3rd Year Product Design – ‘Stack and Snake’ Field Project/ RSA BRIEF

Alongside setting up the exhibition for our final year work, we had the choice of briefs to work towards. For this I decided to choose the brief ‘Fair Play’ as it appealed to my interests of play. To begin, I started by looking at existing products on the market. In our tutorial groups, we met up several times in Cardiff to explore the range of toy shops, gaining a higher insight of existing products and possible direction. From these sessions we spoke to several employees at shops such as Mothercare and Hamleys to find what products were most commonly bought, these being educational toys (lego, minecraft etc.) and high chair toys for the younger market.

I grew up playing with Lego and Knex and decided to go towards the route of building and educating. From this i looked into the existing educational toys and the one area which stood out to me was the idea of the stack-able rings which have been around for many years but the changes have been minimal. I decided to go straight into concept sketching to see what ideas I was able to produce, to give me a starting point.

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After tutorial meetings and feedback from parents, the snake design came out the most popular due to linking play with colour and putting this into a multi functioning product. This then gave me the idea to start playing with shapes to see what outcomes I could produce. Below are a few images portraying this through the use of Plasticine, blue foam and 3D printing. I sat in on a lecture which was based on the play of children which focused on what attracts a child to a product, this being down to the stimulation of the 5 senses.

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The latter images (Orange 3D print) became my breakthrough. The idea was to click each module into place allowing a joining connection along the entire body. However, from further development, the rectangle originally used only had 2 possible tessellation. After looking into the different shapes and edges, I was lead towards the Octagon. This gave 8 Possible rotations. From this I looked into making the parts hollow with a cutout allowing the child to see the inserted ball whilst it flows through the pieces, keeping with the basic circles, squares and triangles.

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For the batch/bulk producing of my product, there may be issues due to the removal of shapes, restricting specific manufacturing processes. However, my product is aimed towards the ever developing machines of 3D printers, as they are quickly becoming accessible to all those in the design area due to the dropping of prices due to competition on an ever expanding market. With the production of machines available to print an entire street of houses (from concrete) in under 24 hours, there is reason to agree with those that believe that 3D printing will one day become as common as the internet. 3D printers also have the ability to print in a range of material, in this case PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) which is completely biodegradable material which is manufactured from plant-based resources such as corn starch or sugar cane.

Final Outcome

Age –  2+

The toy is separated into 7 different components.

1. Head

2. Jaw

3. Small Layer x4

4. Medium Layer x4

5. Large Layer x4

6. Tail

7. Ball

As you can see from the images supplied, each layer consists of 4 of the same part repeated, which forms a complete circle/layer, which can then be stacked alongside the other layers.

Different Functions (Educating)

1. Stacking of product (maximizing floor space when not in use)

2. Different tessellations

3. Finding correct built to allow ball to pass through entirety of product.

My product appeals highly to 3 of the 5 senses, Sight, Sound and Touch.

The final outcome model portrays the functions extremely well, although the use of ball become an issue as more weight was needed to produce the momentum to allow the ball to exit the tail, with slight alterations needed on the shape cutouts to remove any possible rubbing which caused the ball to slow down.

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Final Presentation

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