Iced Coffee Grip

The goal of this project was to design an accessory to enhance my daily beverage routine. For me, I enjoy (and often require) drinking an iced vanilla latte every day in a plastic disposable cup. The problem is, I have an essential tremor, which, when mixed with caffeine becomes much worse. So, when I began ideating for this project, I set out to design something that would help me be able to manage my tremor by minimizing spilling and making my cup easier to hold. 

Final Product

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Process Summary

Ideation

Here are the sketches I made of potential solutions to my problem. After receiving feedback from my peers and instructor, I decided to move forward with the design indicated by the black star. I felt like this idea was the most elegant product I could fabricate given the material limitations (sheet acrylic) and could most effectively minimize my shaking because of the two different kinds of finger and hand support.

Prototyping

I started practicing using CAD software by modeling the plastic disposable cup my accessory was for. I also started to attempt to model the accessory itself, but I decided I needed to create a low-fidelity prototype first to better understand the dimensions and how it would fit to my hand.

I also made some sketches of how I would fasten each of the handles to the top and bottom rings of my design. I would need to figure out how to create some kind of tab to provide more surface area for the glue to bind.

I used paper to make a prototype of my accessory. This gave me an approximation of the shape and dimensions of the rings and the handles.

Fabrication

I traced the pieces of my paper prototype to use to CAD the shape and size of each of the parts. This of course, was not particularly accurate (which I realized later). So, I added measurements based on the paper parts to my CAD parts to correct the sizes.

Next, I laser cut the set of pieces. To heat form the rings, I also laser cut circles out of scrap wood of the correct diameter to mold them around. On my first attempt to heat form the larger top ring, I broke the part. To be safe, I laser cut five new sets of each part to heat form multiple rings, so I could select the best option (and in case I broke any more).

The thin wood circle template I was using resulted in imperfect and jagged edges (left). So, I laser cut a two more circles out of thicker wood to form a thicker template to mold with. Once I started using this, my circles started to become rounder (middle and right).

Once I had formed all of my pieces, I was ready to assemble. I used (too much) acrylic cement to bind the parts together. As I was assembling the accessory, I found that it would be limiting to include the bottom ring, as I would not be able to use it on different sized cups, so I chose to remove it from my design.

The above prototype was sloppy, but I used it to optimize how the piece fit to my hand and altered some of the parts. I laser cut two new sets of parts and was very careful this time to mind my craftsmanship (and go easy on the glue!).

In the end, my final product (right) was much cleaner and sturdier than my original full prototype (left).

And, in playing with the iterations, I found that it was able to help stabilize my grip by providing support to the back of my hand with the curved handle piece. Additionally, I found that it offered different ways to help me carry my iced coffee without spilling by holding the handles in different ways. More images of the final product are shown in the gallery at the top of the page.

And, here are the parts I broke throughout this process!

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