VOYAGER BEGINNINGS
          Several years of designing and prototyping has culminated in the Voyager Disc Cooker. The first plow disc/discada/wok/cowboy
cooker I saw and used was my brother’s, which he won in a raffle. My brother had invited my family over for breakfast burritos one morning.
When I watched him make more than 20 burritos for friends and family in minutes with very little clean up, I became completely fascinated
with the disc cooker. The food tasted better than any burrito cooked over a stove. I used his disc cooker on a week-long hunting trip to cook
breakfast burritos, beef fajitas, steaks, burgers, and hot dogs. I was blown away at how fast the food was cooked and how delicious the
food tasted. I was sold. I had to have one. Yet, the more I used his disc cooker (which had a solid base that was not easily transported) I
realized I wanted a disc cooker that could be transported easily. I wanted  cooker to fit into the trunk of a small car or a storage area of an
RV. I needed a sturdier cooker as well since my brother’s disc was often very wobbly. And I wanted the cooker to be more functional.
          As a machinist and mechanical designer with 15 years of experience, I knew I
could build a disc cooker for myself. I started by buying a propane burner and a disc
to which I welded some horse shoes for handles. This served as a quick fix for
working on my overall design.

          One of the toughest issues to solve was designing a windscreen to protect the
flame from wind.  I also wanted the cooking height to be adjustable. Cooking on the
ground hurt my back and cooking on a park table was too high. I wanted a unit that
could be placed on any uneven surface and be leveled to my preferred cooking
height. I wanted adjustable and removable legs that did not require any tools. And I
wanted some place to store paper towels since they are used in prepping and
cleaning the disc.

          After several revisions with the windscreen and the burner, I had the basic
hexagon shape of the burner base now used on the Voyager. I tried several different
burners: some high-pressure and other low-pressure. The high-pressure burners
(such as one from a turkey fryer) produced too much concentrated heat at the center
and caused a lot of scorching and uneven cooking. By combining a low-pressure
duplex propane burner with a windscreen, I produced a constant 18” cooking zone in
the disc. By adding three adjustable and removable legs spaced evenly around the
hexagon, I had the beginning of the Voyager base.
           The handles were one of my main concerns; the horseshoe
handles used on the prototype disc became too hot and were not
functional enough. So, I began designing handles that incorporated a
spatula holder, hooks for other cooking utensils, an integrated paper
towel holder, and four arms on each of the handles to reduce heat
transfer.

           The first prototypes consisted of this base unit and disc design. I
thought I had achieved what I wanted in a disc cooker, but after a year
of use I had so many more features I wanted to include in the final
product.
          My skill and knowledge as a machinist along with my expertise in
engineering design software enabled me to alter the design for
manufacturing with less fabrication. I transferred the original design into CAD
software and made the necessary changes for production. I chose to have
the Voyager machined for precision and perfection.

          I added a lip around the outside of the disc to allow the option for
stewing or cooking a higher volume of food. The lip also prevents food from
rolling out of the disc and makes removing food with a spatula easier. The lip
also allows you to move food that is already cooked away from the center by
pushing it to the lip while continuing to cook foods that need to be cooked
longer.

          Once the disc had a lip, a lid could be used to increase cooking
speed, to steam, to melt cheese, and to keep the disc clean between uses.
The lid could be conveniently placed between the outer lip and the spatula
holder when needed while stirring, cooking, and serving. By adding two
holes in the rim of the lid and burner, two s-hooks could be used to store it
out of the way when not in use.
          With the addition of the shelves, I then modified the handles to
remove the hooks since they were no longer needed. The paper towel
holder was repositioned below the shelves and a simple bar across the
top of the paper towels served to prevent the paper towels from
unraveling. This feature allows you to remove a paper towel with one
hand. The locking feature in the adjustable and removal legs was
moved to the corner to increase stability. The burner units have a two-
tone powder-coat finish, which is resistant to rust, UV, and heat. The
outside of the disc and the handles are also powder-coated with a
high-heat powder-coat that can withstand temperatures to 1200°
Fahrenheit. Powder-coating is easy to clean and is chemical resistant.
              I added hexagon-shaped shelving to provide a working area
around the burner. I wanted to eliminate the need for tools when
installing the shelves, so they were designed to be dropped into place
with the catch built into the unit. When removed, the shelves can be
stored under the burner unit with a simple thumb-nut and bolt. I added a
specific shelf to hold plates, forks, spoons, and knives, to help
centralize items for serving the food cooked in the disc.
          My main goal for the Voyager Disc Cooker is for it to be a standalone cooking system that uses a centralized design, placing
everything within arm’s reach and minimizing the need for extra tables. I wanted the new unit to be as complete as possible, so with it alone
and the necessary food you could feed any group of people easily.

          Food tastes so much better when cooked on a disc than on the stove or oven. My family and friends enjoy the food prepared on it. And
we enjoy inviting friends and family over more frequently since delicious meals can be prepared quickly and easily.

          I never settled on a name for the cooker, until a friend mentioned that the overall appearance looked like the Voyager
                                                             satellite.  So, I present to you “The Voyager” Disc Cooker. 

 
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