Last Updated on by
Part 1 – Designing our Tool
One thing I think we have all learned while being home during quarantine is how to get creative. Bored on a Friday night? Channel your inner Gordon Ramsay and whip up a new dish. Sick of sitting inside? Go for one of those beloved lunchtime walks around the neighborhood. Here at DesignPoint, we have learned how to be creative while adapting to the new world we live in. So, when I was challenged with designing a tool for helping folks transition back to the office, I was thrilled at the opportunity to create something new.
The goal was to design a tool that can open doors, push buttons, and essentially act as our hands throughout a typical workday. While we might not have a handle on the pandemic–at least we could get a handle of sorts. A door handle, a button tool–a necessary instrument to ensure we keep our hands clean and play our part in reducing the excess spread of germs.
So what was the necessary criteria and what method would be used for manufacturing? The tool should fit comfortably in your hand while performing tasks and be small enough to fit in a pocket or purse. Regarding manufacturing, that’s a no-brainer: 3D Printing! Less waste of material and energy, fast print time, and room for testing, redesign, and reprinting – sounds like a win-win-win to me.
A lot of designers have created similar tools since the beginning of the pandemic. Using some of these designs as inspiration, I determined our tool should have three main features: a button pusher, a door handle hook, and a hand grip. An overview of the tool is shown below.
The Design Process
Now that we have an outline of what our tool needs, it’s time to actually design it. The steps I used in planning and creating this tool are summarized below:
Sometimes, the hardest aspect of designing a part is figuring out where to start. However, for this design, the best profile to begin with seemed obvious, as the overall outline of the tool captures most of the geometry. Although this did end up being the orientation for this part, creating the tool with one master sketch proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. This led to me dividing the sketch into three, more isolated sketches; one for each of the main features. Not only did this help while creating the part, but it also allowed smaller edits to be made much more efficiently.
Next, I focused on the design intent for the tool. Specifically, I spent some time thinking about sketch relations and how they would affect the overall design if changes to other sketches or features were made. Below, you can see the sketches for the finger grips and indents on the section of the tool that will be held by the user. The angle and depth of the sketches were made about the origin and therefore will be maintained if the overall dimensions of the hand grip change. Circular patterns were used to replicate the extruded cuts as needed.
Who said quarantine can’t be fun?! To add something exciting to the mix, I thought it would be a cool idea to have a bottle opener feature included in the design. This was added as a new sketch and the shape was based on standard bottle cap sizes.
Now that the foundational base of the tool was created, it was finally time to make it pretty! In stage 2, fillets were added, the button pusher was created, and an additional cutout was made at the center. In stage 3, a final fillet was added, along with the DesignPoint logo and some text to compliment the bottle opener.
The final design is simple, yet functional, and will hopefully be able to help the public stay healthy during this time. It was fun taking on this project, and I hope you enjoyed reading some of the things I learned along the way. Stay tuned for the next post, as I’ll showcase how it was 3D Printed. Remember, More is Possible® with DesignPoint (and when we keep our hands clean of course)!