It’s kind of funny to think that with all the high tech computer-controlled machines in the factory, we’ve been hand mixing the critical ingredients of our OESH® Sole. Our mixer was originally built by UVa Engineering Students with a handle that turned the wheels; therefore to properly mix a bucket of ingredients we’d manually turn the handle for a certain amount of time (I had gotten it down to a great mixture with a solid 240 turns). [Sidenote: I beg to differ that JMU Industrial Design Students would have thought of a motorized mixer from the beginning, but that might be the bias in me talking.]
So while our mixer certainly works well, with all the La Vida 2.0 orders pouring in, the continuous arm workouts have been getting a little too ridiculous. At first we thought of attaching an old bicycle to the handle, but then when we were cleaning an area to make our new shelves (DIY Utility Shelves) we found the old feeder from our injection molding machine that was connected to its own motor. You thinking what we were thinking? YUP, we decided to figure out how to attach this motor to the handle so we would have our own motorized mixer.
First challenge was to figure out how we could connect the motor to the handle since each had a rod of a different diameter. After much brainstorming, we came up with a design of two different aluminum pieces cut from the waterjet that would then bolt the two rods together. The result was a perfect fit and when everything was attached, the motor moved the wheels perfectly. From there we built a custom wooden stand to keep the motor balanced and attached the control box as the finishing touch. Now we can have a bucket mixing while we still get plenty of exercise (believe me) running from one machine to another fixing code, prepping molds, and getting the next bucket ready.