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"Magic" "Instant" Icemaker

Chillingly deceptive.
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Target market: people without built-in fridge icemakers but with small children or forgetful housemates. Or with a fondness for nifty gadgets.

This device fits in a standard freezer, being about the size of a breadbox. It has an enticing little dish at the top, and an opening at the bottom. To use it, pour water into the enticing little dish. There are some mysterious clanks, and a mass of ice cubes (about as much as the mass of water you poured in) shortly appears in the slot at the bottom. Tah-daah! Instant ice!

Of course, that's all an illusion. What's really happening is this: As your pour the water in, it's deposited into one or more of a set of small ice-cube trays mounted , freely swinging, on rotating frames. (How many depends on how much water.) The weight of the water forces the frame to rotate. The rotation sends a tray on the other side of the frame past a device that tips it over, dumping the ice into a collector, which deposits it in the ice-storage tray. The ice-storage tray is mounted on springs. When it has more than a certain weight of ice in it, it releases ice into the slot at the bottom of the ice-maker until it goes below that weight.

All mechanical, and, this is the clever bit, it will only dispense as much ice as it has water put in. Therefore, it's impossible (or at least, rather more difficult) to forget to fill the ice-cube tray, leaving whatever unlucky soul needs ice next staring forlornly at a very cold piece of plastic.

If ice is used up faster than it can freeze more, it simply dispenses cold water, probably directly onto the feet of whoever tries it (if installed in a freezer-on-top fridge). Thus, Greed is discouraged, and the Spirit of Sharing will prevail.

gisho, Aug 06 2010

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       // it will only dispense as much ice as it has water put in //   

       By mass, or by volume ?   

       // tips it over, dumping the ice into a collector //   

       How do you stop the ice sticking in the trays ? How do you gain enough mechanical energy to bash the damn things out ? Have you had much expreience of trying to remove ice from trays ? We think not.   

       // Greed is discouraged, and the Spirit of Sharing will prevail. //   

       Well, forget marketing it in most of the planet then ...
8th of 7, Aug 06 2010
  

       // By mass, or by volume ? //   

       By mass. Water expands when freezing, so dispensing by volume would eventually jam the device (not to mention be much harder to determine with springs).   

       //How do you stop the ice sticking in the trays ? How do you gain enough mechanical energy to bash the damn things out ? Have you had much expreience of trying to remove ice from trays ? We think not.//   

       Existing automatic icemakers somehow manage to dump ice into a hopper without having to bash the damn things out. We can use whatever their trick is. (I suspect it invovles Teflon. The shape of the trays probably aslo helps.) I have had far too much experience removing ice from trays. This is why I own an automatic icemaker. But then, I don't live in an apartment.
gisho, Aug 06 2010
  
      
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