March 2022 – individual project
Design for manufacturing
This course aimed to better understand the complexity of production optimization and design with manufacturing needs in mind. The focus was on design, material selection, and various production techniques. Accompanying the project work, I took courses on parametric modeling (primarily Solidworks) and rapid prototyping.
48-hour design sprint
The design task was to create a new design for an electric screwdriver and bring it to life into a working prototype using 2D and 3D media. This task was also extended with the challenge of choosing a brand for which the product should be designed.
I decided on the do-it-yourself brand iFixit, with which I was already familiar in my childhood when I repaired computers and smartphones (only partially successfully). The company’s ethos is “You can fix anything – we show you how.” this seemed like a perfect fit for my project.
iFixit is a US-based website known for its teardowns on YouTube. It’s a Wiki-based website that illustrates how to fix IT equipment, home appliances and more. The brand originated from the early maker scene and focuses on encouraging consumers to repair electrical devices instead of purchasing new ones.
This can often be an intimidating process for consumers, so iFixit offers free video tutorials on YouTube and detailed .pdf instructions. In addition, users can purchase the appropriate repairer kits and replacement parts for popular smartphones on the company’s website.
I wanted to design my electric screwdriver to mirror the DNA of existing manual, precision-engineered screwdrivers. Part of the challenge was to develop a brand board in one hour that reflected the brand values and summarized design elements. This board was the basis for the later design phase.
“You can fix anything – we show you how.”
After I had familiarized myself with the design language of iFixit
the task was to transfer this to an electric screwdriver and translate it into a coherent design.
For the parts, we students were given a simple screwdriver from ClasOhlson, which we carefully disassembled in a team, paying particular attention to the placement of fasteners and stiffeners of the injection molding. I used the parts as a basis for the dimensions of my new screwdriver since the task was to copy the components 1:1 from the original.
My motivation for my design was that the device should be easy to repair – just as iFixit demands from large electronics manufacturers.
In addition, I wanted to use only one-component injection molding in my design to ensure the ideal recyclability of the device. This idea led me to divide the plastic housing into three parts so that the handle and front are still made of soft-touch plastic. On the back of the screwdriver, I included a bit holder and bit converter – a tribute to the iconic iFixit Precision Bit Screwdriver. All touchpoints, such as the trigger and cap, would be finished in the signature iFixit blue.
Design for recycling
“Design for recycling”, practical guidelines for designers
Published by the Pezi Group
“Design for Recycling” by the PEZI Group was chosen for the introductory course reading and lecture. This book is the result of a project called PolyCE and was commissioned and funded by the European Commission.
Within the PolyCE consortium, solutions were sought to (better) recycle the rapidly growing quantities of plastics from e-waste (waste generated by electronic devices). This waste consists of different types of plastics, and the challenge is to facilitate separation and maintain material purity in recycling processes.
The guidelines in this book were developed for a specific group: Electronic equipment designers and engineers. The guide focuses on the design of recycled plastics and explains how to design plastic housings and internal parts in a circular way.
The 31 guidelines are an inspiring and instructive tool for evaluating my designs regarding sustainability, resource use, and end-of-life scenarios. In particular, three guidelines greatly encouraged my design for the screwdriver project:
Avoid moulding different material types together by 2K or xK processes minimize the use of thermoplastic elastomers.
Avoid moulding different material types together by 2K or xK processes (different plastic materials injected into the same mould, or overmoulding, or in mould labelling) such as moulding a thermoplastic elastomer onto PP (e.g. toothbrush). If the material types are the same and only differ in colour and additives it is ok to use, for example moulding red PP containing antioxidants on black PP containing talc.
When elastomers are necessary, minimize the use of elastomers and choose for an SEBS based TPE. (Background: Most of the elastomers are filtered out during the separation steps. The fraction of elastomers that is not filtered out is likely to end up in the PS stream. When a SEBS based TPE is used as elastomer and will end up in the PS stream, it may act as an impact modifier and therefore is doing the least harm.)
Avoid permanent fixing (2K, glue, melting, welding etc).
To fix valuable components (PCBs, cables, wires and motors) in a product, use metal screws, click fingers, press fit, shrink foil, self- screwed/tapering or connectors. Avoid permanent fixing such as 2K (in mould decoration), PSA tapes, glue, melting (different plastics, enclosures) and welding.
Avoid the use of coatings.
Avoid the use of coatings on plastics such as painting, lacquering, since it can result in changed density of the plastic.