|Organic shape design|
T-Splines enables organic new product design for PC Pillow
The Collins product development team regularly comes up with innovative product ideas to bring to market. In their words, “Our goal is to create new products that make you smile.” One of their newest inventions is the PC Pillow. Its shape is designed to provide superior natural passive thermal circulation to the bottom of a laptop computer—even when it is resting on a sofa, pillow or carpet.
The PC Pillow is a rigid structure but has a slightly soft surface to grip the bottom of a laptop computer. “We believe the attractive organic appearance of the PC Pillow—along with its functional properties—will make it a hit product that we hope to get into production and sales channels very soon,” stated Jeff Rutan, Product Design & Development Engineer.
The original idea for the pillow was a simple rectangular matrix mesh. Over several iterations this design evolved and was curved and sculpted into a unique, organic, spider web-like shape. All the conceptual modeling was done in a polygonal/sub-division surfacing application, which allowed quick and easy iteration of different organic shapes. The problem was that these polygonal models could not be converted to a manufacturable surface model that could be used in a CAM application to generate the production tooling.
In the past, the design team delivered an assortment of images and polygonal mesh files from sub-d models as reference to potential manufacturers, who would then rebuild the final CAD models from scratch and add details as needed to optimize the production process.
As the designs became more complex, the designers at Collins assumed more of the responsibility for the details, and the design process became more time consuming. In the case of the PC Pillow, when they arrived at the final design concept, the manufacturer was not able to rebuild the complex concept into a manufacturable, NURBS-based CAD model.
Future DirectionBased on this successful PC Pillow project, Jeff will be using Rhino and the T-splines plugin on future projects, and the applications are now critical components in the toolset for product development at Collins Machine & Tool Co.
Learn moreTo learn more about how Collins Machine & Tool Co. completed their project with the help of T-Splines, you can download the full case study here or on our case studies home page.
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