Introduction: Nut Chopper Insert

Materials:
-  calipers
-  scrap paper
-  vector art software
-  USB stick
-  laser cutting machine (I made mine at the TechShop: www.techshop.ws, using their laser cutter)
-  scrap wood, 3/8” or thinner
-  belt sander

I recently decided that I was tired of the nut “powder” that my food processor made when I tried to chop nuts, so I picked up a used nut chopper (like the kind your grandmother used to use) at the flea market.  OK, so perhaps your grandmother’s nut chopper didn’t have a plastic handle and whatnot, but it *did* have a wooden chopping “block” that lived in the bottom of the jar, which (probably thankfully) my used one didn’t have.  No problem.  Nothing that a little laser cutting couldn’t fix, anyway….

1.  The first thing I needed to know was what size block would fit through the mouth of the jar.  I could have turned the jar upside down and traced the diameter of the jar’s mouth onto a piece of paper, but then I would have had to measure the thickness of the glass (tricky with threads on the outside), do some math and potentially shave/sand down the diameter for the errors inherent in this process.  Instead, with the vector art software and some scrap paper, it was easy enough just to cut a bunch of different sized circles to see which one fit best:
     -  I measured the inside mouth diameter with calipers to get close, and then drew a few circles of +/- 1/16” in multiple increments around that size (in Corel, you can do this easily with the Contour tool).
     -  I cut all these circles on the laser, and fit them through the jar mouth to find the biggest one that would fit without bending.
     -  I then winnowed down my vector art to be the appropriate size circle for the block.
2.  Picking some relatively thin (~3/8”) wood out of the scrap bin in the wood shop, I cut out my circle based on the size determined above.  I used the laser settings for 3/8” wood, and ran the pass a couple of times to be sure that the edges were cleanly cut all the way through.
3.  Taking the piece to the belt sander, I finished both top and bottom surfaces so they were clean and flat.
4.  Popped the “block” into the jar, and, voila… ready to chop some nuts!

Comments

author
CaseyCase made it! (author)2012-10-16

"You're gonna love my nuts"

(Couldn't resist quoting from the Slapchop infomercial.)

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