Thursday, January 15, 2009

Whizbang Cider Press Parts

"Thought I'd let you know the package arrived a few minutes ago.  I opened it up and was instantly impressed: there is no way we could make anything of this quality, or as easy to keep clean and sanitary, as these items are--and we're pretty handy people. ..... These are well worth it for anyone who is serious about cider-making, I can see that already."
  —From "Joan in the Virginia Mountains"


If you want some help with making your Whizbang cider press, you’ve come the right place. I make and sell some (but not all) of the parts you need. Specifically, I sell HDPE (food-grade plastic) tub hoop kits, HDPE pressing discs, and HDPE pressure plates. I also have HDPE grinder tops (at bottom of this page). The bottom pans I now sell are heavy duty stainless steel. I have professional-grade cider pressing fabric too!

Most people are going to want to purchase the HDPE tub hoops, so I will provide details on the two tub hoop options first. Then, further down this page, I will provide full details about the other parts. You can use the PayPal buttons provided here for ordering. Or simply send a check or money order to: Planet Whizbang, P.O. Box 1117, Moravia, N.Y. 13118

Whizbang Cider Press Tub Hoop Kit

1/8” thick HDPE plastic is an excellent material for making your cider press tub hoops. The material is strong, will not rust, and is considered safe for food contact. The hoop kit I’m selling here (pictured above) makes assembly of your pressing tub very easy. That’s because I’ve gone to the trouble of cutting the two HDPE hoops and two cleat pieces (as shown on pages 36-38 of my plan book) to precise length. Then I’ve made all the screw holes in each hoop and cleat right where they need to be. And I’ve also included all the stainless steel panhead screws you need to attach the hoops to the tub staves.

Note: Please be aware that the hoop length and hole spacing tolerances are plus or minus 1/16”, which is precise enough for the purpose of making your pressing tub.

Also, before purchasing this kit, be sure to read the aforementioned new cidermaking approach discussed at this link: Rack-And-Cloth-In-Tub Cider PressingRack-and-cloth pressing is the only technique I recommend when using HDPE tub hoops.

AVAILABILITY: A limited supply of this item will be back in stock on July 31, 2014
PRICE: $24.95 (this price includes Priority Mail shipping)

HDPE Hoop Material With Screws

For those of you who want to do more of the work yourself and save a few bucks, I offer “raw” HDPE hoop material and stainless steel panhead screws. The hoop and cleat material is longer than needed, so you have to measure and cut it to precise length. Then you mark out placement of the 60 screw holes and drill them with a 1/8” drill bit. Instructions for the measuring and drilling are provided on page 36 of my plan book, and I also include some additional helpful instructions with the hoop material.

AVAILABILITY: This item is out of stock and discontinued
PRICE: $19.95 (this price includes Priority Mail shipping)

Here's a picture of what the HDPE hoops I sell here look like on a completed pressing tub:

Whizbang Cider Pressing Fabric

The Whizbang press is ideally suited to rack-and-cloth pressing and, in fact, I believe rack-and-cloth pressing is the hands-down best way to squeeze the juice out of apple mash. That being the case, I do not sell pressing bags. Instead, I sell 30" by 30" squares of professional-quality pressing fabric. The picture above shows one of the squares being used with a form to make a cloth-wrapped bag for rack-and-cloth pressing. You can learn more about the fabric I sell AT THIS LINK.

You can also purchase the material at that link. or, you can click and buy right here...

Availability: This item will be back in stock here on July 31, 2014
Price: As indicated in the drop-down options below


5/8" by 5/8" Shaft Coupler

On page 23 of the Whizbang cider plan book I recommend that you purchase a 5/8” by 5/8” shaft coupler to make the Whizbang apple grinder. This coupler serves to join the electric motor shaft to the shaft on your food disposal. You can buy one of these from Surplus Center in Lincoln, Nebraska for $7.95, but  to ship the part to me here in NY costs an additional $10.77, which brings the cost to $18.72. On the other hand......

The shaft couplings I’m selling here have four set screws (instead of two like are on the ones from Surplus Center). I also include an allen wrench for tightening the screws and a piece of keystock, which will fit on the keyway of your motor shaft (Surplus Center does not include either of these items).

At $19.95 each, postage paid anywhere in the U.S., my Whizbang shaft coupler ends up costing you a couple bucks more, but you get more for the money.
Availability: Out of stock and discontinued
Price: $19.95 (postage paid anywhere in the U.S.)

About the Whizbang 
HDPE Pressing Parts I Sell
Wood, sealed with several layers of polyurethane finish, is an acceptable material for making the parts of your cider press that will be in contact with apple mash and cider. This is discussed on page 40 of the plan book. But HDPE plastic is an exceptional material for the job. I use these HDPE parts on my press.

The beauty of HDPE is that it is dense, homogenous, impervious to water, and is rated as “food safe.” Beyond that, the plastic is easy to clean and, because it’s white, you can see that it is truly clean when you wash it. HDPE is used to make everything from ballistic plates to restaurant cutting boards. HDPE will scuff a bit in normal use and it will scratch and dent if you abuse it, but such abuse is to be expected and it does not detract from the practical usefulness of the product.

The bottom line here is that HDPE cider press parts are made to last and will provide you with trouble-free service for the rest of your life.

The only real problem with HDPE is that it is far more expensive than wood. That probably explains why no other home-scale cider press on the market utilizes HDPE pressing components. But the basic Whizbang press design is so simple and inexpensive to make that you can outfit it with the top quality HDPE press parts I sell here and it will still cost you less money than one of those brand new conventional-style presses. What’s more, whether you realize it or not, the Whizbang press far exceeds any other home press on the market when it comes to easy, efficient cider production. Therefore, the Whizbang press, outfitted with HDPE pressing parts, is an exceptional value.

Another nice thing about these HDPE parts I sell is that they are all made and ready to use right out of the box. I save you the time and trouble of making the parts yourself. No mess, no fuss. Also, all prices here INCLUDE the cost of UPS shipping, anywhere in the “lower 48” US states. Or you could think of it like this: shipping is FREE. Now let me tell you about the parts.

The demand for HDPE cider press parts last fall exceeded my ability to keep them in stock. This is especially the case as I have taken on other projects with my Planet Whizbang business. It so happens that these HDPE Parts are one for the most time consuming and least profitable things I sell. So, I have decided to get the remaining inventory of HDPE parts I have in stock finished off and I will list them below on July 31, 2014. After they are sold, I will not have any more HDPE cider press parts to sell. 

I will still sell the remarkable cider pressing fabric and stainless steel bottom pans, both of which do not require a lot of my time to keep them in stock. To purchase 3/4" HDPE for making your own parts, check out The Cutting Board Factory


Pressing Discs (Set of Four)

These pressing discs are 13-11/16” diameter with a finger hole, just like shown on page 42 of the plan book. They are 1/2” thick. The best way to utilize the pressing discs is with individual pressing bags, as shown in this Whizbang Cider photo essay.
AVAILABILITY: A limited supply of these will be listed for sale here on July 31, 2014
PRICE: $95.00 (this price includes UPS Ground shipping)

Pressure Plate

This pressure plate is a full 3/4” thick and the diameter matches that of the pressing discs. The curb, sized to accommodate your 2x6 pressing shaft, is assembled and attached to the pressing plate with stainless steel screws. All joints are sealed with a top-quality silicone sealant.
AVAILABILITY: A limited supply of these will be listed for sale here on July 31, 2014
PRICE: $70.00 (this price includes UPS Ground shipping)

Stainless Steel Bottom Pan

I used to fabricate and sell HDPE bottom pans. They were far too time consuming for me to make so I have now switched to a stainless steel pan like you see here. I have these made by a metal fabricator and they are heavy duty 16-gauge stainless steel. Outside measurement is 17-1/2” x 17-1/2,” as the plan book specifies. The sides are bent up 1-1/2" and the corners are welded.

As you can see in the next picture (an upsidedown view of the pan), there is a spout welded to the drain hole. The spout is 1" outside diameter and 7/8" inside diameter. It is 3/4" long. The beauty of a spout, as opposed to just a hole, is that it prevents a slow trickle of cider from being drawn back under the pan by capillary action. And you can fit a hose on it if you want.

These are rugged pans, built for a lifetime of use. The only drawback to these new Whizbang stainless steel pans is that they're downright expensive. Whereas I was selling HDPE pans for $95 retail, I can't even buy these stainless steel pans wholesale for that price (as it is, when all my costs are figured in, I make $25 profit on each pan I sell). So, believe me, I understand if you pass on this item. But if you want the nicest Whizbang cider pressing pan available, this is it. And there is something to be said for buying top quality when it comes to heirloom homestead tools like this.

AVAILABILITY: Back in stock & ready to ship
PRICE: $155.00 (this price includes UPS Ground shipping)

Grinder Tops

These grinder tops I'm selling here are 3/4" HDPE food-grade plastic. They measure 18" by 18" square (as called for in the plan book) and have a hole in the center for the disposal flange (the flange is not included with the top—you have to supply your own). The hole is 4" diameter with a 4-1/2" flange recess around the perimeter, as you can see in the pictures below.

AVAILABILITY: In stock & ready to ship
PRICE: $74.00 (this price includes UPS Ground shipping)