Following a combination of three different, multi-deciplined minds, we had finalised our TOTEM design. It wasn’t until it was produced in Solidworks and printed we saw flaws in our initial design.
I am usually the one in the group project that immediately pleads not to be asked to do any of the Solidworks modelling for project. However, with three years previous experience versus three months for my other two ladies, I was out of luck – or was I? After a CAD-free summer I dreaded that I may be a little rusty but I found it’s much like riding a bike: you never forget. The initial spinner and more complex shapes may have taken a little longer than I had wished to spend in front of a computer screen, but I found once I had created the basic shapes they became easy to manipulate and alter the shapes as well as including more intricate touches such as the helix engrave on the ergonomic, invite-action inspired groove at the top of the spinner handle.
The ease to change the CAD quickly came in good use after discovering our thought-to-be ‘final’ design was having trouble spinning and would be even more trouble to manufacture. After speaking to professionals were familiar with the CNC lathe and its capabilities, we were advised to provide wider filters and more organic, curved edges to support the CNC tooling.
As the design was already at a 1:1 scale, the alterations we were minimal effort wise, yet crucial feasibility wise. I was able to change the original sharp angle that the point came into to a much more organic and curvaceous one. The point at the bottom, I softened and created a larger base to with a smooth, wide fillet. In the prototype, until we had sanded down the point it was unable to spin on its own, let alone with all its friends taking a piggy-back. By creating a wider, rounded surface area at the bottom of the spinner allowed for a guaranteed spin in addition to more gravitational support when all the pieces were stacked in a totem-pole-like fashion.
The top was made given a large fillet to fit the new theme of the spinner design in addition to providing a more tactile-friendly base as we had often caught out fingers on the sharp edge around the base before.
The neck of the spinner did not change to drastically apart from the removable of the helix that wrapped around it. My reasoning behind this was that I wanted the emphasis of the spin to be on the base and for it to create an optical illusion of sorts when it spun. With the spiral design on both the neck and base, it became over-kill and looked a little tacky. We wanted to our design to replicate classic models from childhood that emphasis on the natural wood with pops of subtle colour. The bright red colour was added to the ergonomic grip, base and helix on the base as I felt these were the most important parts and worked much like invite actions and even could be considered instructional:
1. Stack pieces on the base
2. Grip neck and spin TOTEM
3. Watch your design spin.
Two of the six shapes had slight alterations too with the diamond having a less complex top and bottom and the donut being one piece so as not to compromise the standard of the toy in the manufacture stage and ensure it was feasible.
Overall, I feel we did not compromise with the shape and design for the feasibility of the manufacture. Instead I feel it improved the overall form and created one that best-suited it’s natural connotations.
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