As with the last post, I felt compelled to share the following so that others may have an easier time sorting this out than I. I was an hour or two away from purchasing an old fashioned apple crusher. $350. Once again Herrick bailed me out, putting me on to a variety of different ways to use a standard-issue garbage disposal as a fruit…well…destroyer. It doesn’t really crush the fruit so much as purée it – which is a highly desirable result when you’re trying to press fruit to make wine or cider of any kind.
Being the cheap ass that I am, my disposal is a 3/4 HP erator that I picked up on Kijiji for about half of the cost of new. But it was new-in-box, which is important to me as I’m not keen on putting my fruit through someone elses’ former garbage. The modifications required:
A hopper. Something to direct the fruit of choice into the machine. The coolest idea I’ve seen was a guy using a stainless steel bowl. I intend on going down that road, but needed a solution that didn’t involve the shitty task of cutting a nice hole in stainless. Plastic. Tried a cheap plastic bowl from the dollar store. It cracked. I needed softer plastic. Result: Costco potato salad container. Nice. It fit beautifully, cut easily, was free, and will do the job nicely until I can develop something a little more…sophisticated.
Electrical & Cooling solution
. This unit had electrical coming out the bottom, which wasn’t very handy. Feeling slightly awesome, I proceeded to disfigure the machine with a drill to punch a hole that would be more convenient. Used spare home electrical wiring into the box. Bought the cheapest dimmer I could find. Cut up a scrap power bar thinger to obtain a handy plug and cord. Wired it all together. Why the dimmer? Apparently these things can overheat and auto-shut-off when used in an unconventional manner like this. My stepdad can be credited with this modification idea. I’ll blame him if it doesn’t work. :) [ps. this failed. the dimmer fried first time I fired it up. apparently need something with more load capacity to do the job. I’ve got a switch currently, and will be looking for the part to do the job]
The tailpipe. Once pulverized, the fruit has to go somewhere. Somewhere I want it to go, preferably. The unit came with the elbow at the top which is supposed to be hooked up to a trap and then into sewer. I bought a coupler to go 1.25″-1.5″ ABS, used a scrap coupling and pipe from our reno, and cut the pipe so that when the unit sits on a table, the pulp will exit at the top of a 5 gal pail.
I anticipate modifying this thing further down the road as it gets some use and parts make themselves available. So consider this ‘Part 1’. Hope you make some use of the idea, and please weigh in in the comments if you have any ideas to share to improve the setup.
NOTE: See notes on using this setup here, which includes design commentary and revision