Every year, the Extreme Redesign Challenge calls upon tomorrow’s engineers, artists and entrepreneurs to design a better future. It is a test to see who can come up with the most creative, mechanically sound, and realistically achievable design using 3D printing. Seven winners were selected and received scholarships for their efforts as well as features on our website and blog.
Mix together a grandfather who likes to do mechanical work, arthritis and a 3D printer and you get Connor Meehan’s creation, the bi-directional ratchet.
After getting the idea from his high school teacher, Meehan decided to enter his first ever 3D printing competition this year, which also happened to be the Extreme Redesign Challenge. As for deciding what he was going to create, Meehan got inspiration for his project from his grandpa who enjoys doing automotive work and other tool oriented tasks but suffers from arthritis and because of it, is unable to perform certain jobs. Meehan wanted to invent a way for his grandpa to continue to do what he loves while relieving stress on his hand joints. Thus, the bi-directional ratchet was born. Meehan’s ratchet allows you to tighten or loosen the bolt regardless of which way it’s turned. So not only does it alleviate joint pain, but it quickens the process as well.
When it comes to 3D printing, Meehan claims it has been instrumental in communicating his ideas. In his AP Calculus class, he 3D printed models pertaining to areas of revolution to help his classmates better understand the subject matter, which are still being used in that same class today. By making what he can think in his head, people can see what he’s thinking.
Meehan’s future plans include possibly encasing the bi-directional ratchet so no dust or fragments get in, if he chooses to industrialize it. On top of that, he will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall to pursue an engineering degree.
For more information on Connor’s project, click here.
To see more from the Extreme Redesign Challenge, click here.