Stephen Surlin

3D, 3D Printing, Design, Product Design

ETH: Ergonomic Tool Holder

Ergonomic Tool Holder (ETH), an assistive technology for creating an adaptive tool usage device for people with limited use of their hands. The easy to grip ergonomic handle creates a very comfortable and firm grip without needing to apply much force, along with being able to slip into the palm for people with difficulty extending their fingers. The handle attaches to the main tool gripping body using a ball pivot clamp, allowing for finer angular adjustment of the tool being used. The ball joint and tool can be tightened into place using the tightening bolts and the included wrench.

The grips were created by laser scanning a grip I created using modeling clay. This gave the grips a very natural ergonomic shape that can be reproduced in high detail using 3D printing. I’ve included photos of the 3D scanning process and a photo of the iterative process I went through, including my research into mesostructures as flexible grips and rotary tightening methods.

I was inspired early on in my design process by calligraphy pens, and in particular the ergonomic oblique style pens. The way these pens added a more ergonomic angle for using the tool and the radical way in which this angle can change the position and comfort of the hand and wrist encouraged me to explore the ways 3D printing could be applied to this challenge.

The tool holder was designed to hold: pens, pencils, exacto knives, tablet stylus’, calligraphy pens and more. The ETH system was also designed to be modular, by attaching a different tool clamp to the end of the grip, flat or wide tools could be used. The grip could also be made larger for different users, or the user could laser scan their own clay mold.

The ETH project was designed in Fusion 360 and Meshmixer. This model was printed on my Printrbot Simple Metal with Natural PLA filament.



eth-pencil eth-holding-pen-2