DIY Apple Cider Press

Fashion a DIY apple cider press so you can learn how to make apple cider.

| September/October 2015

  • Pressing cider
    Construct a handmade cider press to make delicious homemade cider.
    Photo by iStockphoto.com/Ron Bailey
  • Cider press
    Be creative and use recycled parts and materials to keep cost low for your custom cider press.
    Photo by Lyndsay Mynatt
  • Evenly spaced screws
    Evenly space screws in a spiraling pattern.
    Photo by Lyndsay Mynatt
  • Two barrels
    Two barrels create an efficient assembly line.
    Photo by Lyndsay Mynatt
  • Metal presser
    A metal plate smaller than the diameter of the barrel presses the cider from the apple mash.
    Photo by Lyndsay Mynatt
  • Motor attachment
    The 1⁄2-hp motor attached by a hinged plate helps avoid damage should something get lodged in the grinder.
    Photo by Lyndsay Mynatt
  • Pressing apples
    A pushstick to keep the apples moving in the hopper is easy enough to make from scrap wood.
    Photo by Lyndsay Mynatt


  • Pressing cider
  • Cider press
  • Evenly spaced screws
  • Two barrels
  • Metal presser
  • Motor attachment
  • Pressing apples

Each fall, we host a cider-pressing event. Crates overflow with crimson-striped, emerald-speckled, golden-laced apples. But the center of attention is not the 2,000 pounds of apples. Stealing the show is a wooden, handcrafted cider press that looks as if it has been transported through history, custom built in 1998 by local woodcrafter Andrew Campbell. Friends and neighbors eagerly gather to help squeeze out the rich, juicy apple cider that will be frozen or fermented for the winter to come. The tradition simply would not be possible without our cider press, around which we create memories and cultivate deeper relationships as one season turns to the next.

A pressing matter

Before explaining the materials, tools, or step-by-step instructions, it is necessary to understand the basic process of the cider press.

Apples are fed into a hopper and pushed into the grinder with a wooden push stick. A set of pulleys powered by a small electric motor drives the grinder, which pulverizes the apples into a mash. The apple mash flows from the grinder box to a wooden barrel. When the barrel is full, it is slid forward underneath the presser. Downward force is applied by turning an acme rod that runs through the presser plate. The pressure is held constant until the juice stops flowing. Conveniently, this is the same amount of time it takes for the grinder to fill the second barrel, and the process continues.

A cider press can be constructed in various ways. The following is a description of this particular do-it-yourself model. Materials can be exchanged for similar items you may have on hand to create a comparable result. There are four main parts of the cider press: grinder, frame, presser and electric motor. Tools for the project include an electric saw, driver, drill, hammer and measuring tape. The design requires a familiarity with tools, some building know-how, and the need for some pre-fabricated pieces.



The grinder

The first step is to find a drum for the grinder. This may sound difficult, but you will be surprised at what you can come up with. Our 3-1⁄2-inch diameter drum is from an old Xerox copier. Any metal cylinder with a shaft that rides on bearings will do. Insert screws into the drum in a spiraling pattern, between 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 inch apart, to create teeth to grind the apples. Leave 1⁄2-inch headspace on the cylinder.

The grinder head is then mounted at the bottom of a V-shaped box (the hopper) large enough to hold approximately a gallon of apples. Make the plywood box as wide as the length of your grinder head. Our dimensions are 16-3⁄4-by-13-1⁄2-by-12 inches, with a 4-1⁄2-inch opening at the bottom. The hopper is mounted onto a frame and is easily removable for cleaning and oiling.

www.EasyWoodwork.org
5/15/2018 7:26:47 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own DIY projects – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)






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