One of the most underrated gadgets resides within every Duke classroom, meeting space and auditorium. Are you wondering what it is?
Just picture this, it’s the day of your big presentation. You have your laser pointer in hand and the PowerPoint slides are ready to go. You bring your laptop to the front of the room and the first thing you grab is…. you guessed it, the projector adaptor dongles!
Countless ports and adapters exist around Duke’s campus to connect any combination of device to display. And security clips are necessary to keep all these adapters in a unified cable for the next presenter. It isn’t necessarily that people are stealing the adapters, but every once in a while, someone will just walk away having forgotten that it is still plugged in. The security clips keep of the adapters together and bound to the room; it’s a simple solution to a problem that, when scaled up, is frustrating …and expensive.
At Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab DesignHub, we were approached to produce around 300 of these security clips for adapter dongles of different sizes in a cost-effective and practical manner. By producing them locally, Duke OIT was able to bypass third party costs, at $15 per clip.
DesignHub engineer, Kris Ebert, spearheaded the security clip project with simplicity, scalability and versatility in mind. The final clip is designed to clasp over any desired cable with the addition of 1-2 pre-manufactured safety screws and nuts. The purpose of the security fasteners is to ensure that once the clip was closed, it stays closed. The screws used similarly resemble standard screws, but rather than having the head fit into a standard screwdriver, the security screw head has an odd shape that requires specialty bits, making it extremely difficult to unscrew.
Kris remarks that the Co-Lab’s collective staff knowledge and range of prototyping and production-grade printers was indispensable for this project. Her initial design prototyping to judge fit, size and use was done on the Ultimaker 3s. Although precision was compromised, the efficient filament printers compensated in cost and speed. The final design was printed on the Markforged, due to the printer’s reputable precision necessary to fit the small size of the fastener and the detail in the teeth. Furthermore, it’s ability to print in multiple materials was needed to fulfill a flexible insert into the hard shell of the clip. The flexible insert provides friction to the clip to tightly grasp the cable without it sliding down, ultimately standardizing the dongles to an easily accessible location along the cord so presenters aren’t frantically searching for their port. The Markforged was also ideal for its printing orientation and support that avoids sag in side-facing holes and allows for small details to be printed precisely despite difficult positioning.
With Kris’ design, customizability with size and shape is encouraged to tailor each cable fit, rather than buying the “best-fit” option from an outside company. Holders for 4.25, 5.50 and 7.50 mm diameter cables are available on Duke’s MakeSEA and parameters can be edited in Fusion360. “I think the greatest accomplishment was having such positive feedback from the client, and the sense of achievement knowing that I can help Duke save money and deliver a more effective product for our school’s needs”.