Feb 2, 2016 | By Kira

Disgruntled IT workers, paper pushers and call-takers around the world know what its like to have a serious case of the office blues. Staring at the same grey cubicle walls, the same computer monitor, and the same array of pushpins, highlighters, sticky notes and other office supplies eight hours a day can seriously drain your creativity and fun levels. Yet it no longer has to be so, as industrial designer Elvin Chu has found an economical way to turn those same everyday office items into a fun and ‘fun-ctional’ 3D printed game. Prisma is a 3D printed throwing dart that can easily be assembled with nothing more than a standard pushpin for the head, and folded sticky notes as flights, and it is now available on Shapeways.

“Determined to design an entertaining product to be manufactured and sold online, I looked into the one environment where ‘fun’ is not typically associated—the office,” said Chu. “After making the correlation between a pushpin and the tip of a throwing dart…a lightbulb went off in my mind.”

Beyond just creating an entertaining commercial product, Chu, who is currently finished his last year at Georgia Tech, also wanted to explore the possibilities that lie at the intersection of digital manufacturing (3D printing) and “old-fashioned fun.” Thus, the core component of the Prisma dart is a hollow, 3D printed tube, carefully calibrated to reduce material waste while optimizing balance, weight, and the pushpin snap feature.

Chu began by sketching out several ideas on paper to test the feasibility of using a pushpin as a throwing dart, and how additive manufacturing processes could benefit the design. “Fleshing out my sketch ideas and exploring more in 3D, I began printing, testing and playing with prototypes to quickly improve upon the previous iteration. Every prototype provided valuable information on ways to improve the next model,” said Chu.

“Overall, my design challenges were to cleverly reduce material and optimize the pushpin snap feature. One of the advantages of additive manufacturing is that I was able to subtract an inner chamber from the dart's form to improve weight balance and decrease material volume while maintaining its structural integrity. Keeping assembly simple, I formed the flights out of sticky-notes, a readily available material in an office environment. After making the final material reduction of the body, the pushpin snap flaps became much more flexible and allowed for quick snap assembly.”

The final 3D printed dart body features tapered flight slots, a flexible snap-fit, and a 3-point grip.

Early 3D printed prototypes of the Prisma dart

The final 3D printed design

Of course, the idea of Prisma is not just to provide a temporary escape from office drudgery—nor is it to turn your cubicle into a mini Friday night-pub, which could lead to a messy situation with HR. Rather, Chu has cleverly designed Prisma to fulfill a more-or-less useful purpose within the context of a professional workplace: the folded sticky notes used as flights can ‘deliver’ memos to colleagues, and when not being thrown around, Prisma makes for a convenient place to keep important notes or reminders within easy sight. Users could also get creative with colored or even patterned stickey notes to create original flight designs or origami-like shapes, lending a much-needed aesthetic touch to their otherwise drab and impersonal cubicles.

Chu’s 3D printed Prisma Dart is currently available for purchase via Shapeways for $10 per unit and in a variety of colors. The designer also intends to create a dedicated website in the near future where users will be able to access digital content, such as flight folding techniques, board templates, and other materials. Overall it’s a simple and economical 3D printed project that makes use of clever 3D printing design, materials, and everyday office supplies to effectively treat even the worst case of the office blues. Check out this video to see the Prisma 3D printed dart in action:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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