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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Human Powered Gadgets

I have heard about these before, now I want one, it's called a Vortex Blender. This is a food blender that is human powered. It appears to be sturdy, it's a 2 speed affair. I understand that it's a bit noisy on high speed. You clamp it to a table or other sturdy surface, fill it, cover it and crank away. This was originally created for tailgaters and campers, while I do not fall into either category, I know I would put it to good use. Does anyone reading this have one or have used one? If so, what do you think of it?

I have a wimpy hand crank food chopper/mixer (not a slap one), it looks like a food processor, has three blades in it, it does ok on soft foods, but it would never work for real food, or ice... 

The other thing I have thought about was getting an old electric food blender in a second hand shop, and trying to convert it to human power blender,  maybe with a flywheel and some gears... I did a quick Google search but didn't find much for DIY hand cranked blender, I got mostly articles about the Vortex Blender. Surely someone has done this, I'll keep looking, if I find anything, I'll post another message about it.

I think it would be great to have a table set up with interchangeable, hand cranked kitchen goodies... yup, I dream big and sometimes complex...  I'll toss the idea to MMB, if anyone can do it, he can.

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  1. I don't have one of those, but it has been on my list for a few years. Can't afford it - the postage would also double the cost to the UK. Anyway, crank powered kitchen gadgets has been my thing for as long as I've been off-grid (about 14 years). I have even nicknamed my house "house of cranks". I even converted a Champion juicer to crank drive, which didn't work - needs too much speed. There are juicers, pulpers, grain mills, choppers, a muesli grain squisher, a generator (pedal crank) and various tools. But, I am still looking for the ultimate chopper/pulper. I think it will have to be a home build, or get it manufactured, when I can afford it. And when I have the time and space, I plan on making the ultimate pedal driver for interchangable gadgets ;-)

    I know what you mean by the wimpy type you have - I have one of those. Useless.

    I was lucky to find a sweet little old blender with Wattage in my inverter range, which works really well. Until it burns out, I will shelve the Vortex idea some more.

    There is another hand chopper, which looks promising, though I doubt it would be as efficient as a blender. This gadget is operated with a pull string like some of the salad spinners. It may be available in the US. It is a little pricey too, but does look better than the crank chopper. This is a
    UK link just to show the gadget.

  2. Not knowing what you use your blender for perhaps a ricer (like a very large garlic press) or a food mill (like a pot with holes in the bottom that you turn a blade over) would work. Obviously they are not as fast nor produce as fine a product as an electric blender, but they will work.

    The food mill my mother had had 3 interchangable bottoms - coarse, medium and fine. You can still find these new at stores that sell to chefs or if you're lucky at 2nd hand shops. Sometimes, church rummage sales have these as older parishioners clean house.

  3. You'll have to keep us posted if and when you find something that works, OK?

  4. judyofthewoodsthose, thanks for the link, too far away to order though, also looks too similar to the cheapie chopper I have now, doesn't look very robust. I hope to someday call my place the house of cranks too. :)
    Bellen, I have one of those ricers, looks like a giant garlic press, it works good for cooked food, I want to be able to do more than just that, I love cooking and every (good) gadget I can have, the better. I have had a food mill in the past and really didn't like it much, didn't do enough for me vs the amount of cleanup they require, all those holes...
    HermitJim, oh yeah, you know I will. :) Just gotta toss it across MMB, give him a challenge and he goes to work. :)


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