e-NABLE Fellowship - Midterm Documentation

I can't believe it is already the beginning of the 4th week of my Fellowship with the e-NABLE community. The time has surely flown by.... There has definitely been moments of great success, but of course, those have not come without many revisions in the design process. I have learned so much more about 3D modeling in Rhino than I could have anticipated. Coming into this fellowship, I had only formally taken one class in 3D modeling, which covered the basic techniques for creating form, so I still consider myself to be quite a novice. Most of the objects I have designed up until this point have been relatively simple in construction, but I can see myself progressing rapidly in skill as a result of the challenges I've faced while creating Karuna's Trumpet Holder.

Here are some highlights thus far...

Adaptive Device - Karuna's Trumpet Holder
I've fully designed the attachment mechanism for an adaptive device that will eventually have a palm and gauntlet for a child who plays trumpet. What is exciting about these parts is that the mechanism for attaching a hand and gauntlet is so simple that it could potentially be integrated into many different types of adaptive devices.

On left: main part - this piece hugs the brass tubes extending out of the valves on the Bach Student Trumpet TR300 and has a dovetail mechanism for attaching the palm and gauntlet on the back-side (seen here). On right: base part that slides over and locks into the main part; secures around the base of valves and allows access to holes in the bottom of valves. 
The bottom profiles on each piece of the trumpet attachment are by far the most interesting in terms of design... They were also the most fun to design - getting the tolerances just right was very satisfying. Visually these parts are by far the most interesting and balance nicely between being decorative and having functional importance. If I were to change anything about these parts of the design - I would edit them to contain less material on the sides, so that they don't cost as much to produce, although I really like the simple profiles they afford.  
This is a rendered image of the main part and bottom part put together. The palm/hand would slide into the space in the middle of the main part (via dovetail). I went through multiple iterations of the base piece, eventually deciding on this version - where the height of the base's wall reach the same height as the tubes extending out of either side of the valves. I think that this profile is very successful, but I could see the walls getting thinned through the use of relief pattern to save on material and give a more interesting surface. 

Same setup as above, but opposite side view.  You can see more clearly here the holes for the brass tubes and height similarity I was talking about in the previous caption. 
Top shot of the main part and bottom part put together - the valves would be sticking out the top with the palm and gauntlet extending off of the bottom when attached through the dovetail mechanism. 

 **** See some images of the trumpet attachment on the actual trumpet here and here.

The palm and gauntlet have not been developed quite as far as the rest of the design; they are still in need of lots of refinement. These parts are challenging me in a new way. Where the trumpet adapter was fitting on consistent, geometric shapes that lent themselves to be built with solids - Karuna's palm and gauntlet are exactly the opposite, demanding organic undulating curves that are in need of dynamic curve networks in order to fit his body's contour.

I designed a palm and gauntlet (v1) that attached to a dovetail with a Chicago screw, but decided to re-design them both to be more form fitting... I am in the process of re-designing these parts this week. See how far I've gotten.

Looking forward... 

Once the final designs for Karuna's hand and gauntlet have been finished, I will be starting on the second set of milestones that I've set for the Fellowship; material and process experimentation for the creation of hands.

"Weeks 4-9: Research, design and prototype with alternative materials and processes for the creation of hands. Materials of interest include; (1) exos shaping technology, (2) silicone rubber molds and (3) cast-able flexible materials.  Processes and outcomes of interest include; (1) laser cutting for fabrication and flat-pack design, (2) creating standardized molds for alternative production of 3D printed parts and (3) casting flexible materials to increase potential range of motion, aid in comfort and integration on the wearer.  Throughout these tests, design aesthetic and function will be prioritized to facilitate innovation." - Written Plan by Caitlin Driver

Last week, Frankie and Adream had a representative for DJO Global visit the DCRL. They brought with them various products that utilize exos shaping technology. The flexible sheet material used in their products was fun to play around with; it required a brief heating and then was fully mold-able to any desired area on the body. Frankie is investing in some of the material, so I can begin to experiment with it individually and with 3D printed components. I really hope that through the material explorations I can find a new way to design hands effectively without spending the amount of time it currently takes to create hands with 3D printing. I will be posting daily during the week on my blog about my progress.