Posts Tagged ‘toothbrush’

Toothbrush Case Adventures: The Finale!

A pink toothbrush case with a handle

A pink toothbrush case with a handle

A little while ago my daughter asked me to help her make a very specific kind of toothbrush case – a pink one with a bulbous end and a handle.  She and I worked together on the design until we arrived at something that was acceptable to my patron as well as possible in a mere 3 dimensions.

She was very happy with the final result.  I was actually a little disappointed that they turned out so well with the first print.  When printing things with my daughter, I like having a version that is sub-optimal in some way that we wouldn’t have realized before holding a printed version of our digital designs.  Having an initially defective result gives her1 a way to look at an object and start thinking about how it could be improved.  In retrospect, I should have added a small hole to each end to allow for drainage. 2

Then again, there’s also something to be said for thoughtful design and careful planning culminating in a successful initial result.  It may not surprise me that she parlayed this success into her next request – a way to make her flip-top toothpaste tube easier to open.

  1. Well, both of us, really []
  2. However, these can always be added with a drill or drill bit later. []
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Toothbrush Case Adventures: The Design

Thingiverse Rendering of Fancy Toothbrush Case

Thingiverse Rendering of Fancy Toothbrush Case

When my daughter said she wanted a very specific toothbrush case, I was really only too happy to help out.  While integrating someone into the design process who has a shorter attention span than myself1 does make things more challenging, there are some benefits.  If you ever have the chance to design with a child, you’ll probably notice a lot of “feature creep.”  The good news is that since their idea of what they’re looking for is so flexible, as long as you make a good faith effort and are trying they’ll be pretty happy with the results.  And, since much of initial designing efforts consists of just putting big chunks of objects into the approximately correct place, there’s no harm in having your muse walk off and talk to a cat for a while.

There are certainly opportunities for education as well.  We had to measure the diameter and height of her toothbrush with calipers, with her reading off the numbers to me.  She had to think about how the final object would look and how she would use it.  Her initial explanation had no opening to put the toothbrush in or take it out.  After discussing the options, she settled on a style involving two-halves as shown above.

Designing with OpenSCAD is shockingly kid friendly.  While SketchUp was good for quickly sketching out an idea, it was not very easy to revise it.  With OpenSCAD all I have to do is change a few parameters and the entire design can morph into something new.  My daughter was able to select her favorite handle width and height by comparing just a few options in very quick succession.

Once the design had been approved, it was ready to print.

…to be continued

  1. Oooh!!  Shiny!! []
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Toothbrush Case Adventures: The Idea

A few days ago my daughter began to ask me about toothbrush holders.  Toothbrush holders are the kinds of things to which adults rarely give much thought.  99.9% of the time they just sit in a drawer waiting for that 0.1% of the time when you go on a trip and it gets tossed into your travel case.

But, to a 5-year-old, a toothbrush holder is a thing of magic, beauty, and ceremony.  Its appearance heralds adventure – since it is only brought out when they’re about to go on some exciting trip.  So, I suppose, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that she wanted one of her own.  However, there were specifications…

The toothbrush holder must have a bulbous end.  The toothbrush holder must have a handle.  And, above all else, the toothbrush holder must be pink.  PINK!

I pointed out that there was no reason for a toothbrush holder to have a bulbous end or for it to have a handle.  toWhile she understood there was no reason for such things to be, she understood equally well that there were no particular reasons for them not-to-be either.

With the issue resolved, she drew the above schematics.  The most amusing part of this for me is that it never occurred to her that she couldn’t have such an impossible toothbrush holder.  From the moment the idea of a bespoke toothbrush holder popped into her head, she knew full well that her father need only be properly instructed in the design for the toothbrush that he might, in turn, so instruct the household robot.

And with that, we embarked upon the adventure of the toothbrush case.

…to be continued

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