This week’s selection is the Overboard Spice Rack by electrical engineer and Reddit contributor FuegoMonster.
This is an incomplete project, but so interesting it is still worthy of being Fabbaloo’s Design of the Week. What is it? FuegoMonster explains:
“My wife asked me to make her a spice rack. I may have gone a little overboard.”
It’s a prototype of a mechanism to solve one of the world’s most pernicious problems: finding that particular spice bottle.
Yes, everyone with a kitchen has this problem sooner or later. Need the garlic powder? Sure, just take out EVERY SINGLE SPICE BOTTLE out of the cupboard to find the elusive garlic powder. Then put it all back. Of course, when you do so, the spices are all mixed up again, preventing you from remembering the location of anything.
Finally, someone is on the ball trying to solve this horrifying first world problem.
The solution is a mechanism to smoothly rotate a sequence of spice bottles along a path where they can be visually inspected. The bottles don’t fall off because the lip of the rack is high enough to prevent tip-overs. This concept should make it vastly simpler to find that garlic powder, don’t you agree?
FuegoMonster, an electrical engineer by trade, used Autodesk Fusion 360 to develop this complex mechanism. As of the latest update, they are on version 24, with more to come.
The rack is pretty big once assembled, being a reported 650 x 170 mm, and is apparently able to hold 60 spice bottles. This means it must have a reasonably large cupboard or counter space to occupy. It also takes quite a while to print and assemble all the required parts.
The discussion on Reddit offered plenty of ideas to enhance this design, and some of them are pretty interesting. While the most frequently suggested modification is to motorize the rack, here are some others:
- Put NFC chips on the bottles to automatically id them
- Alexa integration “Alexa: get me the garlic powder”
- Spin it continuously to eliminate the need for any controls
- Touchscreen control panel
- Spice inventory management
- LED lighting
- Digitized music
Sure, these crazy ideas are all overkill, but then again, so is the entire project. The goal here is not to make a fancy spice rack, but to have fun doing a project, which is why many people operate 3D printers.
The project is still underway, but FuegoMonster intends on posting the files to a public 3D model repository, likely Printables. This will be done only after they are satisfied with the design, which requires very good tolerances to work properly.
Is the effort worth it on this project? The jury is out, but Reddit contributor Pros3rz suggested:
“Between the programming and the cost of the materials might be easier to just train a monkey and leave it in the cabinet with the spices lol.”