Raising a likely somewhat contentious topic, iFixit and Public Knowledge have challenged the manufacturer behind McDonald’s ice cream machines to make them easy to diagnose and repair. This is a subject that’s probably familiar to anyone who is vaguely familiar with US news and the importance of ice cream at McDonald’s locations to the point that a live tracker was set up so that furtive customers can catch a glimpse at said tracker before finding themselves staring in dismay at an ‘Out of Order’ sign on one of these Taylor ice cream machines.
The story is more complex than just a machine being “broken”, however. The maintenance contracts are lucrative, the instruction manual is long, and the error codes are cryptic. When you add to that the complexity of cleaning and maintaining the machines, it’s tempting to just claim the machine is out of order. These Taylor machines (the C602 and the C709 from the iFixit video) are a bit more complex than your usual ice cream maker in that they also have a pasteurization element that’s supposed to keep already poured mix safe to use the next day.
It’s summer. It’s hot. After [Alex Shure] tried his hand at making his own ice cream, he knew he had to take it a step farther. Introducing icenBerg. He’s not just in the ice cream business. He’s building an empire.
Using various odds and ends from the workshop, an old mini fridge donated to him by friends, and a lathe, [Alex] built the first iteration of icenBerg. It features a fancy machined paddle inside the insulated housing, which can be driven by a power drill — or at least that was the plan…
The salvaged compressor system from the mini fridge provides the cooling for the machine. In his first attempt, he found a power drill wasn’t quite strong enough — so he ended up chucking the entire thing into his lathe for unbeatable ice cream mixing. The flavor of choice was apple banana coconut sorbet with chocolate oak cookie chunks and roasted soybeans (say that 10 times fast!).
The machine is far from complete, but as a proof of concept deliciousness it has spurred him to make it even better. He plans on making it a standalone unit using a windshield wiper motor, a PWM circuit with a microcontroller, and even hopes to correlate motor current to ice cream consistency.