Prototype Turbo Oven Coffee Drum Roaster

IMG_20180204_135918Inspired by my friend Dominick’s attempt at a Turbo Oven-powered Drum Roaster I thought I’d build my own.  While I appreciate the simplicity of my Stir Crazy base I’ve never been happy with the consistency of roasts; by its very nature it just can’t stir the beans around to evenly roast them.

In his version, Dominick talked about a long roast time of about 20 minutes.  I figured that was due to heat loss through the sides of the enamel pot used for the base.  So in my version I’ve made an insulated base which looks to have solved that problem.

Here’s a video I shot going over the roaster, it also includes some clips of it running.



The base is made out of two aluminum walls fastened onto a wooden base.  I turned the base on my lathe, making a tenon around the circumference that the two walls seat against.  There is about 1″ is space between the walls.

The inside diameter is about 9.5″, enough to house the drum I’m using.  The height of the walls needs to be high enough to not only house the drum (plus a reasonable gap on the bottom for clearance) but also high enough to clear the “nose” of the turbo oven.  I forgot this second consideration and was only able to use the smaller of the two drums I bought.  The walls are long strips of 0.025″ aluminum riveted to make loops.  I used small #4 wood screws to secure them to the base.

Insulation is provided by glass fiber insulation.  It doesn’t seem to mind the heat from coffee roasting.

Bearings for the drum rod are two flanged bronze sleeve bushings, 3/8″ in inner diameter.  Because I’m using 1/4″ square rod, I needed something with a slightly bigger inner diameter to house the rod.  And nicely enough, 0.25 x 1.414 is roughly equal to 0.325.  I made sure to buy bearings with a flange to make them easier to mount in the walls.  I only then have to secure one end.

Doesn’t the wood catch on fire?

I asked myself the same question!  But no it has not, it has darkened a bit over 5+ roasts and oozed some sap.  And after each roast I can smell pine resin, but that aroma has not made its way to the beans at all.  The aluminum foil cover seems to help because it reflects the radiant heat produced by the Turbo Oven’s halogen light.

But with that said, when it comes time to re-make the base I will attempt an all-metal construction.  And I have moved a fire extinguisher to my coffee roasting station just in case!

Drum and Rod

I bought two coffee drums off of eBay for this prototype because I didn’t know what size would work the best.  Here is the listing, but in case that stops working they are each 18cm long with diameters of 14cm and 12cm.  I’ve only ever used the 12cm drum because the 14cm drum doesn’t fit underneath the turbo oven.

The drums have a 0.6cm^2 square drive hole, which is pretty darn close to 0.25″ (6.35mm).  The rod fit in there right away without any filing.  However the holes were out of axial alignment so I had to file one of them on the corners to “rotate” it a bit to allow the shaft to slide all the way through.

Speaking of the shaft, it is a 1/4″ square solid stainless steel rod from Home Depot.  I can’t find it on their site right now or I’d provide a link.  Here is a similar product from Speedy Metals.


Roaster with old, noisy ice cream maker motor

This prototype has already seen three iterations of the motor!

Ice Cream Maker Motor

The first was off of an ice cream maker.  It worked OK but was quite loud making it difficult to hear the cracks.  (I also have not-great hearing, picking out details from background noise is difficult.)  However, one positive for this motor was that its drive shaft was designed to accept a 1/4″ square rod!  Another good thing about the motor is that it came from a $10 thrift store find so it didn’t require any eBay’ing.

4W Gear Motor

Version two has me using a 4W, 35RPM synchronous gear motor.  These things are all over eBay and about about $10; here’s one listing.  Be sure that the one you’re looking at is rated for 110V or 120V, there are also 12V models out there.

I have two of these little motors, one fixed to go clockwise and another which will randomly choose a direction when started (this is normal).  We’ll call the former CW and the latter CW/CCW, because that’s what their labels have.

In a test run with 16oz of greens the CW/CCW motor had great difficulty starting out and needed a push.  Not much more was needed to stall it, either.  The CW motor worked a lot better, still needing a push to get started but it would not stall out on its own.  As this writing I have a 14W motor on its way and will try that out and update this post when it arrives.

My first real roast with the 4W, CW motor worked really well but I only used 14oz of beans.  It stuttered a bit while starting but once going worked the whole time.  Roast #2 used 16 oz of greens and the motor would not start spinning until given a little help; but it at least ran the whole time without stopping.

14W Gear Motor

The third motor is a lot more powerful and should be the final one for this roaster.  Here’s an eBay link, but if that doesn’t work for you look for a “14W 30RPM 110V synchronous gear motor”.  It should be about $15 shipped.

While the motor’s description said it has a 6mm output shaft it’s actually 7mm so it immediately worked with the flexible coupler mentioned below.

The motor is reversible, so it has three electrical connections.  This video shows a little more detail into how to wire it up, but the gist is that one AC lead goes into the middle and the other lead goes into one of the side connections.  To change rotational direction use the opposite side.  There’s no polarity with AC.

This motor, like the 4W, is close to silent in operation but has tons of power.  It easily turned 16oz of greens, and I was unable to stop the drum with my hand.

It has four threaded bolt holes in its flange, M5-0.8.

Drive Shaft Coupling

While using a square bar for the drive shaft made it easy to mount onto the drum it made it a lot less easy to attach to the motor.

So I gripped the bar in my chuck’s pin jaws and filed the end of the square bar down to round.


Now I can couple the shaft to the motor.  The motor has a 7mm shaft, and I now have a 6.35mm shaft, so I used a flexible coupler to join the two.  I went with a flexible one because I know that none of my work is close to perfectly square or aligned.   This lets the motor and shaft rotate in peace with the flexible coupler taking out the slack.


The motor is simply screwed to a T-shaped  plywood stand.  The above photos show the 4W motor but I used the same stand for the 14W motor.


  1. Pre-heat the unit with the drum in place, slid onto the shaft and in the vessel.  Make sure drum door is pointed upward.
  2. Add beans and replace the turbo oven, set for perhaps 460F.
  3. When 1C comes around, lower the heat to around 440 in order to avoid a rolling 2C
  4. The end of the roast is still kind of awkward.  Turn off drum, remove turbo oven, and then pull out the motor and shaft leaving the drum in hand.  Now open the drum door and dump beans into cooling vessel

It’s not too different of a process as compared to my Stir Crazy, but is definitely less user-friendly when it comes to removing the beans from the device.


IMG_20180204_112727I’ve been getting very good, consistent batches out of this machine.  The drum’s agitation of the beans also does a better job of removing chaff than the stir crazy, my beans are very clean.  I did struggle with over-roasting when I used the loud ice cream maker motor because the light 2C snaps were hard to pick out.  But my last batch with the quiet synchronous motor was right on target because those first 2C snaps were easy to hear.


Ryobi 40V Mower Cutout Fix

I’ve had my battery-powered 40V Ryobi mower (model #40108) for a year now and have been pretty happy with it.  However the last time I used it the damn thing would randomly shut off while mowing.  At the time there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the problem such as heavy grass or a weak battery which was reading 2/4 bars.  I threw the battery into the string trimmer and it worked great.

So I took the lovely slime-green plastic cover off to see if there was anything obviously wrong.  My hopes were low because I figured the mower would consist of a motor and control board.

Simple mower internals

Sure enough nothing looked wrong such as a leaking capacitor on the control board.  But while putting it back together I noticed a kill switch I had never noticed before!  It’s located by the handle hinge, ensuring that the mower will only run while the handle is in the folded-out position.

This little switch was flopping around in its hole because one of the spring clips on the backside was broken probably while I was removing that slime-green plastic cover.  When the handle is folded out the switch is depressed, closing the circuit allowing the mower to run.

If you take a close look at the interaction between the switch and handle, it is  not a precision operation.  Due to the position of where the switch happens to be, the handle bumps into it, hopefully depressing it.  Here’s the root cause of my problem: The mower’s frame had loosened up over time, allowing the frame to rack from side-to-side during turns.  This racking let that little switch spring back up, opening the circuit and stopping the mower.

And thankfully the solution was to tighten these two T25 frame bolts, located right above the rear wheels.

Keep these bolts tight

And as a footnote, I bypassed that dumb switch just to avoid this kind of nonsense in the future.  The connection was wrapped up with electrical tape after these photos were taken.


I hope this short article helps someone out!

Lathe Sharpening and Tool Cart

I’ve had my grinder on a Harbor Freight tool cart for the past year.  I don’t have any more bench space in my shop so a mobile solution was all I had left.  Plus skinning the sides with tools works pretty well and its nice having some shelf space.

Gouges on the left, scrapers on the right, with skews, parting tools, and a drill on back.  It’s nice being able to put my grinder and tools right where I want them while turning and then tuck them away when doing something else.

However the lower shelves are only moderately useful because they’re short and deep, and they also fill up with chips.  I couldn’t find a cheap (say $100 or less) tool cabinet with drawers all the way down and a solid top, so I was planning on just building a small two-drawer box to sit in the bottom space.

So off I went to Menard’s to get plywood, drawer slides, and pulls.  On a whim I checked out their tool storage area and found a pretty damn good cart!  It’s just wide enough to accommodate the Tormek jig arms and the price was right.


I re-used the tool holders but did make a new top from some 2x material.  Some drawer dividers and I was ready to go!  It holds much more than the old cart and should do a better job of keeping the chips out.

Veritas Strking Knife Sharpening Jig

The thin profile of Veritas’ Striking Knife makes it pretty versatile but at the same time hard to sharpen.  It’s very small so there’s little bevel to “feel” for and the blade material is bendy so it’s hard to keep in the exact same orientation while sharpening.

Consequently over time mine will loose its nice pointed end and flat sides and it can’t reach into tight corners.  To help me re-establish a nice flat bevel I use a really simple “jig”, just a scrap of wood with two 25° slots cut into it.

The jig then holds the marking knife up against the flat side of my CBN wheel.  The 220-grit finish from the wheel isn’t great so I then finish up with my usual honing routine.

This slot-in-a-block-of-wood type jig could be used against a normal bench grinder (front of wheel of course), belt sander, or even to hold the knife for hand-sharpening on stones.

Gouge Sharpening Through a Microscope

Sample image

Using a cheap USB microscope I took some closeup shots of the scratch pattern and burr on a HSS bowl gouge through three sharpening methods.

Here’s the full album of images

For the purpose of woodturning it seems like the fineness of the edge doesn’t matter a whole lot.  While the burr looks very nasty, and would be bad to have on a smoothing plane iron, it will get immediately knocked off in a woodturning project.

Hitting the Reset Button on my Jointer/Planer


Over time the outfeed table on my Rikon 25-210H worked its way out of adjustment, gradually creeping its way close to the cutterhead.  I found out about this one day by the one cutter slamming into the table when I turned on the machine.  So I was able to move the table back out of the way by turning its parallel arms but over time the table moved around more and more.

Looking at the Jet’s version of this machine (JJP-12HH), I saw that the outfeed adjustment arm also serves to lock it in place against the front cover.  So I ordered the three parts from eReplacementParts that would give me that:

Adjusting Handle (JJP12-014)
Knob (JJP12-015)
Bracket Screw (JJP12-016)

When the parts arrived I decided to start from scratch on tuning up the jointer tables, loosening the hinge adjustment screws thus throwing away the factory adjustment plus the work I had done.  I wasn’t very confident in how aligned the tables were so I wasn’t losing much.

Terms Used

Pitch Rotation of a table about the short axis of the machine.  Right/left ends are up/down.
Roll Rotation of a table about the long axis of the machine.  Front/back sides are up/down.
Twist Rotation involving both pitch and roll.  One corner is off from the others.
Stop Bolts The two bolts that each table stops on when closed.
Hinge Screws The four grub screws in each hinge that control its orientation
Hinge Bolts The three bolts in each hinge that secure it to the frame

(pitch and roll are aeronautic terms, they make it easier for me to visualize this stuff)


I have both the 38” and 50” straight edges from PeachTree and while the 38” model works OK the fact that the 50” lays across almost the entire table makes infeed adjustment a lot easier.

General Tips

  • Lock Down Levers and Stop Bolts
    • A smooshy feel when tightening means that the stop bolts are uneven; the “smoosh” is from the table flexing down to meet the top of both bolts.  If you have the bolts even then you will experience a nice firm feel when tightening the lever.
    • Adjust the bolts by hand and with the table down.  Turn one bolt to move the table up/down and then move the other bolt to just touch the table.
    • There are two stop bolts per table, with the locking rod in between them.  There are two in order to provider a wider, more stable platform for the table to rest on.  They do not participate in changing the pitch of either table; that is the job of the hinge levelling screws.  After making changes to the levelling screws both stop bolts should be brought into equal contact with the table.
    • When you are ready to lock the stop bolts down, do so with the table locked down.  This will help prevent the bolts from turning as you tighten the lock nuts down.  It helps to have two 13mm wrenches here as there isn’t a lot of space for a crescent wrench to fit into.
      • Tightening the lock nuts has the effect of moving the bolts upwards a small amount.  The thread’s backlash being taken up is my best guess as to why.  In my experience you will have to tighten the bolts down by another ~20° to account for this.
  • Outfeed Table
    • If you are installing the outfeed adjustment lever you can rotate the parallel arm as-needed to clear the guard arm mount.  
    • Loosen all grub screws before adjusting anything.  There are two on the parallel arm and four on the lift rods.

“Reset Button” Sequence


  1. Move infeed table down to take it out of the equation. You don’t want your straight edge resting on it.
  2. Back out all four leveling screws until they are loose.
  3. Tighten down hinge bolts
  4. Loosen all the grub screws to allow the outfeed table to be freely adjusted using its parallel
  5. Using the parallel arm try to adjust the outfeed to its ideal height, i.e. where the cutters just scrape your straight edge.  Work first on the back edge, closest to the hinge.  Note: it’s advise to not tune the table such that the Top Dead Center is at the ideal height.  Give yourself some wiggle room should the outfeed table settle lower.  
    1. If you are able to reach ideal height in back, move onto step 6.
    2. If you are not able to get the ideal height, i.e. the outfeed table is too low then you will need to raise it a bit via the hinge adjustment screws.  Adjust them evenly, say ¼ turn each.
      1. Again use the outfeed level to get the ideal height in back.  If needed raise the table more via the hinge screws.
  6. Now adjust the stop bolts to get the front of the table to the idea height.  
    1. This will most likely throw off the adjustment in back.  Use the lever to regain your ideal height in back.  This will mostly likely throw off your height in front, fix that via the stop bolts.
  7. When you are done tighten all the grub screws on the outfeed table.


  1. Loosen the hinge leveling screws and tighten down the hinge bolts
  2. Adjust the infeed table to its uppermost position such that it is even-ish with the outfeed table
  3. At this point there shouldn’t be a lot of roll, just pitch to adjust for.
  4. Attack the pitch first, adjusting the hinge screws in left/right pairs.  For a gap of around 1/16”, start with pretty small turns of the screws, about ⅛ of the way around.
    1. Measure in the back side first by the hinge, noting which side has a bigger gap.
    2. Adjust the infeed table’s height to zero in on it being level with the outfeed table.  Raise it such that it just contacts your straight edge at some point, either left or to the right.
    3. Now check the front side, adjusting the stop bolts to match the roll between the outfeed and infeed tables.  Another way to think about this is that your goal here is to have your straight edge’s contact with the infeed table the same in both front and back.  It won’t be laying flat (unless you’re lucky) but the gaps and contact spots should at least be in the same areas.
    4. Now note your gaps which will dictate your next round of adjustment.  When you overshoot, and move the gap to the opposite end, back off the screws you just touched rather than tightening the screws by the new gap.  This minimizes the variables in play.
  5. Ideally you will be able to get things adjusted such that your 0.001” gauge won’t fit under the entire length of the table in both front and back; good luck with that 🙂

I put together a (too long) view on the process which also includes my thoughts on the product after messing around with it so much.

To summarize, setting the outfeed table is simpler than the infeed because it has fewer variables:


  1. Match the cutter head’s height
  2. Match the cutter head’s roll


  1. Match the outfeed’s height
  2. Match the outfeed’s pitch
  3. Match the outfeed’s roll

Front Cover Bracket Screw Hole Marking

I used a dowel marker pin over the bracket screw to mark where the hole should be drilled in the front cover.  With the marker pin in place I positioned the cover about where it should go and then struck it with a rubber hammer.

Jet JCDC-2 vs. Grizzly G0548ZP Showdown!

I just got Jet’s 2HP cyclone dust collector as an upgrade from Grizzly’s 2HP canister unit.  My main driver was to get a more quiet dust machine with a side benefit of it being easier to empty.  So while I had both machines on hand I measured their sound levels and air volume throughput.

The purpose of this post is not only to compare the two machines but also to give a little more real world data on the sound levels produced by dust collectors as opposed to what the manufacturers publish.

My testing instruments were:

The ambient noise levels in my shop measured @ 43 dBA.

Open Test

Side by side testing

My first test put the machines out in the open with a short length of 4″ hose to constrict flow a bit.  I stood with the sound meter from where the photo was taken, about 10 feet away.

Grizzly:  86 dBA,  1065 CFM

Jet: 82 dBA, 1070 CFM

The Grizzly’s sound level was pretty close to the published 83-85 dBA level.  The Jet’s number was quite a bit higher than their published value of 76 dBA.

The air volume numbers were essentially the same, showing that the 4″ hose restricted them to the same volume.

Enclosed Test

img_20170107_114246Next I tested the dust collectors where they actually live, in this weird little room my basement has.  It’s about 8′ x 8′ and is where the water main comes through the floor.  As a woodworker it serves me pretty well by giving me a plash to stash a noisy machine.

On this test I measured the sound levels from about 15′ away next to my lathe.  This is where I will spend a lot of time with the collector running while sanding or turning dry wood so I was interested to see what my ears would be subjected to.

As for airflow I measured the flow at my lathe’s dust hose and my jointer’s dust hose.  Each of these machines are at the end of the two branches of my dust system.

Grizzly: 76 dBA, Lathe = 550 CFM, Jointer = 500 CFM

Jet: 70 dBA, Lathe = 550 CFM, Jointer = 532 CFM
img_20170107_113447The two jointer numbers are not the same because the machines have different inlet locations and therefore force a different shape in the hose hooked up to them.  The Jet’s inlet is higher up so I was able to reduce the severity of the bends which netted me 30 more CFM.  The lathe piping run kept the same shape.

I was happy to note that the Jet’s lower noise level is very noticeable from my lathe area.  In fact the whooshing noise from the dust hood is pretty much louder than the actual dust collector.

Jet JCDC-2 Cyclone Dust Collector Assembly


This past weekend I assembled my new dust collector, Jet’s 2HP cyclone unit.  The whole process took about two hours, most of which was spent getting the “head” (motor/impleller) mounted onto the frame.  That part, when done according to the instructions was honestly hard to do.

As you can see in the photo I used my “shop crane”, a Harbor Freight 1-ton model, to lift the head.  Unfortunately the legs of the shop crane did not allow the cyclone’s frame to be positioned directly underneath the head… they are about the exact same width as the halves of the frame.  So I tipped the two parts towards each other and got them bolted up.  This wasn’t an elegant or safe operation but it worked.  After it was bolted up I was able to tip the dust collector back upright.

If I had to do this over again I would still use my shop crane to lift the head, but I would not have first assembled the two frame halves together.  I would have left them separate and bolted them onto the head while in the air.  Then I would have lowered the dust collector to a horizontal position cradling the head on some the styrofoam it was packed in, and then assembled the rest of the frame.  Tilting it back up could have been assisted by the shop crane.



Grizzly T26674 Button Repair

Over the last few months I’ve noticed the buttons on my dust remote starting to flake out.  Some days they would require a few clicks to work, other days they would be fine.  Well today the on button totally died.

Because the buttons were getting more and more unreliable over time I had a pretty solid hunch that the culprit were the actual buttons on the remote’s printed circuit board.  So I took it apart, and the on switch when pressed by itself sounded different, less “clicky”.

So I removed both the on and timer down switches and then soldered the timer switch in the on switch’s old home.

Repaired PCB with switches moved.  In the background are the two worn out switches.

So on the board you can see the four switch positions S1 – S4:

  • S1: On button
  • S2: Off button
  • S3: Timer down
  • S4: Timer up

I just moved S3 to S1.  And lo and behold my dust collector now turned on with its usual roar!  And amusingly enough that was exact moment the off switch decided to crap out, I had to unplug the whole works.  So I did the same operation with S4 and S2 and fixed that too.

Example eBay listing for the replacement switches

I’m going to replace the timer switches so that I can resell this remote, but it works fine without the timer buttons in place.  On eBay or Amazon just look for 6mm x 6mm x 4.5mm through-hole momemtary switches, they’ll be about $1.25 per 100 shipped from China.  I did some googling for “high quality” switches but really didn’t find anything obvious; but perhaps these more expensive switches from Jameco would be more durable?  Or they might just cost more.

This repair would work for the Grizzly T26673 as well because it would use the same cheap components.

If you are interested in doing this easy repair yourself here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder, something thin like 0.5mm or 0.6mm diameter
  • Some means to remove the old solder from the switch pins.  “Desoldering wick” will work in a pinch but I’ve always had good luck with a desoldering iron like this one.

Search YouTube for “how to desolder” and you’ll find 1000 videos on the topic.

DMT Dia-Sharp Stone Roundup

Over the last year or two I’ve gradually accumulated 6 of DMT’s 8″ continuous diamond sharpening stones.  I started with Coarse, Fine, and Extra Fine per Paul Seller’s recommendation with a leather strop plus green compound for a hair-popping edge.  Then curiosity compelled me to get the Extra Extra Coarse, Extra-Coarse, and Extra Extra Fine models.  I have not purchased the special Medium stone because it costs $20 more than the other models.  I’ll be using DMT’s shorthand for these throughout this post:

Extra Extra Coarse XX
Extra Coarse X
Coarse C
Fine F
Extra Fine E
Extra Extra Fine EE

This post is basically shitting on those last three models.  I feel that with the C, F, and E models DMT has produced some very effective sharpening plates that efficiently remove metal to the advertised mesh.

The lowest two (XX & X) do remove metal faster than C.  But not that much faster, not $50 faster.  And I honestly have not noticed much of a difference between XX and X.  XX has sort of a bumpy, gravelly feel to it not a sharp feeling.  Yesterday I was straightening out the beefy 2-3/8″ blade on my Woodriver 5-1/2 plane blade, starting with the X plate.  You know the drill, 3/4 of the bevel is done but then the remaining 1/4 has this thin triangular section that slowly wears away.  As I spent minutes upon minutes sharpening away I there wasn’t a noticeable difference in the speed at which that triangle disappeared as I switched between XX, X, and C.  No I did not time this or get very scientific but I was frustrated from a consumer perspective.

At the top end is the EE model.  Out of the box it leaves a scratch pattern much more coarse than E and apparently requires a ton of break-in time to get good.  Some folks on have had success, this fellow spent a year breaking in his plate.  Personally I’m not willing to spent that kind of time on a product.  We’re here to make things not sharpen.  Related to this, I recently picked up an 8k Kuromaku Shapton stone and got a mirror finish coming from the DMT E plate in something like 20 seconds.  Super fast and easy.

I did spend some time trying to break in my EE plate, perhaps 15-20 minutes scrubbing with a 1″ square of steel.  It still leaves a pronounced scratch pattern after all that; I’m done with it.

Concluding Remarks

Here’s my quick summary of the plates I’ve used

Extra Extra Coarse Way too slow for something advertised as 120 mesh.
Extra Coarse Slower that it should be, is a bit faster than Coarse.  Also useful for flattening water stones.
Coarse Works quickly enough, leaves a healthy surface
Fine Works great
Extra Fine Works great, leaves a surface that reflects light but is not mirror-smooth
Extra Extra Fine Not worth the time investment

I feel that DMT’s plates belong in the middle of your sharpening progression.  Paul Sellers does C, F, E + strop.  Rob Cosman goes from a 1k diamond plate right to a 16k ceramic stone.

Serious shape changes can be done with the X or C plates, albeit slowly.  Or you could gently perform those modifications on your bench grinder.  Or you could do them on cheap sandpaper and a flat surface.

On the fine end a strop plus honing compound will get you a very sharp edge but you truly do need to hit it for 50 strokes.  Waterstones are an option here too but introduce more cost especially with the need to flatten them.

I’m going to stick with my C, F, E + Shapton for day-to-day tasks.  I’m keeping the X for waterstone flattening.  XX and EE are heading out to eBay.