A DIY coffee roaster with part callouts.

Follow The Red Ball Wobble Disk Roaster To Coffee Excellence

If you’ve never considered roasting your own coffee at home, you may be surprised to learn that it can be done in a few minutes with a regular popcorn popper and not much else. After all, you only really need two things to roast coffee: heat, and constant agitation to distribute that heat evenly. While the popcorn popper provides both, it’s easy to end up with semi-uneven roasts, probably because the beans are mostly just spinning around and not being tossed as well as they could be. Eventually, one might want a more advanced machine, and that’s where something like [Larry Cotton]’s latest wobble disk roaster can step in.

For starters, this machine roasts more beans than the average popcorn popper in a single throw — the maximum is 350g, or just over three-quarters of a full pound, which is way more than the average popcorn machine will hold. It essentially consists of a heat gun pointed upwards at a sieve full of green coffee beans that are being constantly pushed around by a motorized wobbling disk. As the heat blows, the large metal disk does figure eights through the beans, keeping the heat nice and even. So where does the red ball come in? It’s at the bottom, keeping the flying bean skins (chaff) from entering the heat gun’s fan motor.

Toward the end of the short video after the break, you’ll see a diagram showing all the parts of this roaster. If that’s not enough for you, here’s a build guide for a previous wobble disk roaster (PDF) that should be quite helpful in building either version.

If you want to see some of Larry’s previous machines, we’ve got ’em. And then you can let Hackaday Editor-in-Chief [Elliot Williams] tell you all about roasting at home.

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How To Cobble A Wobble Disk Roaster Together

As with anything else, once your knowledge of coffee expands, the more attractive it becomes to control as much of the process as possible. Buying whole beans and grinding them at home is one thing, but you’re not a real coffee geek unless you’re buying big bags of green beans and roasting them yourself in small batches.

[Larry Cotton] has made an even more portable version of the wobble disk roaster we saw last summer. Beneath the housing made of aluminium flashing is the guts of a $15 Harbor Freight heat gun pointing upward at a metal strainer. A large metal disk mounted at a 45-degree angle to the spinning axis tosses and turns the beans as they get blasted with heat from below. [Larry] used a 12 VDC motor to run the wobble disk, and an an adapter to change the heat gun from 120 VAC to 12 VDC. This baby roasts 1½ cups of beans to city plus (medium) level in 12-15 minutes. Grab a cup of coffee and check it out after the break.

Roasting beans isn’t rocket science. Even so, there are some things you would benefit from knowing first, so here’s our own [Elliot Williams] on the subject of building DIY roasters.

Continue reading “How To Cobble A Wobble Disk Roaster Together”