To make a scratter

This post is my follow up to “My introduction to home brew” – after initially using 3 different home brew packs we decided we were ready to make something from scratch: cider. But in order to do this we needed apple pulp; the best way to pulp apples? A scratter!

So those that don’t know a lot about cider making won’t know that a scratter is a device that pulps apples – it’s essentially a high speed blade or chopper that cuts up apples in to small (but not too small) pieces. These can then be placed in a net bag and put in to a press which will squeeze out the juice; it’s important to do this because if you tried pressing whole apples or even large pieces it will be a) very difficult to turn the screw and b) you won’t get all the juice out.

We started with designing the device on some paper (actually we started with deciding it’ll be made out of wood, hence the designs):

Scratter design 1Scratter Design 2

When we started the design we hadn’t really thought through what we were trying to achieve, the aims were simple:

  1. Must be able to hold the chopper (a cylindrical block with nails)
  2. Must be tall enough to fit a 5 gallon bin underneath
  3. Must be able to attach a motor

As we went through the design process and then the build process it also became obvious that it would need to be easy to clean and easy to transport. So where we had initially designed a frame connected to  a hopper with a built-in chopper, and attached motor we ended up with a detachable hopper whose weight holds in the chopper, and a feeder tray that neatly folds up (designed after our first batch of cider was made). We have built in a tray to hold a motor but haven’t yet got the motor working so at the moment we are attaching an SDS drill to the bolt which is currently doing the job.

Here’s a gallery of the build process:

And here’s a video of our first test of the scratter, fondly named The Scrat Man:

About Stephen Pickett


Stephen Pickett is a programmer, IT strategist, project manager, RightNow and telephony expert, information security specialist, all-round geek. He is currently Professional Services Director at Connect Assist, a social business that helps charities and public services improve quality, efficiency and customer engagement through the provision of helpline services and CRM systems.

Stephen is based in south Wales and attended Cardiff University to study Computer Science, in which he achieved a 2:1 grading. He has previously worked for Think Consulting Solutions, the leading voice on not-for-profit fundraising, Fujitsu Services and Sony Manufacturing UK as a software developer.

Stephen is the developer of ThinkTwit, a WordPress plugin that allows you to display multiple Twitter feeds within a blog.

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