2018 Modifications to Destemmer/Crusher
- Published: Saturday, 27 October 2018 18:17
- Written by David DeCiero
At the end of the last crush, the destemmer/crusher was having some problems by being a bit unstable when grapes were being tossed in. The whole machine would wobble a bit, making me somewhat concerned. I had to do something for the next year to make sure it was more stable. Once I had it all apart, it was clear that the main auger was cracked. I could only surmise that this was causing the machine to be out of balance when running and becoming more out of balance if the grapes hit that crack. Since I had some 1/8" HDPE leftover, I knew I could easily make a new one. At the same time, I looked at the crusher auger and noticed a couple cracked pieces, I decided to replace them all at the same time.
I simply removed the main auger piece by removing 4 bolts and laid the broken piece over a new piece of HDPE and traced out the cut. HDPE is very easy to cut, so I simply used a jigsaw with a fine metal blade to easily cut through it. I did the same for the crusher auger piece. I replaced the two pieces by drilling new holes and replacing the bolts. Even though I directly traced the pieces, I needed to trim off some sections in order for the auger not to rub on the basin for each. The real test would be at the next crush.
At the 2018 crush, it was amazing how stable the machine was when grapes were being dropped in. It had no wobble whatsoever and people had mentioned how much more stable it appeared. All in all, there were no problems with the new modifications. For next year, I am looking to transition more of the unit to HDPE, instead of covered plywood. I am doing this mainly for cleaning, as the plywood inevitably gets wet during the washing process. This means the whole top section will convert to 1/2" HDPE, which means it should also be lighter. This is an advantage as carrying it up by myself is a little difficult.