Introduction: Pepper Grinder Gun

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I'm from the city that started the whole 100-mile diet craze. I already do my part eating locally, but I can't survive on root vegetables and berries alone. I need the thrill of the hunt - I need more!

As a city dweller my options to hunt for meat are limited to the indigenous fauna, in my neighbourhood it's mainly racoon and seagulls - both feed on garbage and probably taste terrible. What's an urbanite with no gun license going to do if he wants to be sustainable while striking a balance between the 100-Mile Diet and my love of shooting what I eat?
You make a gun, a gun that shoots pepper, and you blast away every sorry steak that crosses your dinner plate.

Behold, the pepper grinder gun!

This toy has an electric pepper grinder at the end of the barrel, fashioned to look like a silencer. The gun trigger operates the pepper grinder when pulled, and there's a switch near where the safety switch would be that toggles the operation of the light, sounds, and vibration of the toy gun.

Ready to dispense delicious peppery justice all over your food? Let's make!

  • electric pepper grinder
  • electric toy gun (mine was $3)
  • new SPDT switch
  • multi-core thin gauge wire
  • heat-shrink tubing
  • paperclip
  • plastic funnel
  • wood dowel (I used a wooden spoon)
  • black construction paper
  • rotary tool
  • soldering iron
  • wire snips
  • needle-nose pliers
  • hot glue gun
  • sharp hobby knife
  • sandpaper
  • straight egde

Check out the first prototype pepper grinder gun.

Obviously, this pepper grinder is a novelty and should not be taken outside the home.

Step 1: Dismantle

This electric pepper grinder was bought from Deal Extreme. The top half of the outer housing easily unscrews to allow for battery replacement. Once the top housing is removed, the battery housing and grinder motor are exposed. The lower pepper hopper can also be unscrewed.

The battery holder is wired to the grinder motor, and is connected by two small clips. Pressing these clips allows the grinder motor and batter housing to be separated. Using a soldering iron, the leads from the grinder motor were desoldered.
The battery housing was flipped over, there are two copper leads that form the switch of the original pepper grinder. Since we are going to be using a different switch type in another location, these leads can be connected by soldering them together.

The battery pack should now just be a bank of 4 AA batteries with 2 leads and no switch. We'll set the pepper grinder aside for now, and come back when we've modified the toy gun.

Step 2: Toy Projectile Analysis

I managed to find this toy gun at the Dollar Store. When the trigger of this toy gunis pulled, the gun lights up and plays a very satisfying *pew pew pew* sound. Also, it vibrates. This toy was held together with about 15 small screws, after which the gun bisects revealing minimal electronics. A simple spring on the trigger acts as a switch, and the toy's battery is snugly fit into the handle.

The idea is to use the existing toy electronics and combine it with an electric pepper grinder. Here's the finished circuit

Step 3: Add "safety"

I wanted my pepper grinder gun to operate both with and without the awesome sound and light effects from the toy gun. I decided to add a "safety" switch to allow me to easily switch between modes. My toy gun was modeled after the MP5, and like most guns the safety is located near the thumb when holding the gun. The safety catch is static and inoperable in this toy (comically, it is permantly in the "S" position).

I added my "safety" switch on the toy's safety catch. I cut one of the leads from the toy gun battery pack and soldered 6" wire leads to each severed  Each new lead was attched to a SPDT / SPST switch. Heat-shrink tubing was used to seal every connection.

With a sharp hobby knife and rotary tool a small opening was made under the toy gun's safety switch. The switch was placed in this opening and hot glue was used to hold it in place.

Step 4: Second Contact

Because I wanted to keep the same trigger to operate both the toy and the pepper grinder, I decided to modify the existing trigger by adding a second spring lead on the other side of the trigger.  The original design of the toy was that when the trigger spring is depressed, it makes contact with a lead and completes the circuit. Using the existing trigger spring as a guide, I bent a new trigger spring out of a paperclip.

Where the spring lead makes contact when the trigger is pulled is a post with a wire coil around it. The coil was larger than it needed to be, so I trimmed it down to half size and made a new connection lead from the trimmings. A spacer was placed between the two coils, allowing each circuit to be closed at the same time without interfering with each other. The new coil was wired to the pepper grinder battery pack.

Step 5: Second Trigger Shelf

With two circuits completed each time the trigger is depressed, I augmented the spring shelf on the the trigger to have another shelf for the new spring on the other side. To do this I used some scrap black plastic cut from the inside of the toy gun super glued to the opposite side of the trigger.

After the glue has set, I used needle nosed pliers to shape the plastic shelf to mirror the existing spring shelf on the other side.

Step 6: Grinder Support

The pepper grinder I used wasn't heavy, but required support so that the toy could be wielded without the grinder end flying off. A wooden kitchen spoon was the perfect shape - a slender body that fit snugly into the existing barrel of the toy gun and a flanged end to allow for an opening to be made and the pepper grinder inserted, ensuring stability. I added a black funnel so there would be a gradual transition between the grinder housing and the barrel of the toy gun, and to cover the wooden spoon.

The funnel was slipped on to the wooden spoon until the wide spoon end was seated fully inside the funnel. The exposed wood handle was then measured against the depth of the toy gun barrel. Using an indeliable marker, marks were made where the spoon handle was to terminate inside the barrel housing, and where the wide spoon end met the inside surface of the funnel. A rotary tool was used to make two clean cuts.

Next, an opening was routed out on the wide end of the spoon to securely hold the grinder and a channel was carved down the length of the spoon handle to conceal the wires - a rotatory tool was used for both. Hot glue was then used to secure the opening in the wood handle to the motor of the pepper grinder. The wires were then pressed into the spoon channel.

The funnel was then slid back onto the grinder/spoon assembly and seated fully. A mark was made on the inside of the funnel where the grinder housing met the funnel, and then a rotary tool was used to trim the funnel to the right size. More hot glue was used to secure the funnel to the grinder/spoon assembly.

Lastly, the wires were fed through the toy barrel housing and the wood dowel was seated in the barrel opening and hot glued in place. Any rough edges on teh funnel were cleaned up with sandpaper after to give a smooth transition from grinder to funnel.

Step 7: Decoarative Muzzle Guard

To complete the look I decided to wrap my grinder silencer with a decorative muzzle. This wrap conceals the funnel to grinder transition and gives a neat muzzle opening where the pepper grinder lights up, a nod to muzzle flash of real firearms.

I bought an A4 (8.5" x 11") sheet of matte black construction paper and positioned the silencer/grinder along the top of the long side of the paper. I drew some guidelines with a pencil and a straight edge. I then used a quarter as a template and traced an offset pattern of circles along where the clear acrylic of the grinder hopper would be wrapped, this will allow th elight we moved inside the hopper to be shown through the muzzle guard. A sharp hobby knife was used to cut out the circles.

The muzzle wrap was then rolled around the grinder body, excess paper was trimmed and the wrap was glued to itself around the muzzle. It's important not to glue the paper to the grinder housing, as the muzzle guard will need to be removed to refill the clear acrylic peppercorn hopper.

Step 8: Gun Strap

To really complete the look a strap was added. I used a strap from an old luggage bag.

The strap clip was connected on the front sight opening, and at the heel of the toy.  My toy didn't have a place to clip the strap to on the heel, so I drilled a small opening in the a area clear of electronics and passed a bent paperclip through a few times to make a doubled ring.

Step 9: Fire Away!

Load up the spice hopper with your favourite whole spice and blast away!

This is actually the second build I made with this idea. The original plan was to hide the pepper grinding mechanism entirely inside the housing of a toy gun. The first attempt was bulky, and I fried the electronics is shortly after completing the build.

Check out the first prototype pepper grinder gun.

Have you made your own wacky kitchen gadget? I want to see it!

Happy making :)

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