Project - Technical Problem

Hi,

I’m currently working on a college design project which is a walking aid.
I have a few questions regarding the production methods in a few parts of this product shown on the image.

I would say i really lack experience in this, so i need your help.
First of all, my material used in this design is all aluminium but of course they are various types of aluminium out there which i’m quite confuse of but most probably would use aluminium mix alloy.

So in this case, where the picture is shown.



here’s a link with some information about aluminium and the techniques for production

http://www.eaa.net/

In my opinion it is important to study first the material and the possibilities before to start designing something…
Why did you choose aluminium to work with, if I may ask?

Seems like plastic might be the best bet here. Anyone else feel like Aluminum would be expensive and very heavy at that size?

Hi there,

The reason why i chose aluminium is due to it sustainability and it’s tensile strength, while in actuality aluminium will be very light and stable which is a prerequisite for a walking aid.
Yes,i did consider plastic as well, but from my view is that even though you uses plastic, you still need to build the structure with either metal - either steel, or alu. Then i felt that it would be a waste to cover it with plastic, and the production for plastic molding is more expensive than aluminium casting at the end of the day. :smiley:

Thank you for all the info.

school project huh? OK, I’ll answer only your direct questions, you have more searching and work to do.

  1. Your tube handle would be formed in an NC tube bender as one part including the linear segments at the ends where you are asking about the T shape design. The verticals of the T shape ends would require welding if aluminum, similar to tube joinery on aluminum bicycle frames.

“If this whole connector is a (One Part Bases Design)…” it will not be assemblable into your massive one piece solid handle ends. But you know that, come on, how can it get in there?

  1. The Handle Bar is One Part… it’s massive, solid, blocky, has details formed from perpendicular planes which means complex sliding core tooling.


    This looks like a Solidworks design, not a coherent industrial design.

Not to discourage you, but by looking at the design I am wondering if the form is being determined but aesthetic direction or by your abilities in the software. I only say that because, particularly in Solidworks, you see a lot of instances of form being driven by the capabilities of the software or the operator (surfacing difficulties specifically). If so, maybe a small investment of time in surfacing tutorials would be best. I think you will find it will pay off in the long run when you can express your design intent without being limited too much by the software.

As for you handle issue, I assume you are including the T on the aluminum part for torsional stability. Why not use a different cross section for the tube and eliminate the welded section? Besides the assembly problem, I agree that the current handle design is pretty much un-moldable with the un-cored mass near the bottom and the round slide pin needed for the hole for the T part of the handle that has to shutoff against the steel for the gap in between the top of the handle and the bottom portion of the handle. It is technically possible I suppose but unrealistic for production. I would look into simplifying the handle design to be moldable left-to-right, and using a rectangular or oval tube for the crossbar (secured with a fastener of some sort). To reduce mass in the thick areas maybe core out the base plastic and spec a tpe overmold to fill in those gaps (added bonus of making it easier on the user’s hands).

Hope that helps.
Good luck,

That is a mess load of un-related forms coming together to make one scary looking object that is visually imposing, and visually confusing. Even if form follows function in your world, it doesn’t do jack if no one will use the product, the function of the form is to engage the user. Reminds me of a project I did once for the Military for a piece of safety equipment. It was essentially a restyle job, when we asked why we needed to do this project since the current safety item worked perfectly, they said the issue was no soldier would use it, no matter how strictly they were ordered and punished for not using the item… and these were soldiers under command! Our task was to make them WANT to use it.

Hi guys,
Thanks for all the advices & replies, will look into it.

To Pier:

This looks like a Solidworks design, not a coherent industrial design.

No idea what you mean, well Solidworks is just part of a design tool i use as a 3D modeling program & what does it gonna do with coherent industrial design. ( as my project scratch from research to drawings from drawings to drawings to drawings - On PAPERS then to PC & back to Drawings Back to PC )

To Yo:

That is a mess load of un-related forms coming together to make one scary looking object that is visually imposing, and visually confusing. Even if form follows function in your world, it doesn’t do jack if no one will use the product, the function of the form is to engage the user. Reminds me of a project I did once for the Military for a piece of safety equipment. It was essentially a restyle job, when we asked why we needed to do this project since the current safety item worked perfectly, they said the issue was no soldier would use it, no matter how strictly they were ordered and punished for not using the item… and these were soldiers under command! Our task was to make them WANT to use it.

I totally understand what you’re saying.
As i started off this project from research based.
Definitely i’m not trying to fancy things out with unrelated forms & create a piece of junk which will do no good but to create more trash on earth.
But appreciate your comments as it seems to your personal opinion that this product looks more complicated or perhaps ugly. :laughing:

To Chowmander:
Hi,i’ve been through Intermediate & advance training in solidworks program that which i would say i’m still learning to pick up new things as i know it isn’t that simple to master a program. Thank you for advice as i understand what your trying to say as forcing applications into the design won’t help at all. For this project, i didn’t use surfacing feature at all, will pick up advice still. :smiley:

Frankly it looks engineered, not designed. knowing what you know now from a functional point of view, I’d zoom out and revisit the entire thing from an aesthetic point of view, starting with the most general look and feel and moving toward detail resolution.

Its not enough to work well, or look good, it should be both.

It looks, engineered, but really isn’t thought out. Aside from the issue of assembling the cross handlebar to the un-moldable hand grips, the rectangular vertical supports that taper in are also not really manufacturable. If they had a round section, you might be able to swedge them down, but not as two opposite faces of a square section. The big leg with the face highlighted purple is also a mysterious part in that there aren’t many ways to make it. Maybe solid AL? Rotationally molded plastic?

I’d recommend getting a cheap walker and taking it apart, or downloading an instruction manual. The assembly processes are pretty simple. Jam some tubes into some plastic fittings. Jam wheels into the bottom of the tube. Obviously the current crop of this stuff is fairly utilitarian looking and not really pretty, but it works. I’d take a step back, examine the production and assembly processes, and build from there. It really will simplify your design process, ie, making it look good and work well.

I’m a firefighter for my day job and we have 6 “retirement” and nursing homes in our area. Needless to say we go to them quite often.

I don’t have much to add about your design other than an observation a fellow firefighter made a few tours ago; He said, “why don’t they sell walkers with tennis balls already fastened to the rear legs?” Interesting observation as almost every single walker in the “walker parking area” outside the dining hall has tennis balls on the rear legs.

good luck.

To Brett

It looks, engineered, but really isn’t thought out. Aside from the issue of assembling the cross handlebar to the un-moldable hand grips, > the rectangular vertical supports that taper in are also not really manufacturable. > If they had a round section, you might be able to swedge them down, but not as two opposite faces of a square section. The big leg with the face highlighted purple is also a mysterious part in that there aren’t many ways to make it. Maybe solid AL? Rotationally molded plastic?

No worries Brett, it will not be a taper in which requires knocking & ‘deforming’ the product. ( actually not a taper at all ).
Thanks for your feedback. :smiley:

To all:

(even though it looks impossible & illogical with the T shape connector but no harm thinking for fun).

The reason why i issued the T- connector is because, i thought it will hold the entire handle bar (by welding) without the need of using fasteners. :laughing:

But seriously, i really don’t understand why is it unable to be produce?
Doesn’t it just requires molding? I did get some feedback from some manufacturer on this issue, shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Aesthetic wise, well i really appreciate your input, as there is room for improvements. :smiley: Will do better next time.
Overall, nice discussion!

To Caffeine,
:smiley: Tennis ball on the rear legs. ( don’t really get you :wink: )

Here’s another 3D view of my product.
Apologize on the resolution issue.


What was your brief? I only say this as I am struggling to understand what the point is, why does it need to fold up, when will it be folded up? (If this is simply a case of folding them up for when they are shipped out then i can kind of understand.)

If this is intended for the elderly or those with a disablity I would love to see the background research and insights you gained from observing people to see how it relates to your final design. As one of my many paying summer jobs I worked at a care home and saw many walkers, zimmers, scooters. There massive plus point are they are all instant solutions ready to go. If your aiming at the elderly (75+) most, (not all) but most have very little mobility not just interms of walking but also interms of manipulation, bending etc . . . . . so it begs the question how do your legs unfold? The pivot point to me looks very low down (knee height), do they have to to reach down and extend manually? Or where you planning on the legs some how automatically extending when weight was applied to the cross beam (sort of a combination of weight application and act of pushing forward which allows the legs to retract back.) ← if so, you will be amazed at the amount of core strength that requires, as well as cordiation.

Assuming that the purpose of it folding is “space saving” and it is the user that folds this up, once that is folded where is it placed? All zimmers, scooters etc that i saw were located in areas of the room that were right next to where the person was. I.e next to the chair in the lounge or next to the bed. Your design would need to lean against a wall in order to stand up, there doesn’t seem to be any brakes on the wheels so the potential for that to then fall onto the ground is high and then UH OH, how does the user then pick it up?

Another functionalty which zimmers in particular have (although I don’t think this was intended) was that they are used as aids from getting up from chairs, The elderly use them as extra support therefore the walkers need to always be in there ready to go state (i,e not folded up). (The donn koh link shows something similar with regarding the assistance of lifing)

A fantastic example of a similar project done brilliantly is Donn Kohs LeapFrog. The difference being that the user being a child the folding aspect is more aimed at transportation in cars which is more than likely to be attended to by a parent.

As mentioned before it would be great to see the evidence behind this and why it is needed.

Hi, i’m not exactly doing a presentation on the whole of my product yet.
So what i did is just upload a brief view on this product due to technical issues.
On the whole my product is aim at eldery people. ( if you need to know )

The reason why it can be folded it is due to common sense that when a family travel in a whole or so, you won’t have a bulky walking aid stuff at the back of the car, or you might like a BIG BULKY WALKING AID hanging & tight above your van/mpv/caravan or so, that is why it CAN BE FOLDED ( Duh… ).

Or where you planning on the legs some how automatically extending when weight was applied to the cross beam (sort of a combination of weight application and act of pushing forward which allows the legs to retract back.) ← if so, you will be amazed at the amount of core strength that requires, as well as cordiation.

By using WEIGHT APPLICATION IS actually very risky & dangerous for the eldery people, as safety is the main concern in this case.

While the folding mechanism is actually a spring release mechanism which i didn’t displayed in the two pictures above, which i didn’t decide to upload it anyway because i’m not doing a FINAL PRESENTATION on my product YET. Plus not to worry about reaching for the KNEE length issue as + maybe that’s not the issue at all because anyone in their right mind… DO YOU THINK A 75 YEAR OLD ELDERY PEOPLE WILL BE DOING THE FOLDING ? PERHAPS NOT, SOMEONE WOULD HAVE ASSISTED THEM IN DOING SO + even if it’s so, the folding is SUPER EASY TO BE DONE + It’s not heavy they still can do it. The next thing is, you won’t really need to fold it very often, and how many people will actually keep their walking aid IN THE CUPBOARD, unless the eldery people needed shifting to a smaller size cane support at home. Plus do you FOLD it & place it next to you when you’re using it , be it a walker or a rollator unless you’ll be sitting down for a long-long-time. Anyway i like the way you put it - referring to the DROP DOWN PICK UP-PART. - will look into it. On the whole i really DO know that my design isn’t perfect. It seems that before you even design, you do GATHER LOTS & LOTS OF INFORMATION but then when you starts to design it, it sorts of strays away from changes to changes made. ( sigh, i really do not know how to put it to you )

With the PULL-ROTATE-RELEASE MECHANISM, it would be A MILLION TIMES LESS TEDIOUS THAN TO SCREW IT IN & YES IT’S ALREADY DONE. :smiley: As for your DONN KOH reference, i really do appreciate your sharing. While i’m doing the research of the PROJECT obviously i already HAD SEEN, & REVIEW his AMAZING DESIGN. + Donn’s design is for cerebral palsy, his entire design is a different concept aimed at different needs.

Assuming that the purpose of it folding is “space saving” and it is the user that folds this up, once that is folded where is it placed? All zimmers, scooters etc that i saw were located in areas of the room that were right next to where the person was. I.e next to the chair in the lounge or next to the bed. Your design would need to lean against a wall in order to stand up, there doesn’t seem to be any brakes on the wheels so the potential for that to then fall onto the ground is high and then UH OH, how does the user then pick it up?



Another functionalty which zimmers in particular have (although I don’t think this was intended) was that they are used as aids from getting up from chairs, The elderly use them as extra support therefore the walkers need to always be in there ready to go state (i,e not folded up). (The donn koh link shows something similar with regarding the assistance of lifing)

YES… that part doesn’t run from my research as well, no worries, already been there.

You might want to check out the TRAVEL up the stairs walker, idea by Daniel Molloy as well, it’s really a nice idea though there’s some problems yet to be solve on it, from what i see.

Not to worry about the breaking system because this thing has to have a break alright. - :mrgreen:

To be frank, deep down, my mind tells me that my design turns out to be Pointless as well. Too bad, datelines is near.
It isn’t really pretty as well. :mrgreen:

ps: you’re not my lecturer spying on me right ? ( that’s a joke ) :laughing: