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Homemade apple washer -- help needed

Posted by Peter Fisher 
Homemade apple washer -- help needed
December 09, 2017 07:47PM
My winter project is to build a small scale apple washer (to go with our small scale orchard). I have given up finding plans, or anyone who has tried to do this, so I am starting from scratch more or less. I need help from someone who owns a commercial washer for some critical specifications.

It seems to me the only critical component is the brushes. I have purchased four 24" apple washer brushes from Tew Manufacturing. The rest I hope to construct from used or salvaged materials (such as a stainless steel sink from Re-Store) or off-the-shelf hardware (bearings, sprockets, chains, hoses, nozzles). My goal is to build one that does not require welding, and to keep the cost under $600. It will not have a conveyor system; I will load it with apples and run it till all the Surround is gone, then unload that batch and start another. Not fast, but hopefully beats the heck out of washing one at a time by hand in a sink. I will share the results -- good or bad.

Here's what I need:

(1) Spacing of the brushes -- ideal gap between them.

(2) Gearing -- assuming a standard 1750 rpm electric motor, how is the speed reduced? Pictures of commercial apple washers you can find on line are no help because the drive mechanism is shielded. If you own one, a picture or description, along with the number of teeth on each sprocket, would help immensely.

(3) Any other insights you would care to offer, such as "If this is going to work, you are going to have to ...."

Turkey Creek Orchard
Solon, Iowa (zone 5A)
Re: Homemade apple washer -- help needed
December 21, 2017 10:19AM
We have an old one from TEW. We are just about to pack it away for winter but I can try and take a few photos. Not of the gears though because they are inside a housing and I don't know how to get in there. The brushes are inside the machine without much light in there but I can try. They are lateral and my impression is the bristles touch each other as they turn.

It works really well and doesn't take much maintenance.

Fruitilicious Farm
Zone 9b in California
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