As I discussed earlier, the first version of the SeaClutch frame holder was very small and didn’t have the size or surface area to properly hold the picture in place. The gripping surfaces were also straight up and down, and most pictures are angled so that was also an issue. We decided to address the issues one at a time, so we started with the angle of the frame for the next iteration.
I was now beginning to focus on the realities of manufacturing and realized that having a wide variety of different sizes and shapes would be cost prohibitive for our initial versions. With this in mind, Mike and I decided that it made sense to focus on one variable at a time.
I wasn’t happy with the vertical orientation of the first prototype so we decided to focus on that first. There were two obvious solutions: 1) Have two versions – one vertical and one angled or 2) offer reversible inserts so that the customer could choose the angle themselves. Having additional versions of the SeaClutch picture frame holder would add to manufacturing costs, so I decided to focus on a workable insert. Mike and I spent some time looking at options and he went to work on the CAD/CAM design.
A couple of days later Mike and I went over the design. He kept the same basic mechanical design (for consistency with the patent that was filed) but made it slightly larger than the first version. We also extended the front of the SeaClutch so that it was the same size as the back, and added slots on both the front and the back for the insert to slide into. It looked great on paper, so Mike sent the design to the 3D printer, Shapeways, and I placed my order.
3 days later I had the next iteration of the SeaClutch picture frame holder! If you look below, I have provided a couple of pictures of that experiment.
This is a side view showing the inserts installed with the angled option.
This is a side view showing the vertical option.
This is a view of the inserts removed.
You can see where we added the slots to the front and the back, as well as the increased size of the SeaClutch itself.
This is a top view of the SeaClutch with the inserts installed.
The inserts were highly functional, but after looking at the design for a couple of days we just didn’t like it. No matter how we designed the inserts, they were going to be very noticeable and would detract from the aesthetics of the SeaClutch. Also, if we went with inserts we would not be able to go with a “clear” option which we felt would be a popular seller.
After thinking about the design for several days, we decided that the insert option at this point was an evolutionary dead end. We met with Mike again and asked him to make a couple of changes. Increase the size of the SeaClutch, remove the inserts and angle the entire front and back face. We did a lot of research to come up with the correct angle, then Mike went back to work!