There are 25.8M children and adults with diabetes in the US alone. That’s 8.3% of the population! These numbers are increasing every year, which means more and more medical device companies are working to find better ways to make living with diabetes easier.
The wife of one of our employees is a diabetic and recently started using an insulin pump which uses disposable 2cc cartridges and are filled by the user with the required type of insulin. These can be prefilled to save time and trouble for an extended trip from home. The problem with prefilling is there is nothing to prevent the plunger on the cartridge from depressing, which wastes the insulin and makes a mess in her diabetic kit.
To solve this problem our Dimension Support Specialist, Dave Tupper, decided to design a holder which would protect the cartridge and be small enough to fit in his wife’s purse without taking up much room.
The first design simply went around the cartridge with a shoulder preventing the plunger from being depressed. Unfortunately, there was nothing to prevent the center of the cartridge from swinging out, as it was being held in only by the o-ring.
The second iteration added a ring in one end to receive the plunger, slightly larger than the plunger itself. Dave also added a second shoulder to prevent the cartridge from shifting in the other direction; however this time there was a measurement mistake and the second shoulder was too far from the first.
The third iteration moved the shoulder to the correct position but shortened the overall length, which prevented the cartridge from snapping into place with the cap on it to keep it sterile.
The fourth design extended the length too much and allowed excess space at the top near the cap. This design would work but was larger than it needed to be, wasting material and space in the already full diabetic kit.
The fifth and final design brought the overall and internal length down to the minimum needed to safely protect the cartridge and still fit in the diabetic kit.
The total time for designing and prototyping his wife’s insulin pump holder, including his very basic SolidWorks skills, was about 2 hours design time and less than 4 hours of build time (for all 5 models) in the uPrint 3D Printer. This doesn’t include time in the clean station, but there is no human interaction needed for that phase.
Dave’s story shows how ingenuity and persistence pay off when designing new products. He identified a problem that his wife faced, which many others may also encounter, and chose to take action to alleviate the stress of carrying an insulin pump. He was able to design a relatively simple object in SolidWorks, print a prototype and make revisions within hours, not days or weeks. SolidWorks and a 3D printer made this possible.
For more information, please contact us.