Rod Piece

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Help with this designing issue?

I have to redesign the ice cube tray for a class. I want to make it so that there is a lever attached to one end, and that lever has an arm-type thing that goes beneath the ice cube tray and splits into two. Attached to each arm are 6 cylinders, one beneath each ice cube slot. There are holes in the bottom of each ice cube slot. I want to make it so that when you press the lever, the cylinders push up and dislodge the ice. How would I go about doing this?

Something I would try to do is this:

First mount the ice cube tray in something sturdy, could be some type of a wooden surround box or if you can fabricate or find some type of a metal tray that would hold it securely. The reason for this is that when you push up on the ice tray with the cylinders, you need all the ice tray to push back so that only the ice cubes will move.

As far as the cylinders, try using a cylindrical rod, maybe like an 1/8" to a 1/4" inside diameter. You could probably use a hollow or cylindrical (just remember to do something to top of it if u use a hollow so water doesn't go down it. You'll need some type of a flange on the bottom of the rods to attach to the next step.

Next step, take a piece of metal plate or sheet metal, probably at least 0.090" in diameter about the size of the ice cube tray or a little bigger. Measure out perfectly where the center of the rods would need to be placed on the plate/sheet metal base. You could use some type of a hollow rod that has a flange on the end of it so you could drill holes in the plate, slide the hollow rod through and it won't pull through and then set it on top of something or use metal glue/jb weld/ or if you can get someone to place a couple tack welds on it or if has a big enough flange you could use sheet metal screws or small bolt and nut to attach it.

Next you have to work on the mechanism that raises this plate and cylinder assembly. Instead of using one arm, I would actually probably use two so that you grab a handle/lever arm on either side of then push down. For this, I'm thinking to use some kind of a scissor action. Picture a tube or rod sticking out from the side of your tray surround/mount about maybe 6 inches, then use another longer tube or rod piece and put it down through the previous tube/rod at a steep enough angle that it can be attached to your metal plate (or whatever you are using). At the 6" horizontal tray piece attachment, make there is minimal friction by using a cylinder spacer and then put a bolt through so it has a smooth lever action. Another way to do this would be to again still use the rectangle tube for the 6" piece, then take a thin plate (~ 0.060" thick) and 2" wide and bend it in a vice with the correct dimensions into a 3 sided rectangle. Make the distance in between them the thickness of your horizontal tube tray piece and bolt these to it.

On top of solid cylinders, you'll need to make sure it's sealed well enough for water to not seep through and drill holes the exact size of your cylinders to go through the tray and push the ice cube out. I'd use some type of a gasket to seal this.

I'm not sure what type of class you are doing this for and whether it's middle school, high school or if this a college engineering class. If this is only middle or high school, I would probably simplify this as much as possible. If this is a college class, it's going to take a lot of time and you may want to consider doing only a couple cylinders in the tray, less materials, less cost, less time, and less complexity (unless of course the requirement is to make something that can push 12 ice cubes out simultaneously). The biggest problem will just be getting the angles right for the optimum lever engagement and vertical movement of the plate and cylinders.

A way of simplifying this a lot would be to ditch the lever arms altogether (unless once again it's a requirement) and just have handles on the side and have the tray supported with some type of vertical hollow/solid rod and spring set up so you just push down on it and the rods on the bottom plate are stationary and slide up through the tray to push the cubes out.

This would all be much easier to explain or show with a drawing or diagram instead of writing it out so I hope this helps at least give you some ideas as to what you could do. Once again, it all really depends on your budget (or your school's) and what level of science/engineering you are in.

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