Introduction: Fix a Frozen Concoction Machine

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

The photo shows a Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Machine, the Key West model*. It makes shaved ice drinks, like margaritas or daquiris. This one belongs jointly to my daughters, but it quit working a couple of years ago. Could dad fix it? This Instructable shows what I found and how I fixed it.


  • A really good adhesive for auto body (or perhaps JB Weld)


  • Screwdrivers (Phillips, flat, and an extra flat screwdriver that can be remade)
  • Dremel tool, grinding stone, and cutting wheel
  • Snap ring pliers
  • Hammer

* These machines are made by Sunbeam.

Step 1: What Happened

The machine has two motors. One is in the upper part of the machine and is for shaving ice. The other is in the base of the machine and drives the blender.

To use the machine, pour drink mix and liquor into the blender. Put ice cubes into the clear basket at the top of the machine. Set the controls for the automatic feature and engage the momentary contact toggle switch. The machine shaves ice, which falls into the blender to join the mix and the liquor. Then the blender starts and the ice shaving stops in a few seconds. When the blender stops automatically, you have a delicious frozen drink.

One daughter said the machine no longer works. She believed she had burned out the blender motor from overuse in a short period of time. That piece of misinformation led me into more work than necessary digging down into the machine to get to the blender motor and test it.

The first photo shows the blender drive. It is a steel shaft with two grooves for snap rings. It has a plastic wheel pressed onto it. The press fit began to slip and the plastic wheel slipped on the steel shaft. Later I discovered the motor worked fine and had not burned out. When I grasped the plastic wheel as shown in the second photo, it was loose. It moved up and down a millimeter or two. It also turned freely without any drag from the motor.

Step 2: More Detail on the Problem

I did not think I would do an Instructable on this job, but realized the part that would be needed to fix this machine's problem is not available in the list of parts one can order for this machine, and the machine is rather expensive to replace. Nothing I can find on the Internet discusses how to fix the problem this machine had. So, I am using sketches done by hand to take the place of photos that were not made.

The first graphic shows a cutaway of the steel shaft with its two grooves for the snap rings, the knurled brass fitting at its top end, and a cutaway of the gray plastic drive wheel. The second graphic shows what I found when I removed the plastic drive wheel. When the knurled brass fitting began to slip inside the fitting on the plastic drive wheel, it generated enough heat to melt and reshape the plastic inside.

The first step was to remove the gray plastic wheel and then to remove the melted plastic from it. I began with a twist drill, but moved to a grinding stone for a Dremel tool. The grinding stone was almost exactly the same diameter as the knurled brass fitting and had a squared end. The dotted lines in the second graphic show the original profile that needed to be restored before the knurled brass fitting could go far enough into the recess for the parts of the machine to fit and work properly.

Step 3: The Easy, But Unlikely Way

It would have been great if I had known exactly how the machine is built before I took it apart. You have that advantage because of my photos and sketches. Ideally, a person might be able to lift the gray plastic drive wheel from the blender without removing any screws. But, it would be difficult to glue it back in place without excess glue sticking moving parts so they do not move again.

The first graphic shows the drive train just above the bottom cover. Remove the snap ring on the cogged pulley in the foreground. There should be no need to remove the metal plate to which the motor is mounted. (The motor is above the plate and not visible until the plate is removed. The motor comes out with the plate. If you do remove the motor and its plate, be certain to keep the wires away from moving parts, like the fan, during assembly.) The second graphic shows the two snap rings used. The one on the left holds the nylon cog wheel on the blender drive shaft. The nylon wheel may need some tugging to remove it from the steel shaft.

After removing the nylon cog wheel, there is a flat washer on the shaft. Below the washer (with the machine inverted) is a snap ring like the one on the right in the second graphic. Remove it. The shaft fits very snugly. I had to tap it out with a hammer.

My son-in-law does auto body work. He suggested using 3M Panel Bonding Adhesive. It can be used in place of bolts to hold fenders onto automobiles. It is expensive. The A and the B tubes together cost almost $40 US. It needs 24 hours to set up properly. See the third graphic. We used a drill press to hold everything in alignment. The steel shaft was held by the chuck. We carefully cranked the table up until the knurled brass fitting bottomed out in the gray plastic drive wheel. We did wipe away excess glue because there is no extra room in the assembly of the machine.

Step 4: Disassembly of the Machine

There are a couple of glitches in disassembling the machine.

The first photo shows the bottom of the machine. Remove the screws. Two screws are not visible. See the second photo. Lift the rubber strips at the rear of the machine and find a screw under each one. Some screws are designed to prevent repair by the home handyman. See the third photo. I used a cutting wheel in a Dremel tool to cut away part of a screwdriver blade so it will fit over the special screw. Make some notes on which screws go in which holes.

Step 5: Reassemble and Use

Assembly was the reverse of taking the machine apart. The fit on the shaft is so tight in its bearings that I did need to tap it back into place. I was concerned that tapping might crack the hardened adhesive, even though I placed a soft wood block between the hammer and the plastic. But, the machine seems to work perfectly, so far.

You can get a manual for these machines here. The same site also has some parts, but they are only things like blender jars and ring fittings, blender cutters, and blender gaskets. This drive shaft and drive wheel is probably the most vulnerable part of the Frozen Concoction Machine, but I cannot find it available anywhere on the Internet.

Much to my satisfaction, the machine worked perfectly after using the super auto body adhesive on the blender drive shaft. JB Weld might have worked, too, and would have been much less expensive for anyone who has to buy the 3M auto body adhesive. (My son-in-law gave me what I needed.)