Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Build A DIY Apple Cider Press Basket For Under $20

By: Orion
DIY apple cider press basket made from Home Depot bucket.

This post will give step by step instructions on how to make a durable DIY apple cider press basket without expensive materials such as oak or stainless steel. The best part of this project is that it can be used to press apples, grapes or any other fruit for homemade wine that you would like to extract juice from. Spring is here in Oregon and that means homemade apple cider! This project took me a little under one hour to complete including shopping for materials. I have had the joy of testing this basket out four times now and have had no problems with it!

Tools & Materials:
  • 5 gallon paint strainer or nylon homebrewing bag
  • 5 gallon plastic bucket
  • Large industrial strength zipties
  • Drill with 1/8" or 1/4" drill bit
  • Plywood or plastic cutting board roughly 16" x 16"
  • Plywood dowel or 2' x 4' x 8"

Step 1: Drill 1/8"-1/4" holes spaced about every 2". Place the next row about 2" below this row and alternate the spacing of holes to make a "diamond" pattern as seen in the image below.
Apple Cider Press Basket With Zipties For Strength.
Step 2: Wrap industrial strength zip ties around the bucket, but between each row of holes drilled. Pull until as tight as possible. I used vice grips and held the bucket between my legs to tighten as best as I could. Your cider press basket is done, now we move onto the press plate.

Step 3: Measure the inner diameter of your bucket, some buckets slope inward and the diameter becomes less as you go down the inner length of the bucket. If this is the case be sure to measure about halfway down the inside of the bucket for the inner diameter.

Step 4: Using a handsaw or miter saw cut either plywood or a plastic food grade cutting board into a circle with the same diameter you measured. If using plywood, you will need to purchase a Ziplock bag large enough to hold the cider press plate. As plywood is not food safe, we need to wrap it in a plastic that is. If using the cutting board method, no need to wrap it up.


Step 5: Finally cut a wooden dowel or part of a plywood piece long enough to fit the length from halfway down into your cider press basket, but high enough to reach the base of whatever type of cider press you have made or purchased. An image of this is below:
Apple Cider Press Plate & Wooden Dowel.

Step 6: Purchase either a 5 gallon paint strainer bag from a local hardware store, or a 5 gallon nylon bag from your local homebrew shop and place it in the bag. The bag looks something like this:
Apple Cider Basket Press 5 Gallon Nylon Bag
Step 7: Place your ground up apple pieces into the mesh bag, make sure this bag is in the cider press  bucket first. Close the bag by pulling the strings shut, or folding it over itself at the top. Place the cider basket press plate on top of the apple pulp in the bag. Finally place your dowel above the press plate and support safely to your apple cider press.

I personally use a bottle jack and apply pressure slowly to the cider press. A few images of my completed apple cider press and apple cider press basket are below:
My DIY Apple Cider Press Basket & Press (Side View)

Note the order from top to bottom: Cider press, hydraulic bottle jack, wooden dowel, apple cider press plate(not shown), apple pulp in bag(not shown). The turkey tin can be bent to form an end that will drip into your waiting bucket below. Happy brewing everyone, if you have questions feel free to leave them here in the comments section. One more pic of it in action:
My DIY Apple Cider Press Basket & Press (Front View)

Leave a comment!

Any suggestions or thoughts on improving this are always appreciated!

27 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. looks good! thanks!

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  4. Nice design! How has it stood up over time? Still functioning?

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    1. It is still functioning well. I thought that by now the zip ties would be be warped from the repeated exertion of pressure, but they are fine. If anything I should cut them off and repace them every few pressings to avoid any sanitation issues though.

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  5. Awesome idea! The only suggestion I might add is to use a food-grade plastic bucket. I'm going to try this myself next weekend, I think. Thanks!

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    1. That is an excellent idea, when I built it I just used what I had in my storage, but yes, that would be an excellent way to improve this design!

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    2. Actually all of these plastic 5 gallon buckets are food grade. The white ones, orange silver blue etc..
      The buckets are all made with the same plastic. They just add dyes to the lowes or homedepot buckets.

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  6. Any chance you tried this to put smaller bearings into wheels as well? It looks just like a typical press. Might be a cheap alternative for smaller jobs. (lawnmower wheels and the like)

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  7. I am swimming in apples right now, three trees, two super full trees and another with a bushel or so. One gave me four hundred pounds.

    I came across this basic idea independently, but the straps aren't needed. Instead I nested the one with holes (38 columns of 10 to 15 5/8th inch holes circling the bucket) into one with a spigot that I can open and close to switch out collection jugs. Every bucket gets properly sanitized before use and juices are pasteurized before storage.

    I didn't use a Jack though. I just used threaded rod and a length of flat steel with a little padding as a crank. Works great.

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    1. Matthew, is there anyplace you can post a picture of your press? I need help figuring out how you secured the threaded rod and such.

      Thanks

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    2. Your design sounds like a very simple and efficient one! Do you suffer any drainage issues with this design? Does the pulp ever get stuck between the buckets and gum up the operation?

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  8. Thanks so much,. I had this in mind but wasent sure how to put it to gather.

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  9. Do you slice apples before pressing?

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  10. Sorry, how do prepare your apple pulp?

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  11. How necessary are the industrial zip ties? I'm using the same bucket for a different style of cider press, and it seems like the bucket'd be good enough. Did you notice any bowing?

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  12. What a joke that this is under $20. The wood for the frame alone is over $20. Then you also have the jack.

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    1. That's why the article is titled, "Build a diy apple cider press basket for under $20". The post isn't about building an entire press for under $20, if you can teach me how to do that I would be amazed. By the way, why so negative? Dick...

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  13. I'm pretty sure it specifically says that this is just the basket, not the entire press for under $20. But your literacy may vary.

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  14. Just starting out with my home grown apples! I believe it would be easier ta use an electric juicer gents?

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    1. Yes, DON'T DO IT!!!! There's more than one way to skin a cat, but that way is not for me. I'm new to making cider, and that's what I did just a few days ago, and it was hell. Cutting your apples, grinding every single little piece, then pressing, is more work than simply cutting up your apples and pressing them. And besides that, and maybe even a bigger deal, is when you press larger apple pieces rather then making them into pulp and pressing them, I would imagine you get a lot less sediment in your cider. I made a few batches of hard apple cider a few days ago, and when the sediment settled, my jugs were like HALF sediment, after all that work of cutting, juicing, and pressing. Course, if you press with a finer mesh at a slower pressing rate that will cut down on sediment, which I didn't do, but it just seems to me when you grind it all that you are asking for a large large amount of sediment. Just my two cents. I made a press tonight in fact, similar to the one in this thread. I'm gonna try it out tomorrow. Looking forward to THAT way rather than juicing it much more.

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    2. Alright. Disregard most of my last post. I thought building a press would mean I wouldn't have to do all that meticulous pulverizing that I just did, but I think you have to do both still. So I built a press, and at least with the one I have, which I don't think can handle quite the pressure of a professional one mind you, when I cut the apples up, I just didn't nearly the juice as when you pulverize then press it. After pressing PRETTY hard, and getting only a little juice, I pulverized the apples after pressing them and got more juice out of them immediately, before even pressing them. I guess maybe I just have to press slower, with pulverized apples, and with a finer mesh, to avoid the pulp I had last time.

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  15. Well, I love this press.Could you post a list of the lumber sizes you used to build it ? I'm thinking of making one using a mechanical scissor jack,thanks.

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  16. Elegantly simple design, a work of practical art. Will start looking out parts as it looks an extremely feasible build. The turkey tin drainer alone simply solved a problem I was struggling with. Many thanks for sharing.

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  17. Great Idea!! Do you think your design would hold up to 2 or 3 presses at the same time?

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