Year: Fall 2018
Duration: 12 weeks
Program: Stanford Mechanical Engineering
Project Type: Individual
Role: Research/Design/Engineer Lead
Tools: Woodshop, Sandcasting, Mill​​​​​​​
Brief: "For this project, think about your own life experience to date. What are your passions? With what do you have deep knowledge and experience? How could you use your passion, expertise, interests, and experience to frame an ME203 project that would be deeply meaningful to you or someone else?"
Only 10% of the population is left handed. For years, companies have been manufacturing and selling products with specific grooves and shapes that are designed to comfortably fit a user's right hand. As a lefty, artist, and avid lover of giraffes, I wanted to recreate the traditional 'Moscow Mule' cup with specific elements that incorporate aspects of my interests and personality.
Materials: Aluminum, Copper, Steel
Processes: Sculpting, Woodworking, Pattern Making, Sand Casting, Milling, Painting
Design Goals: Creating an ergonomic handle for people who are left-handed, while maintaining artistic integrity by sculpting and casting a product designed to look like a giraffe.
To bring the digital designs to life, the optimal process for this product was sandcasting. Doing so allowed for producing elaborate parts by creating a cavity of the desired shape for each part of the handle within the sand and pouring molten metal into it (Olsen, 2018). In this case, I chose to use aluminum. Based on the measurements and weight distribution between the handle and cup, it was important to use a lighter metal to ensure the cup could stand regardless of the volume of liquid it’s holding.
Pattern Making: Air-drying clay was used to create a two-piece pattern for sand casting based on the volume tolerance need for molding such a complex shape.
Ramming Up: Sand, a refractory material, was packed around the clay patterns. The complexity and fluidity of the parts required individual casting processes for each.
Pattern Pulling: After completing the ramming up process in which all of the clay was tightly packed, the parts were carefully removed, leaving behind detailed cavities for the molten metal.
Once the metal was poured, the parts were left to cool and solidify. They were then removed from the sand molds and the gates, runners, and drags were saw off. The remainder of the excess metal on each part was filed down to their intended shapes and designs. This was completed by using a variety of sandpaper grits.
Once the handle pieces were sanded and smoothed, I planned for the attachment of the two critical parts. First I drilled a 5/32" hole into one end of the head and one end of the handle, and then connected them using a 405 slotted spring pin. I then sculpted and sanded a wooden block to use as a casing for the handle for the milling process. Then, I drilled two 5/32" holes into the handle and then tapped threads to connect the handle and cup using the two screws. Once completed, the handle was painted using a copper color and left to dry for several days. Once dry, the handle and cup were attached, cleaned, and polished.