Monday, January 3, 2011

Making Dad Proud

As Justin was doing some Thanksgiving weekend food preparations (specifically the pizza dough), he broke our countertop Kitchenaid stand mixer. Luckily, a few days later, on their way back to Minnesota from Florida, my parents and grandparents stopped for a free night at Hotel Scurte. In return for our generous hospitality, I enlisted my father and his mechanical skills in helping determine if the mixer would be easy to fix (and when I say help, it means I watch him do the dirty work).

After taking apart the head of the mixer, my dad pinpointed the problem to this gear, which I found out later to be called the worm gear. Of course it is the only non-metal machine part and a small section of the teeth had been smashed, so when the gear it worked with got to that part during rotation, the machine would skip or catch and stop. Fortunately, I was able to find a part list on Kitchenaid's website as well as a list of service and parts distributors. Ordering a replacement for this little guy wasn't cheap (about $35 with tax and shipping) but much cheaper than buying a new mixer ($150–300).

I received the part shortly after ordering it, but it took me about a week to build up the nerve and confidence to tackle this seemingly difficult and messy project. The photo below shows the old and busted part.

As my dad was taking the machine apart, I put everything into plastic bags to minimize and organize the mess. The bag on the right is full of grease, which I had to pile back in before putting it all back together—yuck!

Swapping the damaged part took all of 10 minutes and after the new one was in I couldn't help but do a victory dance all by myself in the middle of our kitchen.

Thirty minutes later, I had the mixer put back together and tested it several times to ensure it worked. As you can see from the photos below it did!

I called my dad almost immediately after I was done to brag about my success. I never would have guessed it would be so easy to fix this complex machine, but I did, and I did it all by myself! (I guess with a little help from my dad.)

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