Apple cider press

   / Apple cider press #1  


Gold Member
Dec 7, 2004
Western Illinois
JD 3720
I hope this is the right place to post this question.

This year, many of us have a bumper crop of apples. While mowing under the apple tree yesterday, I began to wonder if it would be feasible to build a cider press which would use the hydraulics of a tractor.

Has anyone done this? Any ideas of how to make it work? Does it need to be makde from stainless steel? My biggest concern would be how to keep the equipment clean enough so it would be safe to drink the juice that was produced.

My intent is to start a discussion of how to make this happen. Thanks for any thoughts and suggestions others may have
   / Apple cider press #2  
Sort of off topic but I think it's important:

Dad built a hobby press and used to make apple juice. We soon quit accepting the batches he would bring us - the stuff had a overwhelming impact on speeding up digestion. I think what he missed was the pasteurizing step.

I suggest get the process down first, then think about mechanizing it.
   / Apple cider press #3  
Does it attach to the tractor and would you build it yourself? Yep, I think you've come to the right place. I think you get the gold star for creativity! :)

So, in designing the "Wesdor Cider Press" consider the following:

If you think about it the work involved in making cider goes something like this:

1. Get the apples.
2. Clean the apples.
3. Chop up the apples.
4. Put the chopped up apples into something where you can press them.
5. Press the chopped up apples.
6. Collect the cider.
7. Do something with the leftovers.

So the power of the tractor would add value to this process on steps 3 and 5. You could use a hydraulic motor to run the chopper, and then a ram to press the apples out. Heck, for that matter, you could use hydraulics to dump hoppers of apples, and even run a conveyor belt.

As a matter of sanitation you should use food grade stainless (403? 304? can't remember..) for anything that apples touch, especially since apples are mildly acidic. Since (I assume) you be running this from the remotes, you might want to make the extension lines as long as possible to get you away from the exhaust.

On the other hand, if you were doing this for non-human consumption (animal feed, compost, herbicidal vinegar) I've got an idea that would be a lot faster/easier/cheaper to make.

   / Apple cider press #5  
As for mechanizing the process - My suggestion to Dad after hearing him describe all the work he put into making his juice:

Get a brand new stainless garbage disposal. Sterilize it. Use it to shred the apples to pulp, separate and filter the liquid, then press the much smaller quantity of remaining pulp.
For the squeamish, a kitchen blender might do a good job but slower.
   / Apple cider press #6  
For a "non-human-consumption" version, here's the concept.

Where the bucket of the FEL goes, fabricate a device that looks and functions like a lawn sweeper. By putting the FEL in the float position the wheels will engage the ground and sweep the apples into a hopper. When the hopper is full, take the tractor back to a processing area (feed trough, compost pile, etc) and engage the hydraulics to squish the whole hopper of apples into mush and juice.. The mechanisim would be similar to that of a trash compactor, or the compactors used on garbage trucks.

After thinking more about this, if you filter and pasturize the cider I guess it could be fit for human consumption...but I don't think I'd want to consume it.
   / Apple cider press #7  
srjones said:
Where the bucket of the FEL goes, fabricate a device that looks and functions like a lawn sweeper. By putting the FEL in the float position the wheels will engage the ground and sweep the apples into a hopper...
Or just collect them using the rotary mower with a grass catcher. :D

Wesdor, if that's too simple maybe we can adapt something from this.
View attachment 60486
   / Apple cider press #8  
In my youth the apples ( whatever else fell from the tree) went from the tree to a dump truck then straight to the grinder. I've had lots of cider that probably wasn't as clean as it could have been. Now most is pasturized. I don't buy it because I liked to wait until it started to ferment, sparkling cider. You could wash your apples with a small amount of bleach then rince well. The NH requirement to pasturize has put a lot of small operations out of business.
Do a Google search for " apple grinder" & "cider presses". There's plenty to choose from to buy or make. If you go hydraulic 2 importanct considerations. #1. Hydraulic cylinders can easily destroy a press if pushed too hard or fast.
#2. Cider with leaked hydraulic fluid ain't all that great. Put the hydraulics under the poultice. Have fun making & drinking your cider, & be careful when it stops making bubbles- it gets heavy duty. MikeD74T
   / Apple cider press #9  
pasterizing destroys the juice, you can freeze it in plastic jugs, tastes great in the summer, i have 1 gallon left out of 100. time to make more.