Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Tine Machine

returns mangled tines to proper place.
  [vote for,

Most people who have spent significant time in industrial food handling situations will have noticed that metal forks have a nasty habit of getting their tines out of whack.

Some customers appear to get a sick pleasure out of using the lowly fork for origami, or knot-tying experiments. Apathetic co-workers jam them in electrical sockets to put themselves out of their misery, garbage disposals apparently contain magical fork-specific magnets, and careless individuals get them stuck on all manner of things other than the food.

Some restaurants unscrupulously continue re-using these mangled metal mandibles, at extreme risk to the diner's oral safety. Others waste vital employee hours tending to the twisted tines. A few waste vital money replacing the ruined... runcipals... OK, that doesn't work, but you get my point.

Fear not, the Fork Fixer is here!

Grab a handful of the deformed forks, and feed them handle first into the fork fixer. Our patented tine-therapy fork re-forming mill will quickly, and efficiently return the tines to a proper spacing one from the other, and mold the finished product back into an aesthetically pleasing, curve which has been scientifically calculated for optimal food-harvesting purposes.

ye_river_xiv, Feb 08 2008

I have a drawer full of forks just like this http://clipmarks.co...-9999-0E477B5E1C2C/
Glad someone's finally gonna straighten me out. [Amos Kito, Feb 08 2008]

Uri Geller paper_2c_20scissors...20fillet_20steak_2e
[hippo, Feb 08 2008]


       Well it's about tine!   

       Will this thing ten a door?
normzone, Feb 08 2008

       Amos, enjyou your virtual bun for the link. They may look like art to you, but that's not too far from what forks generally look like when they are finally returned to the restaurant dishwasher.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 08 2008

       Uri Geller could do with one of these.
skinflaps, Feb 08 2008

       + very practical...
xandram, Feb 08 2008

       The machine should hone the tines to a needle-sharp point as well.
phoenix, Feb 08 2008

       I think it'll be harder to engineer than you imagine. If you have one tine out of line, and if your machine just bends it until it is back in line, then it will spring back by a small amount. The problem is the Hookeian limit of the material.   

       So, you need to slightly over-bend the tine so it springs back to the right position. An alternative would be to bend **all** the tines to the same position (ie all over-straight or under- straight), then bend all the tines together back into position and a little the other way. Then, they will all spring back by the same amount and remain perfectly in line.   

       Of course, if you do this more than a few times, you'll fatigue the metal and it will all go terribly wrong.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2008

       After all, you wouldn't want it to break up in mid-air...
wagster, Feb 08 2008

       The Tine Machine - little-known early work by H.G. Wells.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2008

       Buns aside, you're pushing for a m-f-d magic here unless you can explain how the thing finds the tine (Oh, if I could only find the tine) that is out of shape in the first place. Bear in mind that I do not expect you to fix the [mosquito]'s forks (in the link), just the less artistically bent ones.
globaltourniquet, Feb 08 2008

       //I think it'll be harder to engineer than you imagine.// nonsense! The device merely needs to consist of a furnace and a suitable set of moulds. Old cutlery in, new cutlery out.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2008

       Assuming for a moment that the forks are all created equal (admittedly, they are not) The tine machine would take the forks handle first, as the handle is more or less correct for all. Sets of rollers attached to hydraulics would move the handle down into the machine.   

       When the tool-end of the fork hits the machine, the hydraulics would push the rollers away, and another pair of rollers with grooves in it would close down onto the fork. The tines would slide into the grooves near the base of the fork where most bending would not be sufficient to alter the working of the machine. This grooved pair of rollers would then do the major work of straightening the tines. Additional grooved rollers of varying sizes might be needed to handle different sized forks, or to provide additionl touch-up work to the points.   

       I just didn't want to ruin good ad-press with complicated explanations.   

       Name has been edited in honor of Unabubba and MaxwellBuchanan's years of service.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 09 2008


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