Shoemakers Academy Coursework

In an ongoing effort to continue to learn about the shoe-making and designing process, I have enrolled in a number of courses offered through Shoemakers Academy. Upon completion of the specific courses, a certificate is provided to indicate completion. Below are the certificates and some highlights of things that I have learned through that specific course:

Shoe Making for Brand Builders and Designers

This was a great course for beginners. It gave the basics to know what goes into designing a shoe.

How to Calculate Footwear Costs

Having never designed a pair of shoes, seeing the expenses that go into a shoe was very eye-opening. Everything from the creation of the shoe by a foreign manufacturer, to shipping, to storing in a warehouse was all covered.

Footwear Fitting and Comfort

This was a great course that went over exactly what is encapsulated in the name. The fact that lasts for each shoe size is needed and that it isn’t just a simple scaling of dimensions was something that I wasn’t expecting.

Calculating Footwear Specifications

This was a course that I think brought me much more into the inner workings of working in footwear. Learning not only what the engineering drawing equivalent is in footwear, but also how to make a good one is something that will help me no matter where I end up working.

I look forward to continuing this education through Shoemakers Academy to continue to make myself more of a competitive candidate when applying for shoe-related jobs.

A Life-Saving Update to a Life Monitoring Device


While my wife was pregnant with our first child, her water broke prematurely at 23 weeks. We hurried off to a hospital to see what was going on. Once we got to the hospital they told us that she would be on bed rest at the hospital until the baby came. While she was there she had to do many tests, one of the most common ones being a nonstress test.

During a nonstress test, two monitors are kept tight against the woman’s belly. They are either held down by straps or by a compression sock that goes around the woman’s torso. Once the two are strapped down, one of the monitors is used to track the woman’s contractions, and the other is used to track the baby’s heart rate. It must be placed over the baby’s heart and if the baby moves, the monitor must be moved as well. This requires a nurse to come back into the room to replace the monitor so that it is over the baby’s heart again. Sometimes this can take up to an hour while the nurse tries to find the right positioning to get a strong reading on the baby’s heartbeat. The other one that is used to monitor the woman’s contractions has fewer rules as to where it must be placed and usually does not require replacement. This monitor is usually placed in less than twenty seconds.

My wife ended up spending 66 days in the hospital before our baby boy was born. The first three days were spent on what is called “continuous monitoring” which means exactly what the name implies, that the monitors were on her 24/7. If she wanted to go to the bathroom, she had to call in a nurse to unplug the monitors from the nonstress test machine and then have the nurse reposition the monitors as necessary once she had come back to the bed. After those first few days, the monitoring requirements went down to an hour twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, with extra time added if our baby moved and “went off monitor” or if he had abnormal fluctuations in his heartbeat. However, even with those updated monitoring times, we still spent a lot of time asking nurses to come back to readjust the monitor, and the nurses spent a lot of time trying to find where our baby had moved to.

Because of all of this, I thought that the current process could use a new design.


With all this time that the nurses spent in our hospital room with us, I had a lot of time to talk with a few of them about what a good design would need to do and/or have to be considered a good design. It had to be something they would want to use even though there would be a bit of a learning curve for something new. Based on the things that they talked about, I came up with the following “How Might We” statements:

  • How might I design a monitor that doesn’t require the nurses to come in so often?
  • How might I design a monitor that is easier to attach and remove from the pregnant women it is used on?
  • How might I design a monitor that can be used on women no matter how far along they are or how large their belly is?


I spent some time ideating things that could be designed to help out with this whole process. Below are just some drawings of the designs that I thought could work:

Figure 1: Drawings of ideas that I thought
might be able to satisfy the
“How Might We” statements.

Starting from top to bottom, here is an explanation of the ideas presented above. The top two drawings represent a semisphere of preformed plastic. It would have multipe sensors embedded within the plastic. This would be placed on the woman’s belly and would allow for different sensors to activate if the baby moved at all. An adjustable elastic band would attach to the left and right side of the plastic dome and keep it on the woman’s belly. The middle two drawings represent a larger sensor housing body. Once again this would have multiple sensors so that if the baby moved around at all there would still be a chance that the baby could remain on the sensor. This would be attached using the current method of either a large compression sleeve or elastic bands. The bottom row represents a blanket-like material that would have various sensors on it as well. It would be attached via a zipper on the back.

As I was coming up with this ideas, I would share them with the nurses that were helping my wife with her stay. I felt good about these ideas since they all had extra sensors which I felt would help out a lot with the first “How Might We” statement. In my mind, sensors would constantly be reading, and it would be an average of the sensors that were picking up on the baby’s heart rate that would be displayed on the sensor monitor. If the baby moved, the sensors that contributed to the average would also change thus adapting to the movements of the baby. This would make it so that the nurses wouldn’t have to come in often if the baby moved.

From there, I started to evaluate these ideas based on the second “How Might We” statement. The larger cylinder idea has merit as it would be familiar to the nurses. There wouldn’t need to be any new training or learning curve with using a new device. However, there would still be some time required to find where the baby is initially. So while there is some benefit of familiarity with placing this kind of sensor, it was excluded from the final design since it wasn’t as easy to use as the other two ideas. The adjustable strap of the plastic dome idea and the zipper of the blanket idea both were viewed as easy ways to attach the monitors to the patient.

Lastly I looked at the final “How Might We” statement. When thinking of the preformed plastic, if we were to make a preformed plastic dome for every size of woman’s belly that came in, therer would be a lot of storage space required. However, with the blanket, you would only need a small, medium and large size.


After evaluating the ideas based on the “How Might We” statements and talking with the nurses, I decided that the blanket idea would be the best I went about designing what the idea might actually look like. The following drawings show the ideation and selection of what the final design would look like:

Figure 2: Ideation for monitor head design and how they would be placed along the blanket
Figure 3: Ideation for sizes of blankets that wuold be used.
Figure 4: Initial drawing of final design

With this final design, I believe that it would accomplish the “How Might We” statements the best. There are multiple monitors so even if the baby moves, the nurses don’t need to come in to replace the sensor. The blanket would be easy to wrap around the patient and the zipper allows for a easy attachment. Lastly the storage for the blanket would be minimal while maximizing the number of people that it could be used on.

The nurses did give some feedback once they saw the initial drawing up in Figure 4. They mentioned how they would prefer the zipper to be accessible from the side of the patient rather than the back. Due to that feedback, I got rid of half of the sensors so that the sensors on the patient’s back wouldn’t get readings that would interfere with the readings from the sensors on the patient’s belly. The darker blue lines indicate a stretch material that would be tight to ensure that the sensors would be tight to the woman’s body once the zipper has been done up. Below is the drawing of the design after I got the feedback from the nurses.

Figure 5: Drawing of the final design

Things I’ve learned about Design: Marketing Pulls versus Engineering Pushes

While I’ve been at Ultradent, I’ve been learning a lot about how we as designers decide what to design for the market. Sometimes the market will dictate that an update needs to be made in a certain way. Sometimes R&D will develop a solution to a problem that no one has thought of yet. Both are legitimate paths to designing something new and sending it out to the market.

I’ve known about The BYU Design Review for quite some time now and have always thought that it would be fun to write an article and get it published on their site. A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be willing to write an article for them and was ecstatic! I choose to write about the new things that I had been learning at Ultradent and thus this article was born. You can find it at the link below:

Let me know in the comments what you think and any ideas or insights that you have on this article!

No Pain With All the Gain

Many have had the unfortunate experience of trying to pick out their morning toast and consequently burning their fingers on the toaster because their toast isn’t tall enough or the toaster doesn’t bring it up high enough for there to be enough room to grab their toast. That is where this design for a new toaster comes in. As part of my product design class, I spent time creating a conceptual design for a new toaster that would be wide enough for pieces like homemade bread and bagels to fit into the toaster without issue and the basket would rise high enough that even your small slices of toast can be brought high enough to grab.

Since this design was mostly conceptual, iteration was through multiple drawings. Those drawings as well as pictures of my final design can be found in the report below.

The StakCrate Photography Carrying System

For my product design class, we had a group project as our final. We had a variety of different groups of people that we could try to help out via a new design, and we chose to help photographers. Very frequently, photographers regardless of if they do their shoots out in nature or in a studio, have a lot of equipment that they need to carry. We got this information through interviews that we conducted with acquaintances that we had who were photographers. A wide range of experience and skill was represented through the different photographers we interviewed. Many talked about how safe transportation of their equipment was a major worry. Some have a dolly that they load up and they try to not drop anything as they transport it. This can be very dangerous, and if something does fall and break, it can be very costly to replace. Others just enlist friends and they all carry the necessary equipment. We heard frequently that Pelican cases were the best, but they were also very expensive. Our team decided that we wanted to come up with a new offering for photographers to transport their equipment that would be better than the Pelican Cases.

Once we decided what we wanted to make, as well as our goal, we began to come up with design ideas that we drew on 3″x5″ cards. Before we started putting any of these designs together, we had come up with over 150 different features we could put into the design. As we whittled down the features that we felt would best help our imaginary clients, we took inspiration from pack-out systems made by DeWalt and Milwaukee.

Due to this, we made it so that each case would have the ability to be wheeled around like a suitcase, but if you had multiple, you could stack them and wheel them around like an appliance dolly, with that configuration shown in the picture below.

We also made a physical prototype of our design and were able to get some feedback from others regarding it. They liked that there were different ways to roll the case. They did worry about the handle used to roll the case staying in place but were generally positive regarding the design.

Below you can see our final presentation as well as our report which contains more information on this project.

A Stationary Design for Those Always on the Move

In my product design class, we were tasked with looking at the Quad Lock family of products and identifying one that we believed we could make an iteration of that would address an issue of the current state. Following that decision, we would prototype, get feedback from potential end users, and then create a report regarding our proposed change.

I initially started by looking through Quad Lock’s website to find negative reviews and then brainstorming ideas on how to fix those voiced issues by verified users. I found their Desk Mount Kit and decided to iterate that due to many negative complaints regarding the difficulty of removing the phone and wireless charging making an obnoxious electrical sound. I then took to Amazon to see what kinds of phone stand people currently like.

Once I felt that I had a pretty good grasp of what the market was wanting, I began to sketch out some ideas before creating them in SolidWorks. After creating my design in SolidWorks I had the models 3D printed so that I could get feedback from possible end users so that I could iterate my design.

The final design moved away from the bulky quad-lock feature and moved to four magnets to make it easier to attach and remove the phone from the stand. To fix the wireless charging electric noise, I removed the wireless charger and made an area where a charging cord could be routed to the user’s charging port.

Below is the report that I wrote that has a more in-depth discussion of what happened throughout this process.

Projector Mount

My wife and I really enjoy watching TV together. It’s one of the things that we do to spend time together. While we love watching TV, we aren’t the biggest fan of our couch that we need to sit on to watch TV, it is not very deep and we are both tall people so it just isn’t comfortable. Due to this, I figured that I could use some of my design and mechanical engineering abilities and create a 3D printed projector stand to set up in our bedroom.

When I first started designing the projector stand, I took measurements of the projector and noted the air vents, plugins for power and the HDMI cable, and controls. Once I did that, I then started to create drawings for myself so for the 3D model. Those drawings are shown below.

After I made the 3D model of it, I took it to BYU’s prototyping lab to have them 3D print it, that print is shown below.

The print turned out well, as it holds the projector quite nicely. One thing that I realized was that I need to update the vertical bars seen on the top of the mount. Those were seen to be strong enough to hold the projector, but beefing them up will give us better peace of mind that it will not fall while we are sleeping. Another issue that we ran into was that the mount would have to be located much further down our wall than we had initially hoped it would be due to the design. I am currently in the process of working on updating this design so that it: 1. Doesn’t use as much 3D print material, 2. Has thicker support bars, and 3. Can allow for the projector to be angled downwards so that it doesn’t need to sit so low on the wall for my wife and me to be able to see the entire screen. Those changes and that process will be shown in a later post.

Assembly Design

Recently I was given a task to design a stand that would hold a display and the PCB that controlled it. While there was a past version of it, due to changes in the display that stand would no longer work. After looking to the previous design for ideas and obtaining all of the necessary design constraints from the software engineers who requested this stand, I set to work. I drew each initial part before starting in on the 3D modeling process.

Drawing out everything and paying attention to the details of where holes were located helped to make sure that the 3D modeling phase went much quicker. After the initial design of the individual pieces had been completed, I put them all into an assembly to view how the pieces interacted with one another. Using the interference detection in SolidWorks allowed me to know for a fact whether or not the parts could be assembled together without impinging on one another.

After an initial design was created, it was shown to the software engineers who requested design changes. Iteration took place and eventually the model below was created.


Rarely does the first prototype ever end up being the final design of the product. Here is a view of how I iterated an important piece in a design.

This piece was a bridge that would hold a PCB in place on a stand that also held the display that it would control. After this first iteration, it was apparent that there was no good way to secure the PCB into place, and changes needed to be made. It was decided that it would be made on an SLS printer so that many parts could be made quicker than if it were to be made on a different 3D printer like an FDM or SLA printer.

The first change was to add holes on the left and right faces such that this bridge would not be able to move or fall out of its placement within the assembly. Next, the two holes on the upper face were added so that dowel pins could be pushed through to act as posts to go through holes that were located in corners of the PCB. It was also decided that the PCB shouldn’t be cantilevered over the edge so the extrusion was made to hole the PCB better.

After obtaining some input from those on the software team about the previous design, it was decided that the extrusion needed to be modified so that the heat from the back of the PCB could escape and not heat the SLS material. Countersinks were also added to faces to allow for screws to be used in place of the dowel pins to ensure they wouldn’t fall out. It also cleaned up the look of the assembly once all of the components were attached as well.

Pipsqueak Engine

While at BYU, during the mechanical engineering program, students are required to take a class called Manufacturing Processes. In this class, you learn about different manufacturing processes as the name suggests, but you also are given a semester-long project to create a pipsqueak engine with a team. With my team, we used one member’s design and then manufactured the parts with various manufacturing processes.

One of our parts, our flywheel, was created, initially, using sand casting. This was our first iteration of the flywheel. We tried two more times, however, the results were generally the same. This was due to us not being able to sufficiently pack the sand enough to keep the original parts shape. Due to this, the picture below was not what we ended up using, and you can see what we used in the video at the bottom

Many of our parts were made on the lathe. Most of our piston was made on the lathe and our shaft was also made on the lathe. Below you can see the drive shaft that went from the crank wheel to the fly wheel.

We also used a manual mill for many of our parts. Both of our uprights as well as the baseplate were made using the manual mill to face and drill the holes required.

At the end of the semester, we had to have our pipsqueak engine built. Once they were built, they were used in a competition to see whose pipsqueak engine could run on the lowest air pressure. While this video does not reflect the lowest psi that our pipsqueak engine could be run at, we did end up tying for first place in our lab section.