When we first started making small batches of chocolate in 2007, we didn't really expect to find chocolate equipment that would be small enough. So we bought the home coffee roaster and the home sized curry grinder.
When it came time to get larger equipment we found that the specialized chocolate equipment was just too expensive. So now we have a large coffee roaster and very large curry grinders. This is not uncommon for bean to bar makers. You need to be quite inventive to be on the forefront of artisan chocolate making.
The problem came in up-scaling the winnowing of beans. (Winnowing is the separating of the inside of bean from the skin of the bean.) When we were doing small batches we would peel the beans by hand. One day Ed Moen, the owner of our local motel, The Village Inn, saw us chatting away and peeling beans said, "That is not going to work when your larger grinder arrives." I confessed that I had not solved this problem yet. All the winnowers looked like they had too many moving parts, therefore too many ways to break. It turns out that Ed is also a mechanical engineer. He got on the problem right away, winnowing sunflower seeds though the winter months. He started with a model built out of PVC pipes. When this model proved flawless, he had a stainless steel version built. This wonderful invention super cleans the beans and has only an inexpensive ShopVac instead of any moving parts. THANK YOU ED!
If you would like to have a winnower built, you can reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org.