Bonus points is you can guess what this is before reading the rest of the post
Answer: 5-gallon Slushie Machine
This one is Version 4, and so far my favorite out of all of them.
These work by using a 3/4hp garbage disposal as a blender
A little history of its predecessors (and sorry for bad picture quality, my phone is shit)
Version 1, as seen in this picture, is a 5 gallon bucket on an upside down 55 gallon trash can. The On/Off was controlled by a light switch that you can see to the right of the ball valve that worked as a spigot. It was a good height, but, due to the access hole cut into the back of the trashcan, it nearly collapsed when the bucket was filled up. Didn't stop us from using it though (team party after the Head of The Charles last fall, i nearly died cause of this thing)
Final Verdict: Great Success, but need some improvements
Current Status: Dissasembled, scavenged for parts, remainder trashed
Version 2 was built to be stronger and (hopefully)) better looking than 1. In this picture it isn't actually finished (you can see its ball valve underneath it). It was built with a wooden frame and PVC chamber. I was initially concerned about it being able to pull ice floating at the top all the way down to the disposal, but it performed quite admirably. Its capacity was somewhere around 2 - 2.5 gallons which meant that it didn't need 20+ people to be used.
It did have some drawbacks though. For one it was kinda huge for how little its capacity actually was. It also had the spigot mounted kind of low in comparison to where you filled it from, meaning it had to be left on the floor (vs on a table) if you intended to fill it. Overall though, it did work pretty well, and was even used to make non-alcoholic things too (kool-aid slush is pretty damn good)
Final Verdict: Structurally much better, form not quite suitable for function
Current Status: Retired, but still intact (i could reattach the disposal and go)
Version 3 was an attempt to replicate the capacity of V2 with the form of V3. 5 Gallon bucket as a base, with a 2 gallon on top of it for the mix-chamber. It never properly worked, and i rebuilt it twice before scrapping it. Basically, the plastic of the 2 gallon bucket was too stiff for the disposal to be hanging from it, and the plastic split under the collar, causing leaks almost immediately. I rebuilt it with a new 2-gallon and made the hole bigger so that it wouldn't be as stressed, and it still split within a few days.
It did, however, result in a new innovation that i was quite proud of. Instead of using a light switch for On/Off, i found a sewing machine pedal at Savers and installed it. i was originally hoping for a variable speed pedal (which would have menat much better control over the mixing process) but it turned out to be an On/Off type pedal. Still, being able to control the pedal with my foot meant i had 2 hands free for the rest of the machine, so that was a success.
Final verdict: Failure, but with positive innovation
Current Status: Scrapped along with V1
As seen at the beginning, this is V4, my most recent creation. Again following the shape of V1, it uses two 5 gallon buckets (white this time, because i could). I removed the bottom rim of each bucket (hard to see in the pic) so that the bottoms were flat against each other, lending more support to the disposal hanging inside the bottom one. You can see the pedal i was talking about to the right.
This time 'round, instead of using PVC pipe for the return and nozzle, i used 3/8" ID Polyethylene piping. i would have used bigger piping, but vinyl is poisonous and this was the biggest stuff Home Depot carried. The return winds its way around the upper bucket before dumping back in, and looks quite cool with colored liquid running through it. The nozzle is more Poly pipe run out to a brass ball-valve
It works excellently. It hasn't had a proper run through yet (full batch takes 15-20lbs of ice), but the 5lb test i did went very well. nice little physics-based side effect is that, at the start, because of the air pressure in the nozzle tube, none of the mix goes into it until you open the handle.
Final Verdict: It is Awesome, and probably the best looking of the 4
Current Status: Operational, awaiting inaugural merriment
Here's a couple of pictures of version 4, which should help illustrate how it got built.
a look a from the top, showing the collar the disposal connects to
Underside of the machine, showing the split for the return and outlet pipes
Close up of the split - pvc-brass adapter-brass nozzle-pipe
And a picture of V4 alongside V2 (which is actually complete in this picture)
Any questions? XD i may make a post later explaining how these work more in depth, but feel free to ask some questions. Yes, the alcoholic slushies are divine when mixed right
TL;DR Giant Blender+Ice+Alcohol+Mixers=Awesome