Michigan inventor Brian Groves noticed that changing the light bulb in his chandelier at home was rather difficult as it required a ladder and an extra hand or a long, precarious stretch from the second floor landing. He recognized that this was an issue with all upward facing screw-in bulbs. No stranger to solving problems with novel solutions Brian set out on a prototyping journey to overcome his light-changing challenge that he assumed many others across the world shared.
He began developing a testing rig and fashioning together parts around the house to make a rudimentary tool to grip and turn the light bulb. He hired a designer to begin working on CAD file generation and early 3D printed prototypes but his progress was stunted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the Summer of 2020 Brian contacted Thingsmiths to pick-up where his previous designer had left off. He brought in some of his 3D printed tests and the files that were available. We went over the full scope of the project including how the device should function, how the device should look, and what materials would be necessary for prototyping.
We began with initial CAD modifications to clean up the files, reduce material, and improve on the function of the device. We then moved onto test prints to review and trial with Brian and his many light bulbs. After many 3D printed prototypes and revision cycles we had a functioning product made of Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Thermal Polyurethane (TPU). Brian was ready to move onto the next step in the product design process: injection molding.
After much research Brian settled on a molding company and sent them the 3D printed samples and CAD files. Our work with Brian didn’t quite end here. After receiving impressive sample parts from the molders we used a pressure gauge to measure the performance of the molded pieces against the 3D printed prototype. Two more final revisions to the arms of the gripper informed by our measurements and the product was complete. Brian’s Chandelier Swan was finished and put on the market. Brian had successfully brought his product to market with the help of our designers and production team.