My Experiences in BUS 358: Innovation, Design, and Prototyping

Final Project
Make something.

Demonstrate the values of the course and incorporate the concepts and technologies that we had learned over the course of the semester.

[Design Process Steps]
DISCOVERY: My intermediate project, the RingyThingy, may have provided you with some insight into who I am – an individual who appreciates the concept that everything has a “place”, and that sometimes, that “place” needs to be well-organized. I enjoy shopping, namely grocery shopping, and I spend hours a month shopping. There is never a time that I go shopping without my cell phone and a coffee (iced, hot, whatever). I can never find a convenient way to hold either of these things since the baskets of shopping carts (all of them) have “slats” that things (phones) can fall through and other things (coffee cups) cannot balance upon easily. I needed a way to keep my phone close at hand (without it falling) and my coffee within reach (and sitting upright).
INTERPRETATION: I should either shop only at Kroger (has cupholders in its smallest carts) OR invent a cupholder for my shopping cart that I can take shopping with me (portable). I looked into pre-existing products on Amazon, and I found a few. All of the online cupholders that I found for purchase were nice, but they were either: metal and only held a cup, needed to be screwed onto a stroller/cart (not portable or convenient), or “ugly.” If I was going to have it my way, I would have to make it myself.
IDEATION: I decided that I would make a cupholder that was portable, stylish, and convenient. Oh, and it had to work. I thought I wanted a 2-cup cupholder, but then I remembered that my phone is also a problem when shopping (and also, I usually go shopping alone, so why did I need 2 cupholders?). I decided I would make a cupholder/phone holder combo that would fit on top of a shopping cart basket (the same cart sizes are used at every store I shop at, luckily) and would be easy to “grab and go.”
EXPERIMENTATION: I researched what types of wood would be easiest to cut into. I debated using plexiglass (laser cutting) OR printing my design, but after remembering the headache I had trying to scale (accurately) my intermediate project for 3D printing and realizing it might take me many, many, many prints to actually get the cupholder to fit a cart correctly, I thought wood might be the best bet since I could paint it to be “stylish.”
I researched which types of wood would be easy and discovered that Balsa wood would probably be my best bet – it would work on the laser cutter or by hand. I had already drafted a design for my cupholder – it would be just wide enough for a cup and my phone and long enough to reach the back of the basket to the front of the basket. It would not impair steering since it would sit in the center of the basket. It would need to be thick enough to not “bend” or “snap” when pressure (weight of phone, drink) were applied. And it would need to snuggly fit a cup (since there is a bit of an incline from the handle on front to the bar on back of the basket).
I decided that the measurements would need to be 16” long, 4” wide, and 1” thick to be “just right” for this project. To determine the size of the cupholder, I simply took a standard coffee cup, turned it upside down, and traced around the lid. I then measured my cellphone and added .5” on each side and traced this onto the wood. I had already taken the wood to an actual shopping cart and marked off where each handle (front) and bar (back) would be. I shaded these areas since I knew I would need to cut those out to accommodate these areas. I shaded the areas I had marked off for the cupholder and the phone holder. Now, it was time to cut. By the time I was ready to cut my design, the laser cutter was down. No big deal – I could do it by hand. With a utility knife. Why not? Lucky thinking that I bought Balsa wood J
I cut out the phone holder, since this only needed to go through one layer. Then, I cut out the cupholder on the same layer (the top layer). I used the cut on this layer to trace the area to cut on the next layer and so on and so forth until all 4 levels of the cupholder were cut out. This strategy allowed for a gentle tapering effect to take place – which accommodated for the unevenness of the shopping cart basket. After cutting all of the levels of the cup and phone holders needed, I cut the bottom level on the very bottom (where the handle and bar would go). I then glued all of the layers together using Elmer’s Maxx Strength Wood Glue. I applied all of my course’s textbooks to the top as “clamps” and left it for 2 days. After 2 days, I sanded down the inside of the cupholder as well as the edges of the entire project – it looked like 1 solid piece of wood, even though it was 4 layers of wood! After sanding, I painted the parts that would be black – the inner of the cupholder, the phone holder, the sides of the whole thing, and the entire bottom. I then painted the top my favorite color – bright purple. After two coats of paint – it was done!
EVOLUTION: I learned a lot about wood and “making” during this project. First, I learned how to “go with” the grain, especially when hand-cutting circles. I also learned how to properly measure, sand, and cut my project. I know that I could have used the laser cutter (but it did almost catch fire on me the first time…) and I also could have printed the project (in pieces – it might not have been strong enough), but I really enjoyed going back to “traditional” manufacturing means. I had never really done anything with wood, so this was fun. In order to “improve” my project, I would like to add mesh or something to the under-part of the cupholder to improve its stability and increase its ability to hold “smaller” cups – like Starbucks ones. I would also consider adding additional support to where the cupholder connects to the cart, either by adding magnets or Velcro/snap straps. One portion of continued improvement was naming my project something more original than “Shopping Cart Cupholder.” My mom actually told me upon learning what I made that I should call it the “CuppBoard.” The name stuck, and it is “The CuppBoad,” the best board for your cups and other accessories while shopping.


Pictures of Final Project – The CuppBoard: 

a(Measure Groove 1 of basket)

 b(Measure Groove 2 of basket)
c(Measure cup holder)
d(Measure cup and phone holders)
e(Cut out phone holder, 1st cup holder)
g(All cup holders cut – tappered effect for snug fit)
h(Finished cutting!)
i(Sanded cupholder – still tappered)
j(It holds a cup!)
k(Painting grooves)
l(Painting grooves)
m(Painting bottom)
o(painted top/cup holder)
p(Totally complete with paint)
q(It still holds a cup!)
r(Look! It fits on a cart! It works!)


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My Experiences in BUS 358: Innovation, Design, and Prototyping

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