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May 25, 2008

The Do Nothing Grinder

 Bullshit_grinder A Nothing Grinder, also known as a Do Nothing Grinder or a Bullshit grinder, is a toy produced by regional woodworkers in New England, and is often sold in gift shops.

The device is a classic example of adapting elliptical to linear motion along two axes. The base of the device is a square block of wood with two perpendicular routed grooves. Two shuttle pieces move back and forth in the grooves. The mitered grooves are made in such a way that the sliding shuttle parts are captive and cannot be removed. These shuttle pieces are attached by a pivot joint to the center and end of a lever. The unattached end of the lever has a handle which the operator turns in an elliptical motion. As the handle is turned, the shuttle parts slide past each other almost effortlessly, achieving absolutely no purpose other than entertaining the operator and tracing out a perfect elliptical path.

As a device other than a toy, the mechanism can in fact be used for something useful, such as drawing or routing ellipses, mainly in wood.

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May 25, 2008 in Science & Inventions | Permalink


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This article wasn't on par with prior articles.

Posted by: Russ at May 25, 2008 9:38:36 PM

Reminds me a little of myself, spinning around in a rut :-)

Posted by: TheNag at May 26, 2008 4:41:35 AM

Hypnotically beautiful.

I'd say the ability to draw ellipses is no small thing - I remember trying to do that by hand back in mechanical drawing classes in 1984 (shudder).

If I had my lego collection handy, I'd try to make a version of this - I'm pretty sure it's doable with my beloved bricks.....

Posted by: dermot at May 26, 2008 11:27:06 AM

My uncle had one of these years ago. All the kids loved it

Posted by: joe at Aug 6, 2008 10:00:28 AM

Anybody know where I can purchase one?

Posted by: Dave Oyen at Feb 2, 2009 12:46:38 PM

Any idea where to get one

Posted by: g blamble at Dec 31, 2009 4:38:50 PM