Are we there yet?
Well the exuberance of my last post was a little premature. While it was true that I had all of the motors running on the press I was to discover that I couldn't actually extract oil.
It turns out that if you have people spend 4 hours picking olives and then spend 4 hours pressing them into a mush without producing oil everyone feels generally disappointed and dejected. To their credit my 'alpha testers' were awesome and didn't give me any grief about working very hard for nothing. Bless Them!
Finally I got some help from an expert (someone who has pressed olives before) and together we diagnosed and fixed a setting that was wrong on part of the machine. My fourth pressing went well and produced a reasonable oil yield.
I am now cautiously optimistic that we are over the hump. I still have a lot to learn in terms of tuning the water content, the temperature, etc.. but these are things that will make % differences in yield rather than 'no oil' vs 'some oil'.
I have now cautiously spread the word that the press is working and I have a few people booked to bring me olives over the next couple of weeks. Fortunately the olive season is very late this year so I haven't totally missed the boat. Depending on how many people show up I will determine if I can start distributing rewards. I will distribute based on order of backing the project. I will keep you informed how it's going... I hope we have finally arrived at production readiness.