Building a coffee roaster from junk

[Rxdtxd] has tried his hand at roasting coffee beans in a frying pan. It works but he can only roast small batches at once. What he really needed was a large-scale roaster that would have no problem with a few pounds of the green beans all at once. He ended up building this large-scale coffee roaster out of junk parts.

The vessel which holds the beans is the drum from a top-loading washing machine. It was headed for the junk pile, but the fully-enclosed drum is perfect for this purpose. After acquiring it [Rxdtxd] set out welding a frame that would hold either side by the pivot points. He used a geared motor to automate the process. The output shaft on the gear box is meant to drive a chain, but he just welded some pieces onto the gear to use as a coupling.

In the picture above he’s giving the roaster a thorough testing with about ten pounds of beans. A portable gas stove placed below the rotating drum supplies the heat. After the beans have reached the desired darkness he pours them out into a large skillet to cool. Take a peek at the roasting action in the clip after the break.


  1. 'Duino says:

    Nice to see they didn’t use a epoxy coated steel washer body. Not sure how well that would take that much heat – probably not too well.

  2. Rob says:

    nice hack!

  3. Leithoa says:

    I like the simplicity and recyclign aspects of the build. Havign said that, I thought one of the main draws to roasting your own coffee was getting the freshest roast possible? Unless you’re opening a boutique or roasting for a large hackerspace it’s going to take quite some time to work through 5-10lbs of beans. By which time many of the volatile flavors you initially had will be gone. I see he uses glass candy jars but I doubt the efficacy of their seal over many months.
    Vacuum packed Aluminized/mylar bags with optional oxygen absorbers(if your a belt and suspenders kind of person, and for use after opening the initial seal) would greatly enhance storage life.

  4. aztraph says:

    The tub design looks like it came from a Staber washer, which oddly enough looks like the best application for their drum design, nice to know something good came out of it.

    make mine a dark junkyard roast, hold the rust! awesome!

  5. n0lkk says:

    Love the pseudo “lovejoy” coupling. Not being a coffee drinker I probably can’t fully appreciate the effort.

  6. CB4 says:

    my favorite line and most applicable to all us junkjard scavengers was “Oh, the things that break and get thrown out!.. My heart sings as I wash them in acid.”

  7. signal7 says:

    nice hack. i personally use a gas grill with a similar stainless steel drum on a heavily modified rotisserie mount. the grill helps to hold some of the heat, so maybe a cover for this setup would do the same…

  8. Adam says:

    Hmm.. Seems like a design that can be adapted for malting and roasting your own grain for brewing beer, too…

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