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.

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.

Design based on FEA reports

In a machine a recent company was developing, they had run into an issue where a seeming “ghost force” was breaking a part that moved a pin. They weren’t sure what the magnitude of this force was so I performed some finite element analysis to determine a range in which the magnitude of force might exist. After that, more analyses were run to determine a design that would strengthen the part while maintaining function and making it more suitable to be manufactured using injection molding.

This piece was then created after taking the design needs into account. The area around the long slot was thickened to ensure a greater strength and the entire part was designed to ensure a constant wall thickness. After seeing the design for this part, I was asked to redesign the sister part as well.

This piece focused on maintaining function and designing to be manufactured by injection molding. When the parts are connected via a hex bar, it looks like this:

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.

Iteration

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.

Tap Holder Design

WHY THIS PROJECT?

When I first got to bioMerieux Inc. as a Mechanical Engineering Intern, I was tasked with designing a fixture that would hold taps that attach to a pneumatic press. The current system had 11 taps and a drill bit holder sitting in a bucket which made it difficult to tell them apart, even though they had labels describing what tap was which. This slowed down the creation of prototypes and a solution was needed.

HOW MIGHT WE STATEMENTS

As I took in feedback and insight from the full-time mechanical engineer who gave me this project, I came up with a couple of “How Might We” statements to guide my design. They are as follows:

  • How might I design the fixture so that the taps and drill bit holder fits in the fixture no matter the order?
  • How might I design the fixture so that the fixture won’t fall over under normal use?
  • How might I design the fixture to also accommodate the drill bit holder with it being larger than the other taps?

PREPARATION/PROCESS

As I began to design what this fixture would initially look like, I first started to measure the taps as the maximum outside diameter of these tap fixtures was not consistent. To simplify the design and its use, I settled on the hole opening being consistent across all of the holes for the attachment to sit in, and having the maximum outside diameter be what influenced the distance between each of the holes. This would allow for the taps to be placed in any orientation making it easier for the end users. This also fulfilled the first “How Might We” statement.

Once I had figured that out, I wanted to make sure that whatever I designed wouldn’t easily tip backward if someone didn’t delicately place the tap or drill bit holder back, thus causing a bigger mess. In order to do that, I designed some “feet” that would make it much harder for the fixture to tip backward. These feet took the form of extra material on the back side of the fixture and also fulfilled the second “How Might We” statement

Another issue I had to overcome was figuring out what to do with the drill bit holder as it was bigger, bulkier, and wider than the rest of the taps. With that in mind, I decided that it would be better to have the drill bit holder sit lower to the ground so that its center of gravity would be lower and therefore would have less of a chance of falling over, or worse, knocking the entire fixture over if it was bumped. This actually went against the first “How Might We” statement, but it was a single exception and it allowed for the third “How Might We” statement to be fulfilled.

With these ideas in mind, I drew up a couple of designs and then took to SolidWorks to design my fixture.

Initially, I began with a solid 3D printed model that would have holes for each of the taps and the drill bit holder to fit in. However, after showing one of the full-time engineers, who gave me the project, what I had come up with, he said that what I had designed would work, however, he challenged me to make it out of sheet metal instead.

With that feedback, I went back to my design and began to make parts that could be fabricated out of sheet metal. Since I had never worked with sheet metal before, I needed to learn about the different processes, like water jetting and bending, so that I could determine how best to make this fixture. Once I had learned about the processes and the benefits and limitations of both, I decided to go with water jetting.

However, this created one more issue which was that I needed to determine how I would attach the pieces of sheet metal together and keep them together as well. I decided that I would have tabs stick through pieces that were attached together, and then with a hammer, I would flatten them so that they would flare out, causing the pieces to stay in place. After taking this idea to the engineers that gave me this project, they liked the way that it looked and gave me the green light to water jet the pieces of sheet metal. Below is a rendering of what the final product looked like.

Since this fixture has been made, it has been used by all that have gone to the machine shop to use the taps and drill bit holder. The labels on the taps can easily be seen and it is much easier and faster when finding the desired attachment to the pneumatic press.

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