Hex engagement feature 315 is configured to interact with the supporting post of an auger, screw, impeller, or other structure similar to auger 106 of FIGS. In order to prevent rotation between that component and outer cap 302 , the hex engagement feature 315 is provided to form a rotational lock. Other structures, such as splines, keys, or engagement features positioned radially outward from the center of outer cap 302 could be employed in other embodiments. 7B in particular, engagement features 302 E are positioned along the outer edge of wall 302 W, to facilitate gripping of that structure in use.
8 depicts an inner cap 304 , according to an embodiment. Inner cap 304 is configured to engage with outer cap 302 , previously described with respect to FIG. 8, inner cap 304 includes many blades 304 B, arranged about two rings R 3 and R 4 . In operation, the blades 304 B arranged about ring R 3 can be rotated such that they pass close to the blades 302 B arranged about ring R 1 shown in FIG. Likewise, the blades 304 B arranged about ring R 4 can be rotated such that they pass close to blades 302 B arranged about ring R 2 shown in FIG. Rather, as depicted in the Figure, two surfaces of each side of the blades 304 B includes some curvature. In embodiments, curvature can be added that promotes cutting of material passing between the blades of the various rings. These apertures permit ground material to pass from the interstitial space between outer cap 302 and inner cap 304 out towards another area for storage or use (e.g., to dome 108 or 208 as previously described with respect to FIGS. The apertures can vary in size or location, but often are sized to prevent unground material from passing into the adjacent structure for storage or use.
Inner cap 304 also defines a central aperture 316 . Central aperture allows for a dispensing structure such as auger 106 to be coupled to outer cap 302 , as shown for example with respect to FIG. In embodiments without an auger or similar structure, central aperture 316 may not be needed, or could be sized differently such that it performs the same function as one of the various other apertures 304 A. An operator using a grinder or grinding system having outer cap 302 of FIG. 8 can put whole herbs, spices, or tobacco into the grinder chamber, for example. The operator can make a rotating motion to grinder the herbs, spices, or tobacco while holding the dome or cone (see FIGS. Rotating the grinder or grinding system such that the outer cap (e.g., 102 , 202 , or 302 ) causes rotation of the auger (e.g., 106 ) relative to the inner cap (e.g., 104 , 304 ). The ground herbs, spices, or tobacco created by interaction of the blades (e.g., 302 B and 304 B) fall from the interstitial space therebetween into the cone or dome and can be transported to the dispense point (e.g., aperture in dome 108 where stopper 110 is placed) by the auger. If the cap (e.g., 110 ) is in place, the ground herbs, spices, or tobacco will accumulate in the cone chamber, stored for later use. If the cap is removed, the ground herbs, spices, or tobacco will exit the cone at the dispense point at an even rate due to the auger. The grinder parts can be machined out of metal using CNC or other machining systems, to result in a stronger finished product than other, additive manufacturing processes. The cone, auger, and cap can be made via injection molding, in embodiments. The male grinder piece is inserted into the female grinder piece making the grinder system or assembly. The auger can then be placed into the cone, coupled to the lower cap. The grinder assembly is placed into the auger-cone assembly and stays together via interference fit between the cone and the grinder assembly, in embodiments. The cap is placed on the dispense point of the cone and is kept in place by interference fit when desired. If the operator does not want to use the storage option, the grinder system can be operated without the cap. If the operator does not want to use the auger to facilitate the even dispensing of grounds, the device can be operated without the auger installed. If the operator does not want to use the storage option and does not want to facilitate even dispensing of grounds using the auger, the device can be operated without the cap and cone installed. 9 is a top view of a blade 402 B according to an embodiment. 7A, 7B, and 8, the overall blade shape is not strictly that of a rectangular prism. Rather, in embodiments, blade 402 B includes straight edges 420 and curved edges 422 . Curved edges 422 are concave, in the embodiment shown in FIG.
Including curved edges 422 , rather than just making blade 402 B a rectangular prism, provides several advantages. First, curved edges 422 provide a larger cutting angle with another blade. By selectively setting the amount of convex curvature of blade 402 B, the convex angle of curved edge 422 meets an adjacent blade near tangentially. This results in a very shallow cutting angle for material therebetween, and requires far less effort to operate. Reducing the force needed to operate the device can be beneficial for individuals with arthritis, for example, or individuals who have other force limiting impairments. In general, less than four concave edges is preferable, as the ground material can naturally follow the edge of the cutting surface and end up between the cutting teeth (e.g., blade 402 B) during operation. By making only cutting edges of each blade (e.g., 402 B) concave, material will not be trapped in concave section of non-cutting edges.
In embodiments, a grinder has a linear edge which pushes the ground material towards the holes (described above) and minimizes jamming or hassles for the operator. Various embodiments of systems, devices, and methods have been described herein. These embodiments are given only by way of example and are not intended to limit the scope of the claimed inventions.