The Cord Management System is designed to reduce cord clutter and increase the usability of hand tools for dental students. Typical hand tools and cords are mounted in the front of dental teaching benches cause cords to tangle and tools getting bumped or poking students. The original concept was to create a system that would move the hand tools to the back of the desk with a retracting/locking system to manage the cords. If a hand tool broke during a class, that tool and its supporting components would have to be quickly changed out with minimal effort. In the end this system uses three separate assemblies to (1) hold cords at the right length (2) house weights that rest on the cord, allowing the tool to retract (3) hold the tool and lock the cord in place while in use.
The first two pictures show the three assemblies working together. The “Cord Tie Bar” is a spring-loaded cam that acts as a strain relief for the control unit and insures the cord is at the proper length with in the “Pulley Box”. The “Pulley Box” constrains the weights resting on the cords and insures the cords do not tangle. While one end of the cord is secured to the “Cord Tie Bar”, the other end is held by the “Cord Lock Assembly”. When not in use the hand tool sits neatly in a bracket out of the way and easy to grab. In use, the hand tool is picked up and pulled to the desired length while the cord goes through another set of spring-loaded cams that hold the tension created by the pulley’s weight. To place the hand tool back in the bracket, pull the tool up release the cams and cord tension will return to the hand tool.
These prototypes heavily used polyjet 3D printers and laser cut acrylic to reduce cost and lead times while supplying a profession look at the final level. In the first iteration of the prototypes I was laser cutting teeth in the acrylic parts and using a solvent to weld them. I quickly moved away from this technique because the welded joint would be brittle and easily broken if hit hard enough. Additionally, it made it implausible to swap out parts on prototypes and a broken part could render the rest of the prototype useless. When interfacing with people, especially students, I wanted my designs to be robust. I began integrating sheet metal into the prototypes to relieve the structural strength from the plastics.
The 3D printer was used to make the cams that held and released the cords. By using a 3D print I could design the cam to accommodate the cord sizes I wanted, rotate any amount, and dialing the release point. And the best part? The printer didn’t care I was adding complexity, it printed them the same, only costing material and run time. This allowed me to geek out on all the minutia that no one would see or care about.
The concept was a dust shield that would cover the sink and lay flush while not in use. Then with the touch of a button the dust shield would pop up, keeping the user safe and giving access to the sink. The sink needed to be easily cleaned, so no nooks and crannies. The dust shield needed to be easily replaceable. Space was a huge issue with this project because the sink had a maximum depth and could not pool water. The solution was to move all the mechanics outside of the sink and allow the hinge to be simplified. It might sound obvious now but let me tell you, it was a head scratcher.
This project was about looking at the top dental handles on the market and combining the best elements of each. I started by measuring the handles with caliper and making a CAD model for each one. Then cut the competitors handles in half to figure out how they were manufactured and what materials they use. Using that information, a new handle was design in CAD and 3D printed. In one day the first prototyping was design, printed, and tested.