Author Topic: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build  (Read 3486 times)

Offline Cartierusm

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Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« on: January 13, 2009, 04:28:10 PM »
So I finally completed my automatic stirrer, which I found for the size batches I'm making is absolutely necessary. The original one I made, shown here on video http://www.smokeproductions.com/Stir1.avi, was acutally slower. I thought it was too fast and chopped up my curds, I then realized that it was the cheap milk I used and it created the little bits of milk curd floating around. I would like it slower but I need power behind it and to be cheap. I'll keep looknig for motors, but probably stick with this one unless it doesn't work well. The problem with the original motor was it was a cheap drill from OSH. After a few minutes I could smell it and it didn't smell good. I know it was just going to crap out on me. Next I couldn't get it slow enough on it's own I had to use a whole bunch of electronics which were messy and would shorten it's life span too. And it was just unhygienic.

The new motor is 1/10 horsepower is very strong, I can't even stop it with the paddles on as leverage. I run at about 65 RPM. I put in in this food safe bucket becasue I just don't like the idea of an industrial motor hanging over my milk, who knows metal bits or grease might fall in. I can go in either direction and I'm going to run it for a couple of hours and take temp readings and see how it goes. I might also put a sour cream container lid on the paddles at the top tight, so the lid will spin just in case anything falls from the motor throught that way.

Here is a video of the new motor http://www.smokeproductions.com/Stir2.avi
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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 05:15:38 PM »
You da man!

Any concerns on those thin paddles folding over?

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 05:47:37 PM »
HAAA! No those paddles were made out of Stainless I had from when I cut a keg open, they may not look it but they're not thin. Plus they have the bump outs from the keg and are curved. But thanks for the concern.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Likesspace

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 08:31:58 PM »
Carter,
I hate to even suggest this since my manufacturing skill level is kindergarten grade when compared to yours.
But, here goes anyway......
Do you think the paddles might work better if they were set at like a 22-1/2 to 45 degree angle?
I'm thinking of someting that looks like an airplane prop.
It seems to me that with a bit of an angle on the paddles it would not only stir the curd but lift it as well which is pretty much what I do when using a spoon.
Maybe I'm way off base here, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

Dave

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2009, 02:15:08 AM »
Well I originally was going to do that but the problem was I would have to heat the entire piece of metal and twist it. Although it sounds easy it's really not. So I just stuck with the curved metal. My assumption was that the curds are almost boyant anyway so they'll kind of float when pushed. Then I figured I can tune the blades if they're not doing what I want. Tomorrow will be the test run when I make another 15 gallon parmesan batch.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Likesspace

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2009, 07:28:28 PM »
Yeah, that sounds logical. It's easy to picture a certain design but I'm sure the manufacturing would be much more difficult.
So, did you use this today, and if so how did it work?

Dave

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2009, 07:43:29 PM »
Bust, as I noted in my Parm #6 batch it was way too fast and kind of pulverized my curds, they reclumped and I think I'll be fine. No more of this screwing around. I'm using the same motor, mounting it on the outside and putting bearings on the mixing arm and using pulleys that way I can control the exact rpm. I will make the pulleys out of wood it's cheaper and I can make as many as I want until I find the right combo.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 08:46:38 PM »
Ok so as I stated before this one was way too fast 70 rpm. So I went ahead and decided not to be lazy and built it the way it should have originally. I put the motor on the outside, which I wanted anyway so nothing, i.e. grease or metal filing, fall into the milk. That's why in the original pic I have a bucket enlcosing the motor.

So the new one uses timing pulleys and I can change a pulley in seconds to adjust the rpm.

Right now with the parts I orded I can go from 12 RPM to 35 RPM and for only a few dollar more I can go lower or higher if needs be, but I think this will be perfect.

Dave, in answer to your question in the other thread, that is a posibility but the large cheeese makers use paddles as well but they spin SLOW, so that's what I'm aiming for. I might make the paddles differently this time. Yes I have to remake the paddles as the shaft is now too short as I am using it to put the pulley on that raises it about 4-5 inches.

If you need help designing something that can be made at home let me know I can help, I'm great at building functional rugged machinery from found parts.

Here are the pics of the new one without the pulleys. I always make machinery out of the extruded 80/20 aluminum so I can bolts sutff on without having to drill holes or make complicated adapters.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 02:34:03 AM »
I'll have updated pics today when I start making a 15 gallon farmhouse cheddar. So far it works like a charm. I added a removeable power cord and an on/off switch now that I know my design works.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2009, 08:12:28 PM »
So here are the pics of the new stirrer, I'll be using it in about 10 minutes and I'll post an update on how it works.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline chilipepper

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2009, 10:19:10 AM »
Carter that is great work!  How did it work?

So now how are you heating this kettle to cook the curd? Still foating the whole boat in the big plastic garbage can?

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2009, 11:08:22 AM »

First of all, 

First rate, (you are setting the bar high as i have become to expect this level of work from you)
Second of all a critique.

Speed:
Is 12 RPM slow enough?
I mean, the whole point of stiring is just to avoid matting.
Would not 2-3 rpm be fast enough (gentle enough?)


Paddle angle.
Would a more scoop shaped paddle (imagine a short order cook's griddle spatula), as opposed to a twisted propeller type paddle be better?


Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Curd Stirrer - Automatic, Carter's Build
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2009, 04:20:20 PM »
Thanks for the praise ;D. I've timed the speed of the cheddar paddles on some professional makers on Youtube and there's are a little faster. Remember my first incarnation was way too fast, the new version was made with pulley's so I can change to any speed. Wayne, although that seems fast I used it last night on the Farmhouse Cheddar and I think it could be a little faster. You'd be amazed that even that motion didn't move the curds much, it's so slow that it just pushed through the whey. It was pretty much perfect. The curds were light and fluffy, didn't break apart, didn't mat (a few clumps here and there), no big mass that settled to the bottom to over heat and melt, and the whey stayed very clear meaning there was no butterfat being pushed from the curds.

As far as paddle design, I mean that's engineering I really don't want to go into. It would take a lot of figure out an optimal design. You might be right wayne, did you mean just a flat blade? Wayne post a pic of the spatula you're thinking of. But I don't want to start messing with it. I was going for a paddle that pushed liquid upward which would hopefull pull any curds setttling on the bottom upward to rejoin the mix.

The two additions I'm making are a hinge on the unit, it's too bulky to lift up and remove all the time, so it will just swing out of the way. Also I'll be making the shaft and paddle removeable like on a Kitchen Aid mixer, so when the unit swings up the shaft and paddle won't hit and it will be easier to clean.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.