Prototyping – Rachel Zinsmeyer

Hey everyone!  One more blog post from Scarlet this week.  We’ve spent the past several classes working on modeling and creating our official prototype.  After Savannah and I figured out precisely what dimensions we were working with by sketching out several different views of our design, we started working in AutoCAD Inventor and familiarizing ourselves with the software.  It’s been several years since we last used it seriously, and we wanted to be sure we still knew how to create designs in it.  We also were trying to see if there was a way we could share files of parts we made, so that one person wasn’t building the entire model, but we were having some trouble.  We though we could use the school’s shared folder to pass the parts to each other, but when we opened the files, we couldn’t maneuver or alter the parts.  Because the files were located in the shared drive, and we didn’t have “ownership” over them (in the eyes of the computer), AutoCAD wouldn’t let us edit them.  We found a way to work around this, though, by copying the files and moving them to a new location.  This fixed the problem.  It’s a little bit cumbersome, but it’s easier than one person doing all the work.  If you have a different, better way of doing this, we’re all ears!  Leave us a comment below.

Finished sketches
These are some of the sketches we made while trying to determine the various dimensions.

In addition to working in AutoCAD and creating a model that we can print out on the 3D printer, Scarlet is also working on a larger prototype.  We had been struggling to find a way to make the life-size model come to life on the tight budget we have, but we finally found a solution.  The nurse at school had an old wheelchair that was breaking and not useful anymore, which she graciously donated to us.  We started tinkering with it last class, ripping off most of the parts.  We pulled off the cracked and shattered plastic armrests, the seat, the brakes, and a few other pieces that were looking pretty shabby.  In addition to replacing the items we removed, the front right wheel has several spokes that are completely broken.  The whole thing will need to be removed and replaced.  Our team also needs to polish the metal portions of the chair, as most of the sections are dull and starting to rust in places.  All this needs to happen just to restore the chair to working order.  The chair also needs to be fitted with several new pieces of equipment to help establish it as a pediatric-centric wheelchair.

Broken front wheel
This is the wheel with the broken spokes. It’s pretty dangerous to try and push someone with the wheel like this – it bends almost ninety degrees when someone sits in it.
Broken Arm Rests
These are the armrests we took off. As you can see, the one on the right in this picture doesn’t look all that much like an armrest anymore.
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