Philadelphia MakerSpace NextFab Helps Inventor Start a Shovelution

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The Shovelution.

The Shovelution.

The Shovelution is a spring-loaded second handle add-on that can be attached to just about any snow shovel. The user simply attaches it on to the shovel’s handle and it can be adjusted for the user’s height and level of comfort. The second handle allows the shovel to be used without the user bending or twisting their back, which makes the process of shoveling snow easier and almost eliminates the risks of snow shoveling-related back pain or back injuries. It does this by shifting the strain required to lift and toss the snow from the lower back to the much stronger upper body. The Shovelution needs only about half of the shoveling motion that is needed to move a traditional shovel, and it is about three times faster at completing a shoveling cycle than a traditional shovel.

3dp_shovelution_scoopThe creator of the Shovelution is 57-year-old molecular biologist and computer systems engineer Howie Rosenshine, who created the ergonomic shovel add-on to capture “wasted energy” that is typically lost when using standard shovels. According to Rosenshine there are no other shovels or tools that can make snow shoveling easier and faster, including expensive bent handled shovels, hand-pushed snow plows or sleds. With traditional shovels, the user needs to spend additional energy after each throw in order to bend down and scoop up a new shovel-full of snow. But the second handle on the Shovelution allows the user to stay upright and simply transfer the strain of moving the snow on the much stronger pectoral muscles.

Rosenshine describes himself as a natural tinkerer and problem solver, and he spent several years creating and testing different Shovelution prototypes before he settled on the perfect solution. When he started, Rosenshine was slowly developing the Shovelution at home using crude materials and tools, so he decided to join a local makerspace to give him access to a much better prototyping facility. NextFab, located in Philadelphia, is a collaborative workspace that calls themselves a “gym for innovators.” It was at NextFab that Rosenshine was able to take his crude prototypes to the next level thanks to resources like CAD software packages and 3D printers.

The Shovelution attached to a standard snow shovel.

The Shovelution attached to a standard snow shovel.

“The primary machining tool that I use is the Bridgeport vertical mill. Of course, I use things like the industrial band saws and metal grinders too. I do a lot of 3D printing, using both the commercial-grade 3D printers (Stratasys) and the consumer-grade 3D printers (Bukito). And I use the Solidworks and Photoshop workstations as well,” Rosenshine explained to Technical.ly.

The on-site 3D printers allowed Rosenshine to quickly redesign, 3D print and test prototypes quickly and efficiently, and allowed him to transition from the testing phase directly to manufacturing, assembling and marketing. Once he settled on his final design, NextFab also gave him the resources to connect with mostly local, American suppliers who help him manufacture the final retail product almost entirely state-side. In fact, the steel parts used on the Shovelution are manufactured by James Spring & Wire, the historic company that was founded by the inventor of the Slinky.

You can learn more about how the Shovelution works here:

NextFab was founded in 2009 by Dr. Evan Malone who operated the community makerspace with the support of the University City Science Center. He brought together a staff full of artists, engineers, and designers to help Philadelphia innovators, inventors and makers. The membership fees granted users access to the technical consultation, custom fabrication resources and the necessary technical training to develop their prototype or project from beginning to end. The original location was a 4,000-square-foot facility that has now expanded to a 21,000-square-foot facility and a second 4,000-square-foot satellite facility. The staff has grown from 8 to 20 full-time positions who provide training to more than 1,500 people a year.

The NextFab lobby.

The NextFab lobby.

You may not yet have heard of the Shovelution, but it was recently named “Best New Tool” by Popular Mechanics and word about the amazing new invention is spreading quickly. The Shovelution was designed for a snow shovel, but it can be attached to any type of shovel. You can order a single Shovelution for only $29.95 or two Shovolutions for $54.95, each with a 30-day return policy. Discuss in the Shovelution & 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.

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