The Human Powered Frozen Beverage Machine will put your event over the top!  We are not your typical snow cone rental, this is fun and interactive.

The wheel is suitable for indoor or outdoor events and perfect for anything from a small intimate get together to a larger corporate affair.

Private parties, birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs, corporate events, fundraisers, festivals . . . you name it and we can be there!

Make your next event something to be remembered! We are operating in full compliance of all COVID-19 regulations and precautions and look forward to making your event special! 

As seen on Discovery Channel, Good Day Orlando, Fox News, National Public Radio, and Burning Man 2018

 

A few words from the man behind the machine . . .

The Process

I have always enjoyed creating Rube Goldberg style machines. Most of my ideas come to me gradually, piece by piece with inspiration drawn from a variety of sources. When I am trying to create something awesome, I believe that it should look good, sound good, and taste good. I also believe, that whatever I dream up, must get kids and adults interested by incorporating Science, Engineering, and Math in a way that is practical and engaging. Sometimes I have a desired outcome and work backwards by designing a machine that will make that product. Other times, I decide to start building something without yet knowing what the final product will be. This is the process that led to the Human Powered Frozen Beverage Machine.

The Journey

Failure and Insult
A few years ago, my curiosity led me to start experimenting with human powered devices. My first source of human generated power was a treadle powered wheel; the type found on older sewing machines, but, much bigger. I built the treadle’s heavy fly wheel crudely out of wood. It was driven via foot power, and was so powerful, that the garage wall that I had it mounted to was shaking when the machine was under full power. I was amused at how much power it could generate and I began to imagine how I could use my new found power to look good, sound good, and taste good. While my thoughts wondered, someone else took control of the treadle wheel, but with a less then perfect outcome. As it turned out, not everyone had the rhythm needed to keep the flywheel rotating. The wheel eventually slowed to a stop. Bummer. It failed.

At that moment of perceived failure, one of the young on lookers said “Goes to show you, some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time”. After laughing along with the thinly veiled insult, reality struck. He was right. Some people may not have the rhythmic skill set needed to make the flywheel soar, but after listening closely, I determined that most people would have the ability to do one or the other. So with that idea fresh in my mind, I built a 10′ tall hamster wheel so that the task would be simplified. I made it so that they just needed to walk no rhythm needed.

Inspiration Strikes
Weeks went by as I tinkered with the wheel. I spent endless hours trying to get it running smoothly and effortlessly. During this tuning process, I started to look for ways to incorporate my other requirements. Now that I had a wheel that looked good, it had to sound good and taste good too. I needed some inspiration.

Inspiration often strikes when you least expect it. My inspiration came in the form of my neighbor, who often laughs at my attempts at creative problem solving. After a bunch of small talk, he asked me if I was ever going to do anything with the hamster wheel other then just walk in circles. I told him that I might figure it out some day, but the options were astronomical, and I was narrowing down the possibilities. He then mentioned that he was hosting a Cinco de Mayo party at his house, and jokingly asked if the wheel could make a Margarita. Bamm! That was it. I had three weeks to make it happen.

The Original Wheel. (version 1.0)

Sweet Success
The machine was a hit. There were some minor hiccups but overall it worked well. I was happy. The machine did its job and looked good and sounded good doing it. It wasn’t until some of the guests asked me about how I could bring the wheel to their next backyard get togethers that I began to realize the machine’s potential.

The current version of the Human Powered Frozen Beverage Machine has evolved over the course of several years. I was constantly tinkering with the machine looking for ways to make the machine look better, sound better, run more smoothly, etc. While the premise, making snow cones by walking in a giant wheel, has remained constant, there have been some pretty spectacular improvements to the machine’s components. These major and minor changes were often a result of trial and error. You can learn a lot from unexpected results if you stick with it.

The moral of this story is: If someone laughs at your idea, there just might be something interesting there worth exploring.


Joe Donoughe

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