Machine Design

Rapid Prototyping is Key to Light Switch

In the past, people submitting designs to contests typically sent drawings, short write-ups, and perhaps some background research. These days, however, it’s not unusual for submissions to include CAD drawings, sometimes with a short mpeg video. U.S.-based designer Li Zijian recently went the extra mile by including a working prototype that demonstrated his idea.

Solid Concepts Inc.

The concept: a light switch that doubles as a key holder when the lights are on. According to Zijian, installing the switch next to your front door would make it unlikely you would forget to turn the lights off as you leave. This, in turn, would save money on utility bills. came in handy for making the prototype, says Zijian. “It was easy to upload my STL file to the site. Once the company verified the design as a buildable part, it made the prototype using the PolyJet process.” This additive technique uses ink-jet technology and UV-curable materials to make accurate prototypes in a variety of materials.

Zijian says the pricing was economical. “Better yet, overnight delivery made it easier to submit my concept before the contest deadline.”

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