Additive Manufacturing

MAR 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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MARCH 2018 Additive Manufacturing FEATURE / Polymer Additive Manufacturing 36 says that each time she'd turn the screwdriver, she was just waiting for the tip to slip off and pierce her hand. "I did maybe 12 to 20 a day," Fletcher says as she shows me the original tool. The handles are small and narrow. "See how scrunched up my hand is? When you're applying five pounds of torque to make it turn, the connector digs into your palm, or worse, the screwdriver slips and the tip pierces me. So I did everything a lot slower because I was afraid I was going to get hurt." Fletcher talked to Allman, who came up with an idea. Allman asked Fletcher to grip a golf ball, a racquetball and a baseball, and tell him which felt the most comfortable in her hand. He took measurements of the tool as well as Fletcher's palms and, based on the feedback, began drafting a custom piece in SolidWorks. The result is a 3D-printed adapter about the size and shape of a small hockey puck (pictured below). When gripped, it covers most of Fletcher's palm, allowing her to hold the connector handle without it digging into her palm. Allman printed a few different iterations of the piece, all of which hold different sized connectors that not only lock the tool in place, but also protect the rest of Fletcher's palm from the tip of the screwdriver. "They're wonderful," Fletcher says. "It sped up the entire process. I probably still have scars in my hand from before I had this. I'm a girly-girl. I don't have tough hands. When you're applying that much pressure to make it turn and it slips into your hand, it can feel like a nail. Now I'm more confident about doing my job, and I'm doing it better and getting more accurate readings. It's a simple tool but it's made a profound difference." A number of studies from organizations such as OSHA and the International Labor Association have examined the indirect costs of workplace injuries. Perhaps the most famous example (and one that is not without controversy), is casually referred to as "The Iceberg Study." Created by F.E. Bird in 1974, a visual representation, which resembles an iceberg, depicts its tip as the direct, upfront cost of a workplace injury. These would be the worker's compensation premium, fees and the deductible. Indirect or uninsured costs, which Bird depicts below the sur- face, can represent many times over the direct or upfront costs. These include lost production from the worker and coworkers who have to fill in, interruption of operations, disruption to the team, cost of training another worker to temporarily fill the Liberty Electronics employee Mary Fletcher performing a torque verification using the original tools. The job requires Fletcher to apply five pounds of torque to each clamping position of a small electrical connector, which contains numerous fasteners that require a precise and confirmed level of torque. Fletcher says that each time she'd turn the screwdriver, she was just waiting for the tip to slip off and pierce her hand. The 3D-printed adapter created for Fletch- er and other employees for the torque verification process. The adapter, about the size and shape of a small hockey puck, covers most of the palm. The simple device not only prevents the fixture from digging into the palm of the hand, but also protects the hand from the tip of the screwdriver should it slip.

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