Additive Manufacturing Strategies

PlusFab Team Shares Files for Ergonomic Tool Grips 3D Printed with Formlabs’ Flexible Resin

ST Medical Devices

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formlabs-logo-grey@2xErgonomics are more important than ever in today’s busy world where so many individuals perform important but repetitive tasks. Efficiency is the highest priority, but other factors come into play.

Ergonomics is often associated not just with efficiency and comfort but also aesthetics, in that most ergonomic items tend to have a pleasing, streamlined, elegant design. It is also about designing objects for the individual and considering the processes and tasks that are required.

Good design, both utilitarian and aesthetically, is part of creating a safe, comprehensive, functional product that a person feels good about using. Work tools are obviously at the top of the list. We’ve all seen the ergonomic keyboard and the ergonomic chair that seem to come and go in trendy waves, along with virtually everything under the sun in ergonomics for work from the mouse, lamp, and computer stand, to the posture correcting device.

clients-plusfabFormlabs recently highlighted a project in ergonomics by Andrew Edman, an industrial designer and artist as well as co-founder of PlusFab. Edman and his team heard about the new resin by Formlabs, called Flexible, and they wanted to give it a try. Using the rubber-like material and a clear resin, Edman and PlusFab’s intentions in making the tool handles was triplefold in that: one, they just wanted to try the stuff out. Two, they thought the overmolded handle would be a great idea for products they had in mind — and three, they were able to cleverly insert their logo onto the handles as well, not just for marketing purposes but also for ownership, in assuring that the tools always make their way back to their workshop.

With a handle design that uses multiple ‘channels’ to adhere to the grip, the rubber flows through the the main part of the tool. PlusFab 3D printed the tool handle using the aforementioned most current Formlabs clear resin in the standard form, but for the maximum amount of transparency, they added their own touch by sanding it to ‘5000 grit.’ It only takes one look to see that Edman and his crew were able to use the Formlabs resin to complete a simple but very successful study in ergonomics, displaying added efficiency and safety, as well as quality in craftsmanship and aesthetics. They’ve certainly turned the handle, or grip, into something extraordinary, and have shared the STL files so others can do the same.

PlusFab_handlephoto1PlusFab is a company on a mission to make real products, and to do it exceptionally. Designing products and solutions, their goal is to help clients get their products on the market in a streamlined fashion from concept to production. They believe in “translating beautiful ideas into beautiful objects.”

Formlabs is comprised of a group of talented innovators from MIT who founded the company in 2011 with a commitment to combining design and performance with 3D printing — and sharing it with the world. They provide a total package of solutions for the user, from software to 3D printers, to materials and finishing products.

Ergonomics affect the world, your world. And examples are virtually everywhere from the desk to the ATM you used on your lunch break and signs at the airport — not to mention in your everyday toolbox.

Have you 3D printed any tool grips? Is this a design you might download and 3D print? Tell us about it in the 3D Printed Ergonomic Tool Grips forum over at 3DPB.com.

PlusFab_handlephoto2

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