Design of 3D Printed Cellular Meta-materials for Improved Tool-Handle Ergonomics
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Researchers focussed on the sizes and shapes of the tool-handle, however they neglected the tool-handle materials, which could further improve the ergonomics. It has been shown that foam rubber grip can be used to provide more uniform distribution of forces and pressures on the hand resulting in higher comfort ratings. Well-chosen foam and limited foam thickness can maintain low deformation rate for maintaining desired rate of stability of the hand tool in the hands. Therefore, we designed and manufactured a 3D printed cellular metamaterial with deformable inner structure and pre-engineered mechanical response, where at initial low grasping forces, the material stays firm and starts to deform only when critical contact pressure is reached to provide greater contact area and provide more uniform pressure distribution. Test subjects rated the 3D printed handles as more comfortable compared to handles made from plastic.
KeywordsTool handle 3D printing Comfort rating Product ergonomics
The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (research core funding No. P2-0063).
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