Manufacturing guy-at-large.

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Grinder mods update

Added on by Spencer Wright.

Got this updated part a few weeks ago, and it's looking promising.

Shown here mounted on the pentagonal shaft head on a Porlex mini grinder. The shaft of the part fits in a standard hand drill/driver.

What I really want here is to put a little DC gearmotor on one of these hand grinders, and then link it up with my GCal so that it grinds coffee for me every morning when my alarm goes off. We'll get there.

Hario Driver from Shapeways

Added on by Spencer Wright.

Got this yesterday: 

This is a socket bit that can be chucked in a drill and used to grind coffee with a manual burr grinder. I'm toying with the idea of having some CNCd, but this 3D printed steel version will work well for testing.

I don't own the Hario grinder that it's designed for, but I'm hoping to test it this weekend at a friend's house. Expect results soon :)

Scheming on Hario shit

Added on by Spencer Wright.

Last week, with Jace.

An early idea of mine was to replace the whole drive bolt on the Mini Slim (there's no reason it couldn't be a hexagonal drive) but ultimately that'd be costlier and would require a lot more disassembly/reassembly by the user.

If you've struggled with your Hario grinder in the past, hit me up!

Hario Skerton Mods

Added on by Spencer Wright.

NOTE: The Hario/Porlex compatible drill adapter shown below is available for sale! You can find it on Shapeways, here.

I got a Hario Skerton manual coffee grinder a few years back, but quickly grew tired of the hand cranking (+ the jumps & catches & spills I frequently had with it). So I retrofitted mine with a nut instead of a thumbscrew, and have happily been using a drill with a nutdriver to grind my coffee.

A friend has the Hario MSS-1B Mini Slim grinder, and he has it even worse: The shaft has a pentagon stud, which has a loose fit with the stamped handle and is difficult to adapt to a drill. We were talking about his situation this week, and I decided to model a pentagon driver that could be 3D printed and would allow the user to use a drill to grind their coffee easily & quickly.

I realize that this is a pretty small market - people who are okay with having a drill in their kitchen - but I'm curious whether anyone else out there would be interested in something like this. I'll be testing a prototype of the part over the next few weeks; if you're interested, give a holler!

UPDATE: This part worked! And you can buy one for yourself here.

cycles progress

Added on by Spencer Wright.

i spent much of the past few days modeling a conical burr grinder.  the project requires a number of complex sweep features, which are difficult both to measure and to model, and with which i have limited experience.  the process was interesting. 

the burr is ceramic (more about this in the future) and has two sets of tapered helical features.  the large helices seem to funnel coffee beans down into the assembly and begin to break them down, and the smaller features do most of the work of producing the intermediate and fine grind steps.


the large features seemed - at first - relatively straightforward to design.  the profile is easily measurable from the top of the part, and establishing a path (albeit one i would later realize was inaccurate) wasn't too bad.  here, i'm applying fillets to all the sharp edges left behind after the sweeps were cut into the base body. 

in parts like this, one tends to model a single feature and then apply a pattern on the part using the initial feature as an input.  here i'm patterning the small corrugations on the perimeter of the part.  i'll do this process a number of times; once you apply the pattern, you'll notice things about the feature that weren't apparent when there was only one occurrence visible.  i'll roll back the pattern and modify the underlying feature, and then reapply the pattern again and check out the result.  

the real result is that i shouldn't be doing this whole process on a 2008 iMac >> Boot Camp >> Windows 7 >> Inventor: a dedicated windows box would be *way* more efficient.  here's to hoping that AutoDesk gets real about some WebGL modeling software? 


the only way i know to model these features is by using Sweeps, which require a profile and a path as input.  i would prefer to be creating a 3d helical sketch and using that as the path, but i can't for the life of me figure out how to use Inventor's helix creation toolbox on complex shapes like this.  instead i've been creating planes that approximate a portion of a helical shape, and then drawing arcs on those planes.  it's a pretty hokey setup, but for my purposes it's more or less adequate.  

the red lines here are the remnants of one of these sketches, with the part's cut edges projected onto it.  on the left, you can see the arc that i'm using to define the small corrugations' path.

honestly, most of this here is overkill.  i'll probably end up getting one of these burrs 3D printed, but it's mostly academic at that point: the hard part of my project isn't the burr design, but the software that supports its function. 

either way, it was a fun part to model - and a bit above my head, i'll admit.  it's still far from perfect - the modeled version isn't nearly as bell-shaped as the original - but i'll let it go for now.  after all, i've got the other half of the burr to model now, and it's possible i'll learn something there that'll be applicable to remodeling this half. 

early storyboard: alarm/scheduling app

Added on by Spencer Wright.

in the interest of releasing early/often: 

i've been thinking about how i manage my schedule and alarms a bit recently.  it was originally inspired by Partly Cloudy, a beautiful weather app that i've been using for a while now.  i think of time in a circular format, and want a way to organize my schedule the same way.  in this way i find Google Calendar (which is my go-to scheduling application) a bit lacking: it organizes time in two linear axes, whereas my mind organizes time in a series of nested, circular axes.

the sketches below show some of the functionality of the app i've been imagining.  i won't go into it in detail here, but hope to make some proper wireframes and storyboards in the coming week. 

the default interface.  days of the week on the top left; item tag cloud on the top right (i don't like the format displayed here, but it works for now) and 24-hour day format in the main screen.   

the user is able to pinch/spread the main screen to zoom in on a particular time of the day, as shown here. 

when the user spreads, the 24-hour clock zooms in on a region of the day, to show scheduled items in more detail.  the user can tap on an item to bring up its attributes.

the item attribute page shows not only the item's details in text format (shown in a popup window at the bottom of the screen) but also the item's tag and recurrence as well.  in this case, the "wake up!" item recurs on weekdays, and has a particular tag (undefined here).  

the sound, vibrate and action fields are a bit vague here, but the idea is that an item can be associated with any number of triggered actions - push alerts, emails, SMS, twitter updates, and IoT actions to connected devices.

the last of these is one i'm particularly interested in.  it's my feeling that my coffee grinder should turn on at the same time my iPhone alarm goes off.  that way, if i decide to get up ten minutes earlier, i don't need to reschedule my automatic drip machine (which i no longer use, personally - too snobby for that shit - but you get the point) as well.