As many of you know, we have been working on our Block Ice Shaver even since the conception of Snowie, some 17 years ago. It was actually the first Ice Shaver we ever commenced work on as Snowie. However, there were a few things that got in the way of its completion. One was that block ice was becoming more and more extinct. Very few ice companies were making block ice and that left shaved ice vendors having to make a choice. Do they want to have the convenience of cube ice and serve a product that is very close to what they get from block, or do they want to have the perfect snow you can achieve from block and endure the process of making, storing, and transporting ice themselves.
Many people, after trying our cube ice shavers chose the more convenient life of cube ice. We would have many people come to our shop who were die-hard, block ice shaver enthusiasts, convinced that they would never use a cube ice shaver, yet after trying a shaved ice from one of our shavers, they all shared a common phrase, “Close enough for me!”
The other obstacle was making the block ice shaver work the way we wanted it to. We have had a shaver that would work for all those many years, however, we did not want to release it to the public until we felt it was ready for public use.
I have worked around software engineers for much of my career in IT, and I always found it fascinating how companies would feel like a product was near perfect until it reached the public. Then, people would destroy it. If there was ever a problem, the general public will find it, and fast.
The same process applies with manufacturing Block Ice Shavers, or anything else for that matter. Over the past few years, there have been multiple times where we felt we had the perfect block ice shaver. We would release it to a few people just to test the waters and get their feedback. This process would often cause us to rebuild components, or even rebuild the shaver completely.
Close to 3 years ago now, we released the Snowie Block Ice Shaver to the public. It worked extremely well, and we had some elated customers. Recently, we began to have some issues with the actuators. Just like the software example above, we never had one issue with them in our shop environment, nor did we have any issues at any of our events where we used the ice shaver heavily. But our customers were having problems and we needed to fix them. So, over the past year and well into this one, we have remarkably changed some of the core components on the Block Shaver. After heavy use of our own and many of our clients, we believe we have completely solved the issues that were occurring due to the actuators. We have made some additional changes as well to make the shaver better than it has ever been.
The first thing we did, is we changed the actuators to spindles and we now have them both running from a single motor. This has eliminated an issue where we had some actuators that would, over time, travel at a different rate, making it so the foot pulls down on the block of ice unevenly. This is a huge improvement and we are excited to have you try this new system.
Another item that we have changed is the front screw mount that allows you to put forward pressure on the block to hold it in place. This used to be static pressure flaps, then we changed it to a circular mount with a manual screw so you could decide on the pressure. This circular mount flexed enough that the plastic around it would break. To remedy this, we have changed that circular mount to a large rectangular mount that adds far more rigidity to that area of the shaver. We have also added more plastic to the front cover of the block cabinet to prevent other areas of breakage.
Now, another area of improvement was something that we had originally and then decided to remove. This was an off-delay that would allow the ice shaver to continue to shave for a decided period of time after the operator took their foot off the foot pedal. Some operators didn’t like how the shaver would continue to shave snow when they would remove the cup. Really, all you need to do is make a few and then you get the pattern of when to release the pedal and still catch the excess snow. However, to address this concern initially, we removed the delay.
Now that we have sold a number of block ice shavers, we have decided that it is a very important part of this shaver and we are bringing it back. The time of delay is still being decided, but it will be on all of our future ice shavers. This part, incidentally, is very easy for you to add to your existing shaver as well, so please let us know if you would like to add this delay to your shaver.
You can view the video on our site here as well: https://snowie.com/?p=12771