Spice Grinder Hack




This was an idea I came up with one night while making dinner. Well, part 2 of an idea. The first one was easy. Just pop the top off after you have used up/emptied out all the spices (in this case rainbow peppercorns) and add your own mix of spices. - later found here. My wife and I like oregano, rosemary, dried garlic, and basil. 

Obviously someone else thought of an electric grinder and they can sell for $10-$300 (I did a Google search) 
This is a 10 minute hack costing less than the $10 the cheapest ones sell for. (assuming you already have a drill)
I live in an apartment so I don't have a garage, tool shed, or even a work area. So as you may be able to tell from the pictures, I did this on the kitchen floor. That is how easy this is.
Plus - it's fun to use power tools to cook with!

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Step 1: What You Will Need


. A grinder of some kind. I got mine from W-M grocery. You can use any brand as long as the size works with the base
2. A base to attach screw. Again taken from a empty spice container. As long as the sizes are close
3. Glue. I used JB weld. You could also use Hot glue but I chose not to because most of my spices are on the back of the stove (heat source)
3A. A mixing stick for the JB weld.
3B. Something to mix the JB weld on (not pictured)
4. A small screw. Not sure where this came from, but it would be best to use a flat screw head instead of rounded. (it makes the grinder wobble)
5. Toothpicks (optional, not pictured)
Extra battery powered screwdriver or drill

Step 2: Prep the Base

Take the lid off the empty spice container, or whatever you want to use as the base.
Use the sandpaper to rough up the inside of the base and the outside of the grinder so the glue will bond better.
If it isn't already marked, find the center of it. In my case it's the little spot that they inject the plastic into the mold in manufacturing.
Screw the screw into the center. Try to make sure you don't screw it in at an angle. Otherwise it won't work very well later on.
At this point if you wanted to and had the extra tools, you could measure and cut/grind down the screw so it's more flush with the bottom, but I didn't for two reasons.
   1. When adding the JB weld, it will bond the screw to the plastic so it won't strip out the plastic.
   2. I don't have the extra tools.
I added some broken toothpicks to for some filler so when gluing, it didn't wobble and permanently set in the wrong angle.

Step 3: Glue Base to Grinder

My hands were a little busy mixing the JB weld and getting everything where it needed to be before the glue set, so I didn't get any pictures at this point. Sorry!
But you get the idea. I made sure I added a big glob of glue around where the screw pops into the inside of the lid so the screw didn't start stripping out the plastic. Added some around the edge and bottom (making sure the toothpicks were covered well to make a good bond) Try to get it as centered as possible so it's not all wobbly when you use the drill.
Set it somewhere to dry/harden/cool down where it wont be disturbed (top of the fridge worked for me)

Step 4: Use the Drill

A short video showing how it works:


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    14 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Your title need to be a little more descriptive. I thought this was a hack to re-use a "disposable" spice grinder.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    If you read the first section there is a link on how to reuse this kind of "disposable" spice grinders.
    Sorry about that! What do you think would be a better name for it? This was my first instructable.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Maybe "Powering a disposable spice grinder" would be a bit more descriptive. IMO, if you're a little more capable in the wood-working area, maybe make an insert for the plastic lid for the screw to bite into and to also prevent it from accidently breaking the spice bottle.


    3 years ago

    If any of you live near a kroger store they have the store brand and it has a screw off top


    7 years ago on Introduction

    A very cute idea, but I was hoping for directions
    on how to re-use the 'non- reusable' grinders-
    the ones you can't take apart.
    When they build stuff like that it is so annoying.

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I cut out the some of the white plastic center of the throwaway grinder, avoiding getting too close to the edge where the grinding teeth are. The hole is maybe a half-inch across; just big enough to refill. I had to saw away quite a bit using an old serrated steak knife. I suppose a drill might work if you have a big enough bit. I didn't at the time.

    I used one of those foam squishable earplugs as a plug for the hole. It squished down to fit, then expands. Yes it was a clean, new one. A piece of cork would probably work.

    Ive refilled it maybe 5 or six times now. It still grinds kind of ok, but might only last for a couple more fillings. Considering they probably weren't designed to be used over and over, it's held up pretty good.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Give the 'non-refillable' spice grinder to someone strong. it will come apart with just bear hands. I did it yesterday to add more black peppercorns. I haven't had one break on me(done 4 now), how ever do this at you own risk.

    they'd have to be rally really dry to grind with this, since the grinding mechanism is most likely plastic. if the legal herbs were fresh or moist, it might just smush them......


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Whoa! This is so cool. I would never have thought of this- we're going to give this a go.