeve) this was a big job at first I used 3 cans of degreaser and I had barely cut threw the surface grease! Much scrubbing later and I most of the years of industry cleaned off.
Then i had to work out how I was going to cut this drum in to 2 even pieces with a lot of measuring and masking tape I marked out the centre to be cut, next I went and visited my mate John from cycle under ground to use his big band saw as mine was to small to cut this size drum, cutting went very smoothly and very straight, I had been very concerned as to how it would cut so to have this process go so smoothly was great.
Next was how to face the drum? This proved quite hard as even though my lathe is big there was no way I was going to be able to hold such a large drum in it, so I ended up using my mill and slowly turning the drum then running a cutter along the face, painfully slow, when both drums where faced to my satisfaction I took
Them back to my powder Coater with the intension of getting them media blasted to get a uniform finish, after a quick test my blaster told me it was not going to work due to the many nicks and scratches in the drum so I hand sanded them to get a very nice brush finish.
In-between all this I had been ordering various bearings and mounts that I planed to use for the workings of the track and main axel drive, also sourcing that heating elements fan unit and controller to do the cooking all these units had to work with everything else and fit in the drum, so I was very busy on auto cad designing all the CNC pieces and this was a fairly arduous job as there where a lot of changes as the design grew and changed.
But this stage I was ready to place the order to get the plate work cut with John from cycle underground, I had planed to build 2 units one for my mate and one for me but as the cost started to go up my mate decided to pull out so I was left wondering if I should proceed with the project. This was when Andy from fyxomatosis offered me a spot on at the first hand built bike show, with only 3 months to get ready for the show it struck me that the roster would make a good show piece, so it was full steam ahead with the roaster.
While John was cutting the plates I had some large decals cut for an idea I wanted to try on the brass drum, my plan was to get my logo blast etched into the side of the drum, working with John from advanced powder coating we worked out the process to get the logos on the drum, and the results were amazing.
When the plate work came back it needed to be dressed before being sent out for anodizing ( another fairly laborious task) another week to get anodized and I had pretty much all the fittings together.
Well every thing started to go together slowly as there was a lot of manual machining that had to be with each component, but as it started to build up it was pretty cool to see what had been an idea and a 2D drawing on screen become a working product.
I managed to get it all built for the show and she looked the part on my stand, I have not roasted a batch of beans yet and I have a few small additions to add before I do but I’m looking forward to learning the fine art of coffee roasting real soon.
Stay up right ;)

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3 Comments
  1. I love this machine. I can’t justify owning one but everyone is fascinated with the video I took of it in operating mode at the Australian Custom Bicycle Show. It is posted to our facebook page if people want to take a look. Awesome machine!

  2. kumo says:

    mate this thing is awsome…… really classy. your a constant source of inspiration buddy. all the best in the new year.

  3. Dave says:

    Absolutely fabulous piece of kit. You’ve created something special there and I want one ;) really want to see how the first few roasts turn out. You got a temp probe in (inside) the drum to get the bean temp (as close as physically possible). What about PID control or is it open-loop ? Beautiful work

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