153: Freshly Ground Sprinkles
It came to me in flash of inspiration a few months ago. I have no idea why or how, but I suddenly knew that I needed to make a sprinkle grinder.
My original plan was to begin manufacturing a line of spaghetti-shaped sprinkle stock that you would load into a pepper-grinder-shaped tool, and actually grind off some fresh sprinkles.
I soon realized that was a fairly ridiculous idea, and while hilariously impractical, it was also actually impractical. So, I set out to make something that just looked exactly like that scenario. Oh, it still works, just not like you might think. Below you will discover the tale of how it was made.
On Tuesday morning, I decided I had waited long enough to bring my vision of elegant sprinkle serving to the public. I needed to make this happen, so later that day I stopped by Value Village to see if they had any clear pepper grinders. There’s always a chance.
Then I saw it. The perfect grinder just sitting there, waiting to be Frankensteined into something greater than itself. I took it as an omen, and got to work.
When I got the grinder home, I found the mechanism was stuck shut. A forceful twist released a cloud of rust from the gears. No matter. I don’t need that part anyway.
I used Google SketchUp to visualize the design for my dispensing mechanism. Very handy tool. I don’t think I could have done this project without it.
Once I had the basic workings figured out, I realized this would be yet another laser cutting project. So, I took some precise measurements and switched to Illustrator to make the parts.
I’m beginning to seriously love laser cutting. My options were “a couple hours with a saw, outside in the cold” or “30 seconds with a laser”. Why would you even need to think about that?
I didn’t choose the clear acrylic. It was the only thing they had in the thickness I needed, but I’m glad it worked out that way. It looks cool.
I love it when the measurements work. The first piece slid together perfectly.
Here you can see my plan coming together.
And here you can see it falling apart. I made the notches too tight, and they broke.
A quick trip back home to make some adjustments, and while I had the file open I tried out a new design.
It went together much easier this time.
Alright, this is fine, but what is going on?! I though this post was about sprinkles!
Hold on, I’m getting there. I just took too many pictures of the laser cutting part. Sorry.
Once the mechanism was assembled, I put the grinder back together. You may be able to tell from this picture, that it’s not actually a grinding mechanism. It’s more of a gumball-machine-style dispenser. Which means this whole thing is a lie, and I’m just going to fill it up with regular sprinkles, and have them pour out when you turn the crank.
“But, the picture at the first! I saw the sprinkle rods! Explain that!”
OK. OK. Geez, you’re pushy today, reader.
What you saw, and (hopefully) interpreted, as uncut sprinkle rods was actually colored wire.
Sticky-side-out tape, and some precut lengths of wire makes a pretty convincing shell of confection.
This part of the project actually took the longest.
I cut everything flat, rolled up the tape,…
… and put it in the grinder.
This leaves a secret compartment to be filled with regular sprinkles.
This way, I can use it forever, and only ever have to buy replacement regular sprinkles (or maybe jimmies).
Say when. And while I grind enjoy this video.
See you next week.