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Thread: Student Design Project - Accessible Cupboard Design

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Student Design Project - Accessible Cupboard Design

    Hello,

    My name is Molly Akers and I study Product Design Engineering at Glasgow University & Glasgow School of Art. My course leader this year is Aileen Biagi.
    The purpose of my project is to design an accessible and inclusive kitchen cupboard, with the aim of creating a more independent experience for wheelchair users.
    The attached pages show my design process and pitch.
    I would love to hear general feedback on this idea, whether it is positive or if I should consider alterations.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Many thanks,

    Molly Akers
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails User Feedback Concept Sheets.jpg   User Feedback Concept Sheets2.jpg   User Feedback Concept Sheets4.jpg   User Feedback Concept Sheets5.jpg   User Feedback Concept Sheets7.jpg  


  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Sorry I can't read the text on those diagrams on my phone, I'll see if they are clearer when I get back to the laptop.

    Quick thoughts from what I can see.

    You seem to have a rotating shelving unit.
    Have you considered what happens with uneven loading of the shelves?
    Heaviest spins to the bottom, so that extra force is then needed to lift it up while the others are filled.
    If you empty the lowest one then will the higher full ones spin down and trap/break fingers/wrists?

    If the shelves are powered then what happens in a power cut?

    Sorry if your notes cover those points but as I say I can't read them properly.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Hi again Molly,

    I can see and read your attachments better now on my laptop.

    It seems you are proposing an unpowered unit, with one or two sets of rotating shelves.

    As mentioned above I would have concerns about the force needed to rotate the shelves by hand when they are not counterbalanced by items in the opposing shelves.
    Always remembering that from a seated position the force you can push or pull with is limited, plus there may be issues with the arm strength of the user.
    I also note that on your sketches you have the wheeelchair user facing the cabinet, risking any pulling or pushing rolling the chair about.

    A chain (or belt) driven system might be better, either with an electric motor, or with a hand crank. (Think a single bicycle pedal and chain).
    This could incorporate some gearing to make it easier to wind round; gearing could also provide a breaking effect which I consider important for safety.

    TBH my big concern would be with hand pushed shelves potentially rotating under gravity and causing an injury.
    (Similarly with motor driven shelves you would want/need contact cut off switches on the undersides of each shelf).

    eg. With unpowered shelves if all the shelves were loaded with heavy items and then one or more items were removed from the lowest shelf, the weight in the higher shelves would cause the whole arrangement to rotate under gravity.
    The users hand/arm could then be hit and or trapped by a descending shelf.
    Some type of braking or locking arrangement could help prevent this, but you also need to consider what happens when the brake/lock is released?

    Sorry to bring up negatives there, but you do ask about safety concerns.

    Have you taken a look at similar rotating storage and racking units that are used in industry and warehousing?
    These are usually powered, but have the same general problems of weight distribution/balance and user safety, just on a larger scale.
    These are known as "Vertical Carousel" storage systems, google will find plenty of examples.

    Not wishing to put you off your project, but you might also want to take a look at this website from a company that already makes vertical carousels for domestic shelving units, including pantry's.
    http://storagemotion.com/autopantry/
    There are a range of specifications and drawings that you can download from there which may help you refine your ideas.

    Best of luck with your project and presentation.

    (PS. In case you're wondering: I was a Mechanical Design Engineer/Draughtsman until I had to give up work. I've worked on all sorts of stuff, mainly vehicles until I ended up designing various things for Sellafield nuclear plant).
    Last edited by nukecad; 03-28-2018 at 03:58 PM.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    I find that base unit '3 drawer pan units' are best for easy access from a wheelchair or for people with limited mobility.

    I can only use one arm so when standing I can only access the bottom shelf of a wall unit. If wall shelving rotated the unit would need to be as deep as a base unit making the work service below redundent.

    Pan draws are the way forward in my opinion.

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