Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Garbage Disposal Interlock

Never mangle limb or utensil again.
  [vote for,

A ring-shaped "sensor" of some kind around the drain would be able to tell if anything solid was sticking out of the drain and disable the garbage disposal until the obstruction was removed. It would also be able to tell that a piece of metal had passed through the drain and not been removed, similarly disabling the disposal.
centauri, Jan 17 2001

garbage disposal accident http://www.mit.edu/...at-garbage-disposal
OK, this is totally irrelevant, but I thought it was funny. [egnor, Jan 17 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

HydroMaid Garbage Disposal http://www.hydromaid.com/media3.html
Uses "five stainless steel blades, driven by a water-powered piston" which enable it to chew up "chicken bones, nutshells, cornhusks, avocado pits, even pop-top tabs". If I had one of these, I'd definitely want an interlock. [egnor, Jan 17 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Disposer Care http://www.applianc...lndisposercare.html
Hands Free Cleaning [blahginger, Jan 17 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       There are frequently solid things sticking out of the drain when I run the garbage disposal. Are you saying I'm supposed to cut up that old celery into small pieces first, or what? What about when the drain is full of mush and water's backing up into the sink?   

       A metal detector makes sense, though, if it could sense that there was metal near the disposal without being set off by the metal the disposal is made of.
egnor, Jan 17 2001

       Knives and forks (I almost stabbed my hand on a knife sticking blade up in the drain) and hands and wrists.   

       The device should not key off of liquid or semi-liquid material, so egnor's backed up sink could still run the disposal. As far as needing to destroy a piece of trash taller than the depth of the disposal, you could always break it in half first.   

       Actually, I was thinking there would have to be an override switch of some kind, but I hate providing a way to disable safety devices.   

       I'd also like to add a red light that comes on (or maybe goes of - what if the bulb is dead) when the disposal is locked.
centauri, Jan 17 2001

       It could be a two part safety mechanism... to solve the knife and fork problem, a metal detector could be used. To solve the hands and wrists issue, the disposal could be made so that both hands are needed to turn it on (a push-button located on the left and right sides of the sink, with both buttons needing to be pressed at the same time before the disposal will turn on). Otherwise, I think you would have too many false locks with plain old food blocking the sensors.
PotatoStew, Jan 17 2001

       PotatoStew: I thought about that, but I worried that someone else could still activate the disposal if another had a hand in the drain. I didn't consider having two buttons spaced out. This could also keep little kids from using it.   

       I wish I could vote on annotation.
centauri, Jan 17 2001

       You can vote on annotation by deleting annotations you don't like.   

       I frequently use one hand to push stuff into the disposal while it's running. I'm sure this is the dishwashing equivalent of running with scissors, but it seems doubtful that I'll somehow slip. How often do garbage disposal accidents happen? What happens if your hand does go down there? If this was very common, you'd think we'd see all sorts of public safety advertisements and mandatory interlock devices and whatnot.
egnor, Jan 17 2001

       Plastic flatware... I would think there might be a shrapnel hazard with that. Could be fun, with safety goggles.
PotatoStew, Jan 17 2001

       PotatoStew must have a better system than I have - the "on" button is so far from the sink that unless you have extreeeeeeeeemly long arms, there is no way to activate the disposal while simultaneously stuffing celery stalks or teaspoons down the trap.   

       OBTW - never put celery, onion skin or potato skins down your disposal - ultimately you'll have a royal mess.
chili2k, Jan 17 2001

       What kind of mess? I put onion and potato skins down mine all the time.   

       Wish there was an easy way to clean it, though, mine gets really funky sometimes...
StarChaser, Jan 18 2001

       Mine, too, seems to eat up celery, onion skins and potato with no problem. Artichoke leaves gave it indigestion, though; I had to clean out the trap myself...
egnor, Jan 19 2001

       StarChaser: for cleaning there are these really cool pouches of soap that you drop into the disposal. Run water and turn on the disposal and this blue foam starts coming out...eventually the tide goes down and you have a clean disposal (see link) NOTE: I also found several homemade recipies with a simple search.
blahginger, Jan 19 2001

       What happened to dumping your food in the trash?   

       centauri's idea still holds, but egnor's killing me with all this "one hand to push stuff into the disposal while it's running" bizness. I thought garbage disposals where for small scraps of food...sounds like you guys are confusing a garbage disposal with your Cuisinart.
iuvare, Jan 20 2001

       If you dump garbage into your trash, it stinks. If you put it in your garbage disposal, it doesn't. <Well, usually. I drizzle some bleach into it occasionally and that helps...>   

       Thanks for the link, blahginger...
StarChaser, Jan 20 2001

       I love all these "hands in there" and "I use my garbage disposal as full celery stalk food processor" comments. Maybe simply incorporating some sort of light to help people whose hands are in there when they are unclogging it when an entire bunch of rubberbanded celery gets clogged up. You could just put the light switch right next to the power switch that's already there. :) Garbage disposals make for good TV as in the Heroes epsisode.... but I've not heard of someone injured by a regular garbage disposal.   

       All jokes aside... as I understand it, those little dull spinning things in there are not the blades. they throw loose things outwards to the blades in the rim which are not reachable even if you tried. I bet any injuries sustained by those little centrifugal spinners would not require medical treatment.   

       Being that it makes for good TV (everyone has that fear of hands and disposals and that switch) It could be a good mythbusters side experiment topic for an episode. Stick Buster's arm down there and turn it on. Then the discovery channel pays for the research whether or not an interlock is necessary.
essen, Nov 28 2010


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