Auger 106 and dome 108 have complementary shapes, in the embodiment shown in FIG. These complementary shapes leave little or no clearance between auger 106 and dome 108 . In use, an operator can hold dome 108 and twist outer cap 102 relative thereto. Because dome is coupled to inner cap 104 while auger 106 is coupled to outer cap 102 , this twisting motion will cause two interactions.
First, the blades or posts of outer cap 102 and inner cap 104 interact in a grinding, cutting, or shearing fashion. Second, auger 106 rotates relative to dome 108 to propel ground material away from inner cap 104 and towards stopper 110 . Stopper 110 is removably affixed to dome 108 at an aperture therein. 1, stopper 110 is a compressible or elastomeric material, such that it can be snapped in or out of an aperture in dome 108 . In alternative embodiments, stopper 110 could be affixed to dome 108 using a hinge or some other fastener. In this way, stopper 110 can seal the aperture in dome 108 , such that dome 108 becomes a storage area for the ground material when stopper 110 is in a “closed” position.
If, however, stopper 110 is removed or changed to an “open” position, then ground material can leave dome 110 through the aperture. Material leaving dome 108 can be propelled by auger 106 to a promote consistent rate of distribution of the ground material, in embodiments. In this embodiment, as shown in more detail with respect to FIG. 2, stopper 110 is retained using a boss structure formed by stopper 110 , which fits inside dome 108 . In alternative embodiments, an equivalent to stopper 110 could be positioned on a boss arranged on the outside of dome 108 (not shown), for example. In still further embodiments, an equivalent to stopper 110 could be held to dome 108 using some other type of engagement structure, such as threading, or hinges, other types of interference fit, or adhesion, among others. In alternative embodiments, various other features or combinations of features could be present. For example, in some embodiments, grinder 100 could include a reservoir of unground material, located above the outer and inner caps 102 and 104 in the reference frame of FIG. Dome 108 could be shaped differently, as could auger 106 to match. For example, rather than having a frustoconical shape, dome 108 could be cylindrical, and auger 106 could be helical or some other type of screw or impeller that fits to that alternatively shaped dome 108 . 1 and 2, dome 108 has a substantially constant thickness throughout, though in alternative embodiments dome 108 could have different thicknesses to facilitate manufacturing, for ergonomics or aesthetics, or based on expected workloads. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the grinder 100 previously described with respect to FIG. Many of the same components previously described with respect to FIG. 2 depicts outer cap blades 102 B, and inner cap blades 104 B. Outer cap blades 102 B and inner cap blades 104 B are arranged such that, when outer cap 102 is rotated relative to inner cap 104 , their respective blades ( 102 B, 104 B) pass adjacent to one another, slicing or grinding whatever material is positioned therebetween. 2 also shows dome 108 , which is transparent in this particular embodiment, including detent 108 D. Detent 108 D is configured to engage with a flange 104 F of the inner cap, to rotationally lock those two components together. Auger 106 is coupled to outer cap 102 via magnets 112 and 114 . Outer cap 102 comprises first magnet 112 , and auger 106 comprises second magnet 114 . These two magnets hold auger 106 to outer cap 102 . In alternative embodiments, as described above, other mechanisms for fastening these two components together could be used, such as a spline. In embodiments, to prevent relative rotation between outer cap 102 and auger 106 , a locking mechanical engagement can be implemented. Grinder 200 includes similar components to those described above with respect to the embodiment shown in FIGS. Where like parts are used in grinder 200 , those components have the same reference numerals as previously used to describe their counterparts in FIGS.
3, dome 208 is opaque, rather than transparent as shown with respect to FIG. 7B is a perspective view of the same, according to an embodiment. 7A and 7B, outer cap 302 is shown removed from the other components of a grinder (e.g., grinders 100 and 200 previously described with respect to FIGS. Outer cap 302 includes wall 302 W and blades 302 B. Blades 302 B are arranged in two sets, evenly distributed about inner ring R 1 and outer ring R 2 . In alternative embodiments, blades 302 B could be arranged in one, three, or any alternative number of rings. Blades 302 B are prismatic posts extending parallel to wall 302 W, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. The sharp edges of these prisms can cut, shear, grind, or crack material. In use, blades 302 B engage with corresponding blades of a counterpart inner cap (see FIG. In alternative embodiments, differently shaped blades 302 B could be used.
For example, where cracking or crushing is desired, a grinder could be used in which blades 302 B are posts, rather than having cutting edges as shown on the substantially prismatic blades 302 B of FIGS. The blades 302 B of outer cap 302 need not be shaped in the same way as those of the inner cap (FIG. In order to maintain sharpness, blades 302 B are made of a material that will not easily dull, corrode, or become damaged through use. In one embodiment, blades 302 B are machined from aluminum. In alternative embodiments, other metals or alloys, such as steel or titanium alloys, can be used.