By Letitia Baldwin
GOULDSBORO — “One Glen Breton whiskey, please. Certainly, sir. Neat or on ice? On ice, please. Coming right up!”
So goes the exchange between Roger Dean and an invisible female bartender in his basement workshop in the Gouldsboro village of Prospect Harbor. Then, you see a metal nut spin around in the air and strike a wooden target as part of an elaborate contraption sprawling across a plywood platform. Rapid-fire pops, knocks, booms and crashes ensue until you hear the familiar, satisfying sound of liquid hissing and spilling over ice cubes in a glass. The entire process takes under one minute.
The 1.50-minute videoclip captures Roger’s chain-reaction machine mixing and pouring his evening scotch on ice. The invention, fashioned with a funnel, clamp, plywood, duct tape, golf ball, tennis ball, PVC piping of different widths and other odds and ends, took the mechanical engineer about three months to build.
Launched mid-pandemic, the project grew out of an initial STEM activity for Dean’s granddaughter Cookie. The 4-year-old is being homeschooled by her grandparents.
“By the time I worked out the design for this, and got the positioning correct, I realized I needed an objective, which was when the drink idea came to me,” Roger relates. “Then it was a matter of figuring out the basic idea and the different ‘trigger’ mechanisms. The hardest thing to figure out was how to pour the drink after having the ice cube land in the glass.”
It was tough calibrating the ice catapult so that the cube went where he wanted.
“Both range and azimuth were exceptionally sensitive to the positioning of the fulcrum and pivot point. Getting that part to function and time properly took over a week to sort out,” he writes. “And, I thought that my lead shot and funnel approach, for simultaneously initiating the ice and pour while delaying the pour, was especially brilliant.”
At the video’s conclusion, the inventor makes an appearance while fetching his Canadian single malt on the rocks. Facing viewers, he then raises the glass solemnly and says, “Cheers, to a better, better 2021.”
Back ’atcha, Roger!