UTC engineering students Jacob Keller, Nick Pippenger, Jason Berghorn helped a local entrepreneur redesign his mood lighting product for mass production as a part of a class project.
The students’ client had been crafting decorative oil lamps from used wine bottles. When the client decided to produce his product in bulk, he found that he had trouble with insurance companies because his design featured an open flame. That’s when the client got in contact with UTC for help. The engineering team was tasked with redesigning the light to utilize a flickering LED light, easily obtainable circuit components, and battery power.
“Our client is someone who wanted to mass produce and sell their product, rather than a client who needed the product created to unique specifications and situation,” said Keller. “That was tricky, because in creating this product, we weren’t just creating this one thing, we were creating a design that could be mass produced. We were confined in needing to know exactly how the client would eventually recreate the design. So, while we used 3D printing to create this prototype, that wouldn’t be efficient for him. He would have to use injection molding or some other alternative to create his product in mass quantities.”
The model also needed to be cheap and efficient so that the final product could be sold for the client’s designated price of $15.
“It was also tricky because we had to consider the cost of our prototype versus the per unit cost of him actually producing the item,” said Berghorn.
The size and shape of the wine bottle necks also presented a problem for the engineering team.
“One of the hardest parts was trying to design the circuit within the size and shape constraints, because it had to fit down inside the bottle. It was particularly constraining when it came to choosing batteries, many of which were too wide,” said Pippenger.
This engineering project was unique when compared to many of the other options that the students could have chosen from.
“I chose this project because I’m an electrical engineering major, so it appealed to me more than some of the other projects that focused more on mechanical engineering or civil engineering,” said Keller.