This week we worked on ordering our materials. There was a lot of stress put on the group because we were forced to really think and commit to the design we had. During the ordering process, we had a lot of conflicting ideas of what we thought the floatation device was going to look like. Trihn and I thought that the float was only covering the upper arm of a child were as Toni and Chloe thought it was going to cover the full arm. We had really interesting conversations about the problems and solutions to both the ideas. We even made cut patterns as a sort of pre prototype to see how our ideas would play out. Ultimately we decided that have a upper arm float and belt floatie were going to be our final design. Another thing we discussed was how how device would differ from a regular arm float. Basically what makes our design so unique is the range of adjustability that will be put into it. In the upper arm float there will be three rows of three of small clips, like so drawn in the picture to the right.
The idea is to have the child be able to pick which size has a best fit to them by clipping the float together on their arm, and then inflate the arm float with air. The belt will be a semi-similar concept, except that it will be closed and held together by a buckle which maximises waist size range for a more comfortable and consume floatation device fit. After decided the design Chloe began calculations for the amount of materials we would need to make our flotation devices come to life! The materials we decided to order so far were vinyl and neoprene.
I did further research on how the materials will be attached. I have previous years of experience with sowing, and so that will be a vital skill when moving forward with out design. However I was unsure of how vinyl was attached. Vinyl will be used to hold the air and keep the children afloat when they are in water. and so it is extremely important for us to know how to properly seal it, so that air will not escape. I found a couple of sites that share how to “heat seal” vinyl, but they mostly all require some sort of specialized tool. I did find someone who said it was possible to use a heat gun which we do have. A couple of people have used vinyl as part of a craft project and used an iron to seal it, it maybe a possible method for use to try. The current idea for how to bind all these materials together is to heat seal the vinyl using either of the above mentioned ways, with about an 1/2 an inch border (can be seen as the solid line in the image above), and then sowing on the neoprene with a type of thread called texturized [ ] with in (can be seen as the dotted line with in the solid line in the image above) that border 1/2 inch sealed border.
Overall things are really coming together. Our biggest concern are the measurements that we found, because in the paper prototype we build it seems like it won’t be big enough for children that are 6. We have discussed shortening the age range of children, and will continue to discuss it till a working prototype is made.