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The Junk Yard Tow Truck
John Despres
Building the Junk Yard Tow Truck

Based on Braniac?s halogen roaster, I headed in the direction of building something a bit different with the halogen heat source.

My goals were:

1 ? Roast a pound, maybe two if I get lucky
2 ? Eliminate chaff while roasting using gravity
3 ? Cool the beans in the roaster

I knew I would need:
1 ? A pasta pan with the larger strainer
2 ? A vacuum to cool and remove the chaff from the pan
3 ? A motor to agitate the beans
4 ? Bean agitators
5 ? Heat source

The idea was to roast the beans in the strainer inside the pan with the heat source above the beans. Agitation would come from above. Chaff removal would be accomplished by it?s falling through the holes in the strainer to the bottom of the pan. The vacuum attached to the pan would suck the chaff away and cool the beans at the same time. Then the whole pan would tilt to dump the cool beans.
John Despres attached the following image:
Drawing 1[808].jpg

Edited by John Despres on 03/04/2008 8:58 AM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
seedlings
Yesssss! I love innovation. No reason why it won't hit your 2 pound mark. It might be a little tricky getting the dump mechanism engineered, though.

Keep up on it.

CHAD
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
 
John Despres
I shopped for a good stainless pan in the thrift stores, but found none and being the impatient person I am, went to Linens & Stuff and found what I need. I took in back to the shop, cut the hole for the vacuum and set it aside. $45.

Next was the motor and agitation. I didn?t have any motors lying around ? I have lots of stuff in the studio, but no motors. Well, none that would work for a project this small? I hit the thrift stores again and came away with a bread machine for $3.50. There?s a motor in there, right? Yep, but waaaay to fast and the gearing was not going to work. It would bulk up the top of the roaster too much. But it was fun tearing it apart. Shopping again. This time the motor repair shop around the corner; these guys love motors and are totally interested in any project that comes in. I came away with a little 10 RPM gear reduction motor and a collet for about $50.

I mounted it atop the strainer, fashioned a single paddle agitator which just passed through a hole in the bottom of the strainer to keep it centered. I cut the paddle sort of in the shape of a propeller, but flat on the bottom and welded it to the center shaft. It worked fine so I ran out to the local roasterie, bought the cheapest beans they had and dumped in a half pound, turned on the motor and the beans moved around in a circle. WOOHOO!
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
Next, I scrounged together a couple lamps to heat with. I have a huge collection of tossed theatrical lighting fixtures, many of which still work. I parted out a couple carcasses, lamped up the base and hung them into the pot and started roasting!

So far, so good. I didn?t own an IR thermometer yet, but I didn?t care what was really going on ? there were other fish to fry first. Like the center of the pot ? the beans at the center weren?t agitating ? they were merely going for a merry go round ride and burned. One batch wasted?

I shaved down the paddle at the center and loaded another half pound. I hoped the beans would slide over the top of the paddle and move around more. Next half pound batch wasted?

Wait a minute? maybe a pound ? the paddle seemed to big to agitate a half pound. Maybe more beans to ride over the top of the paddle. Burned the center beans again.

Waste tally ? 2 pounds
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
But, I should add, this was the first time I heard a pound go to first crack WOW! Very cool! And loud, too.

My memory doesn?t serve me, but I may have done another pound at this point after shaving the paddle one more time.

I tried another agitator style. This time I welded on 4 1/8? rods at different heights from the bottom of the pot, all within about 1? of each other.

That didn?t work so well, either. But I tried a pound and a half just to see what would happen. More burnt beans. But a very fun first crack again!

Now, I should say, I tried moving the lamps away from the bean mass and closer in different attempts. After using up about 6 pounds of beans, I gave up on this idea for the moment. I knew I?d be posting this here and was hoping for some feedback because I still want to build this roaster. I think it will work!
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
In the meantime, I decided to try something more akin to Brian?s halogen roaster. I had the drum, I had the motor, I had tons of scrap steel, and I had the know-how.

So I built what I have now. I cobbled up two 500 watt halogen utility lights, found the appropriate heat resistant wiring and went to work.

First up was the frame and the motor tower
John Despres attached the following image:
JYTT motor tower[809].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
Then a plate to attach the drum to the motor. It wobbled a bit, so I shimmed a couple corners - notice I had to patch the hole for the vacuum from before...
John Despres attached the following image:
drum motor plate[810].jpg

Edited by John Despres on 03/04/2008 11:01 AM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
I was a little afraid the drum would droop, so I added a couple casters I had in the studio for drum support.
John Despres attached the following image:
Drum carriers[811].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
It worked! It turned and turned. Now?s as good a time as any to show the vanes inside the drum.
John Despres attached the following image:
Drum inteior[812].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
Here?s my heat source. Two 5 ? halogen 500 watt lamps. I wish they came 750 watts for more heat control. But I fixed that ? more later?
John Despres attached the following image:
DSC01449[813].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
With the reflector on
John Despres attached the following image:
drum light source with eflector[814].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
And without the reflector
John Despres attached the following image:
drum light source 2[815].jpg

Edited by John Despres on 03/04/2008 11:21 AM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
Here's the drum front closed
John Despres attached the following image:
drum front closed[816].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
Drum front open
John Despres attached the following image:
drum front open[817].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
Here's the motor tower with a cover. I didn't like the fan blowing on me
John Despres attached the following image:
drum toer with cover[818].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
Here's the whole thing
John Despres attached the following image:
The whole thing[819].jpg

Edited by John Despres on 03/04/2008 11:35 AM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
With the small strainer for cooling. I wrapped the sides of the strainer to block the holes so air would move through the bean mass instead of the side holes.
John Despres attached the following image:
The roaster[820].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
I use this for pouring in the beans - sort of a funnel trough...
John Despres attached the following image:
pouring in bens[821].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
And removing the beans to the strainer
John Despres attached the following image:
removing beans[822].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
The strainer fits in a bucket to cool. I can cool a pound to 75 degrees in about a minute. This also removes the chaff.
John Despres attached the following image:
Strainer vacuum[823].jpg

Edited by John Despres on 03/04/2008 11:48 AM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
My heat control. Since I can't find these bulbs at 750 watts, I use a rheostat that goes to eleven. It's a bit hotter, you see?
John Despres attached the following image:
Heat control[824].jpg

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
John Despres
It ain't pretty, but it does work. I call it the Junk Yard Tow Truck because it looks like one of those home-made tow trucks for dragging hulks around the yard. Ugly but functional.

As I was finishing up, I had no idea where to place the lamps with regards to the bean mass, so I queried Brian. His answer of about 2 inches got me roasting.


I hit first crack at about 15 - 16 minutes.

The small hole in the front allows for IR thermometer readings.

There have been some mishaps along the way. Yesterday I replaced a lamp and started a batch. As it was roasting, I realized I had the lamps pointed straight down. The beans spend most of their time somewhat to the left of center as the drum turns counter clock-wise, so I have the het angled a bit to the left.

Well, the screw holding the lamp asembly on is right at the front, so I decided to correct the angle on the fly...

Dummy! I over corrected and a tab on the assembly cover caught in one of the vanes... I blew a lamp, turned the whole assembly to the left...

Six minutes later, I restarted and finished the roast. I haven't tasted it yet, but I don't have high hopes.

That's the Junk Yard Tow Truck story.
Edited by John Despres on 03/07/2008 1:29 PM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
David
Kudos to you, John. That's a beauty. s:1
Great story, too.

High praise again to Brainiac for his inspiring contest entry. s:2
 
seedlings
Huzzah! Huzzah! Hey, Hey, Huzzah!

GREAT stuff!

Do you notice the standard amount of smoke? OH, and, at the risk of being way too nerdy, the "goes to eleven" is hilarious, but did you actually change any of the innards?

Nerdy,
CHAD
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
 
John Despres
Thanks, Chad!

The smoke is an interesting question - Of course it increases when I roast a pound, but it's not so bad that my exhaust fan can't keep up. The interesting part is the temperature port that lets the smoke out also lets steam out. I lean over the port and let the exhaut hit my glasses where I can see the steam fog the lense. I can now detect when most of the moisture has escaped he beans. I'm going to get a small piece of glass to put there so I don't burn an eyeball one day

No, I didn't change any of the innards. The eleven is an homage to a favorite film.

Can anyone name the film?

Junk yard roaster,
John
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
 
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