Recently Chris, the Lead Engineer for the AirCut, collected his thoughts on the Research and Development period for the AirCut and the sweat that went into designing the first working model. You can see the entire post on Chris’ blog, but an excerpt is provided below with Chris’ permission. Thank you for sharing this with us, Chris!
“In August of 2008 the design process began. Step one of the design process was to layout the scope of the project. I knew the design needed to function similar to the current product. I knew this new design needed to have an integrated vacuum system with similar suction to a standard upright vacuum cleaner; it also needed to be lightweight so that the operator doesn’t get fatigued while using the product.
Knowing what was required of this new product, how it was to operate, what form factor, what options are necessary, how the product will be used, safety concerns, patent protection, these where all things that were needed to be considered and carefully implemented during the early phases of the design process.
My first step in verifying my design was determining if I would have enough suction to actually lift the hair and be able to trim it evenly. Being a resourceful person I simply cut an oval shape in the bottom of a plastic cup to act as an inlet for the hair, and used the large opening at the top of the cup to insert and seal off my vacuum assembly. This allowed me to determine if my current vacuum design had what it takes to pull a person’s hair up off their head and into the oval opening in the bottom of the cup. After some playing around and trying it on multiple people I determined I needed to modify my fan design to increase the suction. I went back into SolidWorks where I originally designed my fan and ran it through flow simulation and made some changes to the fin design to allow for more airflow using the size and shape. Using that local prototype shop again they made me another fan. Remaking parts is all part of the ‘trial and error’ or ‘prototyping’ phase, you don’t know until you try it. After I received my new fan, which was literally a couple of days later including shipping, I reassembled my suction assembly and went though all my tests again. This time the suction was enough to make this new future product work.
After I knew the suction was powerful enough and mimicked that of a standard upright vacuum cleaner I was on to working on the clipper assembly. Would my clipper design cut hair? Would it cut evenly? Would the blades jam if too much hair tried going through? Can anyone get injured if they tried sticking their finger in the blades? These were all valid concerns that needed to be tested and confirmed during this phase of prototyping.”
Ready for the whole story? See Chris’ entire post here.