ROLE Lead Industrial Designer, PopSockets
Now that the new PopSocket design has a removable PopTop, how can I encourage collect- and swap- ability by providing users with a storage solution for their extra PopTops?
Keychains! Collect and store your favorite designs for endless pop- and swap- ability.
RESEARCH I raided hardware stores and my friends’ bags to gather as many examples as I could of keychains, keyrings, and any other interesting clip, swivel, lock or dangle-y (for lack of a better term) mechanisms.
IDEATION Sketching was the quickest way to explore how a keychain would look and work around the circular shape of a PopSocket. Ultimately, I wanted to land on an iconic form that would play up the “roundness” of the PopSockets brand.
PROTOTYPING For a seemingly simple product, there were actually quite a few components in the assembly that I needed to test with prototypes. 3D printing allowed me to test the functionality and durability of different parts like the clip, swivel interface, and PopSockets “platforms.” I mocked up a number of ideas ranging from “feature-less” to “feature-rich” to evaluate what level of complexity made sense for this type of product.
DFM - DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURING I complied a specification document that detailed everything needed for the manufacturing and assembly of the final product. This included exploded views, part and material callouts, parting lines and gating locations, tooling actions, surface finishes, and assembly instructions. This was my first time designing for the ultra-sonic welding process, which I found to be very fascinating.
PRE-PRODUCTION TRIAL SAMPLES It is always exciting to receive high-fidelity tooled parts after looking at CAD models and 3D prints for several weeks. The early trial samples did not disappoint, and allowed me to inspect cosmetic things like surface finishes and colorways before approving the parts for production. In addition to plastic, I also was developing a metal (chrome zinc!) SKU.
Available as a colorful plastic carabiner clip or durable metal keyring.