Vertical Lever Corkscrew

Client: OXO (USA)   /   Involved in Engineering and Development. Design: Smart Design

Cover Image: Kevin Dooley (Flickr: pagedooley) Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Image credits: OXO Website

Image credits: OXO Website

OXO, an american company dedicated to providing innovative consumer products that make everyday living easier. OXO studies people—lefties  and righties, male and female, young and old—interacting with products and then identify opportunities for meaningful improvement.  OXO was founded on the philosophy of Universal Design, which means the design of products usable by as many people as possible. Today, OXO offers 1,000+ products covering many areas of the home, all created based on this principle. The company has been recognized globally as an example of how a well-executed Universal Design philosophy not only creates products that are beneficial to end users but is also a sensible business model.

This project was a bit different challenge from other projects I was involved on. Smart Design had already developed the research and design of the product. This project was mostly engineering, and became my first pure engineering project ever.  My job consisted in proposing the development and manufacturing of the corkscrew (worked on 3D CAD, controlling tolerances and clearances, also making a lot of tests and talking to the leaders from both companies). Other engineers from Smart and OXO had already been working on the product's engineering for almost one year and a half.

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The Corkscrew removes corks smoothly and quickly with two motions. It is composed by a die-cast zinc handle with soft, non-slip grips that provides leverage for comfortable use, and a non-stick screw that glides easily into cork. The cork releases from the Corkscrew with a simple pump of the lever.

The removable foil cutter stores on the Corkscrew for quick access and convenient storage.

 

Product Development | Initial Data and Prototype

Prototype 1

The initial goal of my participation was to reconstruct CAD model that reflects all revisions old and new. The A-Side surface should have been resolved and smooth. The new revisions were focus on figuring out the foil cutter’s geometry for the pinch and release of the cutter in relation to the body. Adjust Handle profile so its top can be polished without altering the split line.

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FDM. After several tries, I finally found the right balance of function and manufacturability. I had to consider small tolerances for the cutting disk and the snap feature to work properly. Also considered pull angles and assembly processes.

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Analyzing Data & making changes

“Body” - 2D Study

2D Render Visualization of the proposed changes. At this point, I hadn't worked on the changes on 3D, but It’s important to visualize the changes as real as possible in order to consider other solutions.

After solving the Foil Cutter Area, we realized the body geometry worked just for certain types of bottle necks. I started doing an analysis in 3D after making a model of different bottles geometries, and found out the previous engineering work was done just on one type of bottle. The body had to grow horizontally. to solve this. The project scope went from 3 weeks to 3 months.

Several Iterations took to finally have a consistent CAD Data, feasible and manufacturable. Even though we had a complex tooling process ahead.

Several Iterations took to finally have a consistent CAD Data, feasible and manufacturable. Even though we had a complex tooling process ahead.

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Numerous 3D prints were developed throughout the whole project, as well as prototypes made in China with final production materials. This picture shows only a SMALL amount of the 3D prints made during the process. You can also see some handmade components I made in the workshop, and modifications that were later implemented in the CAD.

All cork sizes

As a designer, you always want to know how things work...and why the things don’t work. I got involved in this project in a late phase, initially just trying to solve the “foil cutter” area…then the whole body. A lot of Engineers had involvement in the project before me. It was a pretty complex project, even though looks simple from the outside. I wanted to know where the problem was since the base design was made on a current properly working mechanism. I started investigating the original mechanism data sent by the factory, and I realized it was an assembly problem at the very beginning of the project. Whoever took the data from the factory assembled the mechanism in the wrong way.

The Initial Problem | Analyzing the Data from Factory

Long cork. In some tests, we realized that exist a rare long cork of 49mm. We wanted to be able to open this type of bottle without any effort. With the previous 2D analysis done, we had to create new ways to solve this problem.

This product is complex because it has a lot of parts, small tolerances and complex tooling methods that includes actions in the tools because of the undercuts in the geometries. Other issues were the stability of the “foil cutter”. The Next images show different solutions for making this area sturdier.