Winnower, Version 1

We have a few adjustments to make and a couple of improvements to incorporate on version 2, but we're happy to share what we have so far with version 1. In the YouTube video you can see the overall set-up:

- Feed hopper

- Feed auger (KitchenAid mixer with meat grinder attachment -- sans the metal grinding plates)

- Tubing to direct the auger output to the Y-tube feed tube

- Glass Y-tube winnower (version 1)

- Nib collection bucket

- Cone bottom husk collection tank

- Dust Deputy (to capture most of the fine dust before it gets to the vacuum

- Shop Vac

Version 2 of the Y-tube will be longer, dispensing with the plastic tube extension we found we needed on version 1 (in order to get a clean separation). It will also have an integral feed funnel, as well as a couple of ribs at the top to make mounting easier and more secure.

We still have to add a permanent (hinged) flap on the bottom of the cone bottom tank and cut the opening a little larger in order to get a faster/cleaner removal when we're done running).

We started off with a 6.5 peak HP shop vac that we already had, but found out that it is WAY too much for this system. We went down and picked up a 1.75 peak HP vac for $29, hooked it up and it's working great. I wouldn't go any lower than that, though -- we have to run the air adjustment valve almost fully closed to get the separation we're looking for.

We get the cleanest separation at a speed of 1-2 on the KitchenAid. I don't have numbers yet on the throughput, but will measure that sometime soon and will share it. For us it's not so much about the throughput as it is about being able to hit the start switch and go do something else. It can winnow a LOT more than we need right now. Down the road we can look at increasing the capacity by going to a larger diameter winnower with a bigger vacuum.

Other improvements we're looking at:

- Replacing the KitchenAid feeder with a dedicated system (variable speed drive motor and auger) that Clay is working on

- Integration this set-up with the grinder (eliminates one step)

- Possibly adding some ribs near the exit of the feed tube to even out the flow of ground nibs into the "Y"

It's 100% open-source, so any ideas you have for making it better and easy/easier for others to build are more than welcome. We're working with Clay to make the Y-tube available, but let us prove out version 2 (it should be in our hands by the end of March) before we call it 'production ready'.


David and Leslie