Prototyping

Lead by our amazing Mechanical Engineer and make-it-all whizkid Wyles, we built a lot of prototypes to try to improve every part of the coconut oil making process - shredding, milking, pressing, extracting and clarifying. Given what we'd seen in Nicaragua, what we learned from Chris and from talking with other partners, and exploring and failing to find opportunities with breadfruit, we decided to try to develop a slightly improved modification of the table shredders some people had in their homes. Through Chris, we learned rotational shredders were relatively expensive to get so most people used a cheese-grater like instrument of nail punctured tin (brutal on knuckles). Rotational shredders were not only safer to use (believe it or not) but much faster because you don't have to chip away the exterior shell before shredding. The movement is also more forgiving on the body, critical to the women who have to shred dozens of coconuts to make even a small amount of oil. 

We played with size of teeth, size of total head, length of turn shaft, handle function, gearing mechanisms (to increase speed), materials (for durability, corrosiveness, affordability and cleanliness) and manufacturing technique among other things.