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Chris Orr

How can I manufacture this spiral slide?


I'm(22m) am a 3rd year product design engineering student and we've been tasked with bringing a previous designed concept to the point that you have a complete idea of what it would be produced (basically how will it be manufactured, to what scale, who is sold to, how is it packaged etc). I'm getting held back by the maufacture

The photo is my previously designed concept: the idea is you drop metal ball down the slide (a conical spiral) and the ball is collected in the tray at the bottom. Its designed to be able to be placed in the corner of the average office desk (e.g. its a office desk marble run).

My question is: what process will I use to manufacture the spiral slide and what can I make it out of?

Ideally, I'd like to have it to have a fairly clean aesthetic look (e.g not just bend some PVC pipe) as its going to marketed as a nice ornament to have on your desk. I'm not too worried about the supports or the base but creating the conical spiral slide shape is giving me a lot of grief. I know I can 3D print the shape (as I have a model) but I don't think this is the most cost effective strategy and I have to produce a document of how much it will cost etc. Should I adapt the design slightly to make it easier to make? If so how should I do this?

Can I CNC mill the shape out of wood or metal? Can I injection mould it out of plastic? Can I use a set up like this ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yigRgG_NIyU ) and just using half a pipe? Could I set up a wood turning rig?

3D Print .jpg

Office Desk Toy.JPG

render of desk toy.JPG

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You should mold it as a disc that represents the collapsed structure.  It can be injection molded out of plastic.  The type may depend on cost, but it should be somewhat flexible, not brittle.  One end of the spiral should have a snap fit feature to secure it to the base which can also be injection molded.  The other end of the spiral should snap on to the two support beams which also snap into the base.  If you need a permanent connection between the components, then you could sonic weld them together (but at added cost). 

You could also mold the spiral ramp in 3D provided that adjacent tracks don't overlap each other.  This would be an expensive injection tool.


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